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PARK CITY ’08 | From Michel Gondry to Morgan Spurlock: Sundance’s Non-Competitive Titles Announced

PARK CITY '08 | From Michel Gondry to Morgan Spurlock: Sundance's Non-Competitive Titles Announced

New films from Michel Gondry, Boaz Yakin, Mark Pellington, Brad Anderson, and Barry Levinson fill out Sundance‘s star-studded Premieres section, which considerably ups the Park City glitz factor. Today’s announcement of Sundance’s entire non-competitive feature lineup (listed below) includes films in the Premieres, Spectrum, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier section, bringing the complete feature lineup to 121 titles. Celebrity casts this year include Jack Black, Charlize Theron, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Sean Penn, just to name a few.

“We’re seeing especially big-name actors crossing over into independent film,” says Sundance Director of Programming John Cooper. “This has been happening for a while now; independent film is a place where both filmmakers and actors can show a different side of their talents.”

Pointing to last year’s selections, just coming out in theaters now, such as “Starting Out in the Evening” and “The Savages,” Cooper notes, “There is recognition and support for actors working in smaller films and off-Hollywood films, and we get to reap the benefits of that.”

The complete Sundance competition lineup was unveiled yesterday here at indieWIRE.com.

Capping off this year’s January event is the closing night film “CSNY Deja Vu,” a political musical doc following Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, both past and present, directed by Bernard Shakey (a.k.a. Neil Young himself). Other 2007 music docs include “U2 3D” and two films by British filmmakers, Sacha Gervasi‘s “Anvil… The True Story of Anvil,” a look at the Canadian heavy metal band, and “Young & Heart,” Stephen Walker‘s portrait of a New England elderly choir.

In addition to Martin McDonagh‘s festival opener “In Bruges,” this year’s Premieres section has a healthy U.K. contingent, including Irish director Rupert Wyatt‘s “The Escapist” and Sharon Maguire‘s “Incendiary.” “There always is at this festival,” says Cooper. “We’ve always mined Britain for quality work,” he says, explaining that both he and Geoffrey Gilmore separately visit the British Isles during different times of year to look for new work.

Outside of the festival’s main sections, Sundance offers something for everyone. This year, a new Spectrum Documentary Spotlight sidebar will unveil Morgan Spurlock‘s highly anticipated “Super Size Me” follow-up “Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?” and “Dogtown and Z-Boys” director Stacy Peralta‘s look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, “Made in America.” Cooper says they chose to create the specific nonfiction section within Spectrum to create “a more cohesive gathering of films.”

Dramatic films in Spectrum include “Baghead,” the latest from “Puffy Chair” sibling duo Mark and Jay Duplass, playwright-director Craig Lucas‘ comedy “Birds of America,” and Stanley Tucci‘s “Blind Date,” a remake of late Dutch director Theo van Gogh‘s movie of the same name. Not to be overlooked, Cooper notes that Spectrum has played host to many breakout films; most notably, last year’s “Waitress,” which went on to become one of the year’s top-grossing indie films. “This is a year where discoveries are going to be made in these sections, as well,” says Cooper.

Further a field, the Park City at Midnight section will host the world premieres of Ari Gold‘s air-drummer comedy “Adventures of Power,” starring Adrian Grenier, “Cashback” director Sean Ellis‘ thriller “The Broken,” Bruce LaBruce‘s latest “Otto (Up with Dead People),” about a gay zombie looking for love, and “Hell Ride,” a pulpy tale of motorcycle revenge presented by Quentin Tarantino and directed by actor Larry Bishop.

Highlights from the New Frontiers experimental sidebar include two recent avant-garde standouts, American master James Benning‘s latest “casting a glance” and Michelange Quay‘s Toronto discovery “Eat, For This is My Body” as well as the world premiere of “Reversion,” a new film from Mia Trachinger, last seen on the festival circuit with her celebrated no-budget oddity “Bunny.”

Cooper admits that “Reversion” could just as well have played in a different section. “It’s not that wacky,” he says. “It’s a linear film that uses a lot of storytelling techniques that are more creative, more original,” and by including the film in New Frontier–once home to “Tarnation“-“we want to draw people into the section,” he says.

THE COMPLETE SUNDANCE NON-COMPETITION LINEUP IS BELOW:

EDITORS NOTE: The information below, provided by Sundance organizers, is subject to change and may be revised if necessary.

Films screening in Premieres are:

Assassination of a High School President” / USA, Director: Brett Simon; Screenwriter: Kevin Jakubowski
A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. Cast: Reece Thompson, Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Michael Rapaport, Kathryn Morris, Josh Pais. World Premiere

Be Kind Rewind” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Michel Gondry
When a man whose body accidentally becomes magnetized unintentionally erases every tape in his friend’s video store, the pair set out to remake the lost films, including “Back To The Future” and “The Lion King”. Cast: Jack Black, Mos Def, Mia Farrow, Danny Glover. World Premiere

CSNY Deja Vu” / USA, Director: Bernard Shakey; Screenwriters: Neil Young, Mike Cerre
The war in Iraq is the backdrop as the Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young “Freedom of Speech Tour” crisscrosses North America. Echoes of Vietnam-era anti-war sentiment abound as the band connects with today’s audiences. Cast: David Crosby, Graham Nash, Stephen Stills, Neil Young, Mike Cerre, Stephen Colbert. World Premiere, Closing Night Film

The Deal” / Canada, Director: Steven Schachter; Screenwriters: William H. Macy, Steven Schachter
A long-time Hollywood producer on the verge of suicide cons a major studio into financing a $100-million film based on a non-existent script, starring a black action star who has converted to Judaism. Cast: William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, LL Cool J. World Premiere

Death in Love” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Boaz Yakin
A self-assured but neurotic 40-year-old bachelor attempts to make sense of his complicated life as he negotiates his sexual relationships in the shadow of his mother’s concentration camp experience. Cast: Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Brody, Lukas Haas. World Premiere

Diminished Capacity” / USA, Director: Terry Kinney; Screenwriter: Sherwood Kiraly
Learning that his senile uncle harbors a priceless baseball card, Cooper embarks on a road trip intent on selling it to save money for his uncle’s later years. He and his friends become entangled in the oddball world of baseball memorabilia and love. Cast: Matthew Broderick, Alan Alda, Virginia Madsen, Dylan Baker. World Premiere

The Escapist” / Ireland, Director: Rupert Wyatt; Screenwriters: Rupert Wyatt and Daniel Hardy
A convict twelve years into a life sentence is determined to make peace with his sick daughter. He develops an ingenious escape plan, recruiting a band of misfits to put it into action. Cast: Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, Seu Jorge, Damian Lewis. World Premiere

The Great Buck Howard” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Sean McGinly
When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime. Cast: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks. World Premiere, Salt Lake City Gala

The Guitar” / USA, Director: Amy Redford; Screenwriter: Amos Poe
The life of a woman is transformed after she is diagnosed with a terminal disease, fired from her job and abandoned by her boyfriend. Given two months to live, she throws caution to the wind to pursue her dreams. Cast: Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankole, Paz De La Huerta. World Premiere

Henry Poole is Here” / USA, Director: Mark Pellington; Screenwriter: Albert Torres
Henry Poole abandons his fiancee and family business to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a “miracle” by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life. Cast: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Cheryl Hines, Adriana Barraza. World Premiere

In Bruges” / UK, Director and Screenwriter: Martin McDonagh
Two London hit men are ordered to take a forced vacation in Bruges, Belgium. This is the suspenseful, twisted tale of how their time in exile goes awry. Cast: Colin Farrell, Brendan Gleeson, Ralph Fiennes, Clemence Poesy. World Premiere, Opening Night Film

Incendiary” / UK, Director and Screenwriter: Sharon Maguire
A spirited young mother juggles grief and love in the aftermath of a dramatic terrorist attack in London. Cast: Michelle Williams, Ewan McGregor, Matthew MacFadyen. World Premiere

Merry Gentleman / USA, Director: Michael Keaton; Screenwriter: Ron Lazzeretti
After fleeing an abusive marriage, a young woman sets off to start a new life. When she finds herself an unwitting witness to a murder she stumbles into a curious friendship with a depressed hit man. Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Michael Keaton. World Premiere

A Raisin in the Sun” / USA, Director: Kenny Leon; Screenwriter: Paris Qualles
After moving to Chicago’s South Side in the 1950s, a black family struggles to deal with poverty, racism, and inner conflict as they strive for a better life. Adapted for the screen from Lorraine Hansberry’s play, this is a moving portrait of dreams deferred. Cast: Sean Combs, Phylicia Rashad, Audra McDonald, Sean Patrick Thomas. World Premiere

Savage Grace” / USA, Director: Tom Kalin, Screenwriter: Howard A. Rodman
The true story of the beautiful and charismatic Barbara Daly, who married above her class to Brooks Baekeland, heir to the Bakelite plastics fortune. Their only child is a failure in his father’s eyes, and as he matures and becomes increasingly close to his lonely mother, the seeds for tragedy are sown. Cast: Julianne Moore, Stephen Dillane, Eddie Redmayne. U.S. Premiere

Sleepwalking” / Canada/USA, Director: Bill Maher; Screenwriter: Zac Stanford
A young man ill equipped to raise his abandoned niece is forced to take responsibility when faced with the prospect of losing her to a foster home. Cast: Nick Stahl, Anna Sophia Robb, Charlize Theron, Dennis Hopper, Woody Harrelson, Deborrah-Lee Furness. World Premiere

Smart People” / USA, Director: Noam Murro; Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier
An acerbic and self-absorbed literature professor has alienated his son and turned his daughter into an overachieving, friendless teen. When his brother unexpectedly shows up at his door, the man is forced is to confront his own life. Cast: Dennis Quaid, Sarah Jessica Parker, Thomas Haden Church, Ellen Page, Ashton Holmes. World Premiere

Towelhead” (FKA “Nothing is Private”) / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Alan Ball
The life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl is illuminated as she navigates her way through the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and sexual awakening. Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Summer Bishil. U.S. Premiere

Transsiberian” / Spain, Director: Brad Anderson; Screenwriters: Brad Anderson and Will Conroy
A Trans-Siberian train journey from China to Moscow becomes a thrilling chase of deception and murder when an American couple encounters a mysterious pair of fellow travelers. Cast: Woody Harrelson, Emily Mortimer, Kate Mara, Thomas Kretschmann, Eduardo Noriega and Ben Kingsley. World Premiere

U2 3D” / USA, Directors: Catherine Owens, Mark Pellington
A 3-D presentation of U2’s global “Vertigo” tour. Shot at seven different shows, this production employs the greatest number of 3-D cameras ever used for a single project. World Premiere (Editor’s Note: A shorter version of “U2 3D” screened as a work-in-progress at the Cannes Film Festival in May.)

The Visitor“/ USA, Director and Screenwriter: Tom McCarthy
A college professor becomes embroiled in the lives of a young immigrant couple he discovers squatting in his Manhattan apartment. Confronted with adversity, these strangers become inextricably bound together. Cast: Richard Jenkins, Hiam Abbass, Haaz Sleiman, Danai Gurira. U.S. Premiere

What Just Happened?” / USA, DIrector: Barry Levinson; Screenwriter: Art Linson
A comedy about a desperate movie producer who is trying to survive a crazed director, a shameless actor, a clueless executive, a battered agent, and above all a broken second marriage while struggling to maintain a shred of dignity. Cast: Robert DeNiro, Bruce Willis, Sean Penn, Catherine Keener, Stanley Tucci, John Turturro. World Premiere

The Year of Getting To Know You” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Patrick Sisam
A commitment-phobic man reunites with his estranged, ailing father and comes to terms with his own childhood. Cast: Jimmy Fallon, Chase Ellison, Lucy Liu, Sharon Stone, Tom Arnold. World Premiere

The Yellow Handkerchief” / USA, Director: Udayan Prasad; Screenwriter: Erin Dignam
In a twist of fate, a recently released convict and a pair of disillusioned young people meet on a road trip through Louisiana and transform one another along the way. Cast: Maria Bello, William Hurt, Eddie Redmayne, Veronica Russell. World Premiere

The films screening in Spectrum: Documentary Spotlight are:

Anvil! The True Story of Anvil” / USA, Director: Sacha Gervasi
At 14, best friends Robb Reiner and Lips made a pact to rock together forever. Their band, Anvil, hailed as the “demi-gods of Canadian metal,” influenced a musical generation that includes Metallica, Slayer, and Anthrax, despite never hitting the big time. Following a calamitous European tour, Lips and Robb, now in their fifties, set off to record their 13th album in one last attempt to fulfill their boyhood dreams. World Premiere

The Black List” / USA, Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Screenwriter: Elvis Mitchell
Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists, providing a series of living portraits–a unique glimpse into the zeitgeist of black America–and redefining traditional notions of a “blacklist.” World Premiere

Kicking It” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Susan Koch
The lives of homeless people are changed forever through an international soccer competition. This film follows six players as they set off for Cape Town, South Africa to play in the Homeless World Cup. World Premiere

The Linguists” / USA, Directors: Seth Kramer, Daniel A. Miller, Jeremy Newberger; Screenwriter: Daniel A. Miller
David and Greg are “The Linguists,” who document languages on the verge of extinction. In the rugged landscapes of Siberia, India, and Bolivia, their resolve is tested by institutionalized racism and violent economic unrest. World Premiere

Made in America” / USA, Director: Stacy Peralta; Screenwriters: Stacy Peralta, Sam George
With a first-person look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, this film examines the conditions that have led to decades of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles. World Premiere

Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden?” / France, Director: Morgan Spurlock; Screenwriters: Jeremy Chilnick and Morgan Spurlock
Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock explores every nook and cranny of the Middle East on a quest to find the world’s most wanted man. World Premiere

Young@Heart” / UK, Director: Stephen Walker
A choir of Massachusetts senior citizens delights audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash and Coldplay to Jimi Hendrix and Sonic Youth.

Dramatic films screening in Spectrum are:

August” / USA, Director: Austin Chick; Screenwriter: Howard A. Rodman
An aggressive young dot-com entrepreneur struggles to keep his head above water as the bottom falls out of the market in August of 2001. Cast: Josh Hartnett, Adam Scott, Naomie Harris. World Premiere

Baghead” / USA, Directors and Screenwriters: Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass
As previously done in their last film “The Puffy Chair”, the Duplass Brothers explore the minutiae of relationship dynamics in this in-depth study of a group of desperate actor friends. And a bag. And a head. Cast: Steve Zissis, Ross Partridge, Greta Gerwig. World Premiere

Birds of America” / USA, Director: Craig Lucas; Screenwriter: Elyse Friedman
Three siblings couldn’t be more different, or more neurotic. But when they find themselves converging at the family manse, they become surprisingly indispensable to one another. Cast: Matthew Perry, Ginnifer Goodwin, Ben Foster. World Premiere

Blind Date” / USA, Director: Stanley Tucci; Screenwriters: Stanley Tucci, David Schechter
A married couple has suffered a tragedy, and now the only way they can relate to one another is by meeting as different characters through a series of personal ads. A remake of the original work by the late Dutch director Theo van Gogh. Cast: Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Thijs Romer. World Premiere

Bottle Shock” / USA, Director: Randall Miller; Screenwriters: Jody Savin, Randall Miller
The story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as “Judgment of Paris.” Cast: Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodriguez, Eliza Dushku. World Premiere

Chronic Town” / USA, Director: Tom Hines; Screenwriter: Michael Kamsky
A bittersweet slice-of-life comedy about a cab driver with substance abuse problems who weathers a cold Alaskan winter with his cadre of friends and lovers. Cast: JR Bourne, Emily Wagner, Dan Butler. World Premiere

Goliath” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: David Zellner
Faced with a demotion, a pending divorce, and less-than-friendly neighbors, a man pins his hopes for salvation on finding his missing cat, Goliath. Cast: David Zellner, Caroline O’Connor, Nathan Zellner. World Premiere

A Good Day To Be Black & Sexy” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Dennis Dortch
Six progressive vignettes explore sexuality and relationships in the black community of Los Angeles. Cast: Kathryn Taylor, Valley Jones, Chonte’ Harris. World Premiere

Love Comes Lately” / Germany / Austria, Director and Screenwriter: Jan Schuette
An 80-year-old man continues to pursue his love life with youthful vigor, risking his relationship with the woman he loves. Based on the short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cast: Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Tovah Feldshuh. U.S. Premiere

Momma’s Man” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Azazel Jacobs
A man who has avoided his wife and child at home has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents’ loft. Cast: Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon. World Premiere

Quid Pro Quo” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Carlos Brooks
A paraplegic New York public radio reporter becomes involved with a mysterious woman while researching a story about able-bodied people who secretly yearn to be paralyzed. Cast: Nick Stahl, Vera Farmiga, Kate Burton. World Premiere

Red” / USA, Director: Trygve Diesen; Screenwriter: Stephen Susco
When a 14-year-old dog, the best friend of a reclusive man, is shot maliciously by three teenagers, the owner demands accountability, no matter what the cost. Based on the novel “Red” by Jack Ketchum. Cast: Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore, Kim Dickens. World Premiere

The films screening in New Frontier are:

cASTING a gLANCE“/ USA, Director and Screenwriter: James Benning
An experiential look at Robert Smithson’s monumental sculpture, the Spiral Jetty, as it has evolved over 30 years in concert with the ebb and flow of the Great Salt Lake.

Eat, For This Is My Body” (Mange, ceci est mon corps) / France/Haiti, Director and Screenwriter: Michelange Quay
A dreamlike meditation on the evolution of racial conquest and liberation in Haiti. Cast: Sylvie Testud. U.S. Premiere

Fear(s) of the Dark” (Peur(s) du Noir) / France, Directors: Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Callou, Romain Slocombe, Pierre Di Sciullio, Lorenzo Mattotti; Screenwriters: Jerry Kramsky, Pirus, Romaine
Slocombe
, Artistic Director: Etienne Robial
Ten leading graphic artists and cartoonists have breathed life into their phobias and nightmares in this animated feature. North American Premiere

Half-Life” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Jennifer Phang
As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father’s desertion and the powerful presence of their mother’s new boyfriend. World Premiere

Reversion” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Mia Trachinger
In a world in which the past, present and future simultaneously unfold, a woman whose genetic mutation leaves her devoid of morality struggles to preserve her romance with the man she loves. World Premiere

Seven Intellectuals in Bamboo Forest, Parts 4 and 5” / USA, Artist: Yang Fudong
A rare screening of the artist’s most recently completed films in his celebrated series, based on the history of seven intellectuals in the ancient Chinese Wei and Jin Dynasties.

The films screening in Park City at Midnight this year are:

Adventures of Power” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Ari Gold
In his quest to become the world’s greatest air-drummer, a small-town dreamer must overcome obstacles and ridicule to save the day. Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Jean-Louis. World Premiere

The Broken” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Sean Ellis
On a busy London street a woman sees herself driving by in her own car. Stunned, she trails the mystery woman as events take an eerie turn into a living nightmare. Cast: Lena Heady, Richard Jenkins, Asier Newman. World Premiere

George A. Romero’s Diary of the Dead” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: George A. Romero
When a group of film students making an indie horror film find themselves trapped in a world being consumed by flesh-eating zombies, they cleverly switch gears and use the camera to document the world crumbling around them. Cast: Nick Alachiotis, Matt Birman, George Buza, Wes Craven, Stephen King, Quentin Tarantino, Guillermo del Toro. U.S. Premiere

Donkey Punch” / UK, Director: Olly Blackburn; Screenwriters: Olly Blackburn, David Bloom
After meeting at a nightclub in a Mediterranean resort, seven young adults decide to continue partying aboard a luxury yacht in the middle of the ocean. But when one of them dies in a freak accident the others argue about what to do, leading to a ruthless fight for survival. Cast: Robert Boulter, Sian Breckin, Tom Burke. World Premiere

Funny Games” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Michael Haneke
A family settles into its vacation home, which happens to be the next stop for a pair of young, articulate, white-gloved serial killers on an excursion through the neighborhood. Cast: Naomi Watts, Tim Roth, Michael Pitt, Devon Gearhart.

Hell Ride” / USA, Director and Screenwriter: Larry Bishop
Quentin Tarantino presents this bloody, sexy tale of motorcycle revenge. It’s a modern-day take on 1960s motorcycle flicks, with bikers who hit the road to avenge the death of one of their “old ladies” at the hands of a rival motorcycle gang. Cast: Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen. World Premiere

Otto; Or, Up With Dead People” / Germany/Canada, Director and Screenwriter: Bruce LaBruce
A lonely gay zombie searches for love and meaning in contemporary Berlin. Cast: Jey Crisfar, Katharina Klewinghaus, Susanne Sachsse, Marcel Schlutt. World Premiere

Timecrimes” (Los Cronocrimenes) / Spain, Director and Screenwriter: Nacho Vigalondo
A man accidentally travels back to the past, only to meet himself there. He also encounters a series of mysteries–pieces of an unpredictable jigsaw puzzle of terror, drama, and supsense–that all lead to an unthinkable crime. Cast: Karra Elejalde, Candela Fernandez, Barbara Goenaga.

indieWIRE’s coverage of the Sundance Film Festival is available in a special Park City section here at indieWIRE.com

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