Berlin may have stolen the thunder this morning by announcing they’ve got the latest Terrence Malick film, “Knight Of Cups,” but folks over at Sundance aren’t stopping either, adding ten more titles to their already impressive 2015 lineup. So let’s get to it.
Leading the pack of the latest highlights are “A Walk In The Woods” and “True Story.” The former stars Park City staple and festival founder Robert Redford, along with Nick Nolte, in a tale about two older dudes who walk around and bond and bicker. Sounds like Sundance. The latter is a movie that shot a while ago, one we thought might’ve figured at TIFF earlier this year, a drama starring usual comedic cohorts James Franco and Jonah Hill, and as the title suggests is based on real events. Brad Pitt produced it too, fyi.
Meanwhile, Brit animation gets a chance to shine with “Shaun The Sheep,” there’s a weird installation project involving “Wild,” and “Paris Is Burning” returns for a retrospective screening. Full details below.
A Walk in the Woods / U.S.A. (Director: Ken Kwapis, Screenwriters: Rick Kerb, Bill Holderman) — An aging travel writer sets out to hike the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail with a long-estranged high school buddy. Along the way, the duo face off with each other, nature, and an eccentric assortment of characters. Together, they learn that some roads are better left untraveled.Cast: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal. World Premiere. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
True Story / U.S.A. (Director: Rupert Goold, Screenwriters: Rupert Goold, David Kajganich) — When disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel meets accused killer Christian Longo — who has taken on Finkel’s identity — his investigation morphs into an unforgettable game of cat and mouse. Based on actual events, Finkel’s relentless pursuit of Longo’s true story encompasses murder, love, deceit, and redemption. Cast: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones.
This section of the Festival is especially for young independent film fans. Programmed in cooperation with Tumbleweeds, Utah’s premiere film festival for children and youth.
The Games Maker / Argentina, Canada, Italy (Director and screenwriter: Juan Pablo Buscarini) — Ivan Drago’s love of board games catapults him into the fantastical world of game invention and pits him against the inventor Morodian, who wants to destroy the city of Zyl. To save his family, Ivan must come to know what it is to be a true Games Maker. Cast: David Mazouz, Joseph Fiennes, Ed Asner, Megan Charpentier, Tom Cavanagh, Valentina Lodovini. U.S. Premiere
Operation Arctic / Norway (Director and screenwriter: Grethe Bøe-Waal) — This modern-day Robinson Crusoe adventure is set in the Arctic. Through a misunderstanding, 13-year-old Julia and her eight-year-old twin siblings, Ida and Sindre, are left on a deserted island. The children have to find ways to survive, battling fierce winter weather, hungry polar bears, and loneliness. Cast: Kaisa Gurine Antonsen, Ida Leonora Valestrand Eike, Leonard Valestrand Eike, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Kristofer Hivju, Line Verndal.International Premiere
Shaun the Sheep / United Kingdom (Directors and screenwriters: Richard Starzak, Mark Burton) — When Shaun’s mischief inadvertently leads to the Farmer being taken away from the farm, Shaun, Bitzer and the flock have to go into the big city to rescue him, setting the stage for an epic adventure.International Premiere
Pioneers Palace B’92 / Romania (Director and screenwriter: Bobby Paunescu) — In the wild days of post-Ceausescu Bucharest, teenagers open a disco at their high school, terrified of an AIDS scare after their visit to a local brothel. Part of the Festival’s new Art of Film program, Pioneers Palace B’92was produced by film students and supported by Mandragora Film Academy together with Solar Indie Junction. Cast: Toto Dumitrescu, Mihai Dorobantu, Maria Bata, Dragos Savulescu, Alice Halpert, Alice Peneaca. World Premiere
The following installations will be featured in The VR works of Felix & Paul, a showcase of groundbreaking live-action virtual reality experiences by artists Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël in the Festival’s New Frontier exhibition.
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Mongolian pastoral herders are one of the world’s last remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the grasslands. Through a series of virtual reality experiences, the viewer is invited into the reality of a nomadic family of yak herders.
Strangers with Patrick Watson
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski
Strangers with Patrick Watson invites the viewer to spend an intimate moment with celebrated Montreal musician Patrick Watson at work in his studio loft on a winter’s day. Cast: Patrick Watson.
WILD – The Experience
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Fox Searchlight and the Fox Innovation Lab present this virtual reality experience drawing from the film Wild. Viewers enter a fully immersive media environment to join an intimate moment on the Pacific Crest Trail between a woman, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), and her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern), a vision from the afterlife.
FROM THE COLLECTION
A selection from The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a film preservation program established in 1997. The Collection is specifically devoted to the preservation of independent documentaries, narratives and short films supported by Sundance Institute and has grown to nearly 2,300 holdings representing 1,800 titles, including recent additions such as El Mariachi,Winter’s Bone, Johnny Suede, Working Girls, Crumb, Groove, Better This World, The Oath and Paris, Texas. Titles are generously donated by individual filmmakers, distributors and studios.
Paris is Burning / U.S.A. (Director: Jennie Livingston) —Paris is Burningvisits black and Latino drag balls of the 1980s in New York City, where at raucous celebrations, rival Houses create intense competition and provide deep sustenance. This world within a world is instantly familiar, filled with intense yearnings for “Realness” that reflects America itself. Cast: Dorian Corey, Freddie Pendavis, Pepper Labeija, Junior Labeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja.
The screening will feature a DCP of the new digital restoration of Paris is Burning created from original 16mm elements. This recent effort restores the feature to the original uncropped aspect ratio. The project represents the collaborative efforts of the Sundance Institute, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, and UCLA Film & Television Archive, with permission of Miramax.