"Doors" to Open at Sundance; 15 Other Films to Premiere in Park City
by Mark Rabinowitz
indieWIRE has learned that Peter Howitt's directorial debut, "Sliding Doors"
is set to kick off the 1998 Sundance Film Festival when it bows on January
15th in Salt Lake City, Utah. The film stars Gwyneth Paltrow, John Lynch,
John Hannah and Jeanne Tripplehorn, and is set to be released by Miramax in
The remaining 15 premieres (world, U.S. and regional) are a strong
lineup from Sundance vets and newbies, with the festival continuing the
practice of programming follow up features from previous competition
filmmakers in the premiere slots. Directors thus anointed at this year's
fest include Tom DiCillo with his fourth Sundance entry (1991's "Johnny Suede" and 1993's "Living In Oblivion" were competition films, and 1997's "Box Of Moonlight" was a premiere), and fourth film overall, "The Real Blonde".
It stars Matthew Modine, Elizabeth Berkley, DiCillo stalwart Catherine
Keener ("Living In Oblivion"), Marlo Thomas and Buck Henry, among others.
Also returning to the fest is Boaz Yakin (his award-winning "Fresh" was in
the dramatic competition in 1993) with "A Price Above Rubies", starring Renee
Other festival returnees include Ted Demme ("The Ref") making his second trip
to the 'dance (after screening his short "The Bet" in 1992) with "Snitch", a
film written by Dennis Leary and starring Leary, Ian Hart ("Backbeat"), Billy
Crudup ("Inventing The Abbots"), Colm Meany ("The Van") and Martin Sheen.
Michael Moore returns with his new documentary "The Big One", a
combination of book tour travelogue and skewering of corporate America in
the style of his first film (and 1989 Sundance premiere) "Roger And Me". Also
returning to the snow is Walter Salles, with "Central Station". Salles was at
the fest in 1995 with World Cinema entrant, "Foreign Land", a
Brazilian/Portuguese film, co-directed with Daniela Thomas.
Noted cinematographer Ernest Dickerson ("Do The Right Thing", "Malcolm X")
makes his Sundance directorial debut with his fifth film as a helmer,
"Blind Faith". Dickerson has shot two previous Sundance entries: 1984's
"Brother From Another Planet" (John Sayles, dir.) and 1988's "The Laserman",
Peter Wang's 1988 U.S./Hong Kong co-production that screened in the
dramatic competition. A complete newcomer to Sundance is veteran filmmaker
David Mamet ("House Of Games", "Things Change"), who makes his fest debut with
his fifth directorial effort, "The Spanish Prisoner", a con game thriller
starring Campbell Scott, Steve Martin and Ben Gazzara and produced by Jean
Doumanian ("Deconstructing Harry", "Bullets Over Broadway").
Teresa Connelly makes an auspicious fest debut with "The Polish Wedding".
Connelly's debut directorial effort stars Claire Danes, Gabriel Byrne and
Lena Olin, while Academy Award winning actor Timothy Hutton makes his
Sundance debut with his first film, "Digging To China", which stars Kevin
Bacon, Mary Stuart Masterson, Cathy Moriarty and Marian Seldes.
Seldes also stars in veteran director Paul Schrader's latest Sundance
outing ("Light Sleeper" world premiered in Park City in 1991), "Affliction".
Shot in Montreal in early 1997, the film also stars Nick Nolte, Sissy
Spacek, James Coburn, Willem Dafoe, Mary Beth Hurt and Jim True, and was
edited by Jay Rabinowitz ("Dead Man"; "Clean, Shaven Night"; "Night On Earth").
The remaining five premiere helmers are all Sundance virgins, with David
Leland's "Land Girls"; Brian Skeet's "The Misadventures Of Margaret" (adapted
by Skeet from Cathleen Schine's novel "Rameau's Niece"); "Montana", by
Jennifer Leitzes; "The Sea Change", by Michael Bray, and "The Opposite Sex", by
Don Roos all preeming at this year's snow shindig. Roos' "Sex" stars Martin
Donovan, Johnny Galecki, Lisa Kudrow, Lyle Lovett and Christina Ricci and
Skeet's "Margaret" stars Elizabeth McGovern, Jeremy Northam and Sundance
mainstay, Parker Posey.
[John Bernstein contributed to this article.]