Leaner Sundance Lineup to be Unveiled Today; 32 Films to Compete for Top Prizes
by John Bernstein
With nearly all of the ticket packages already sold-out, organizers have
been busy firming up the lineup for the 1998 Sundance Film Festival, to be
held January 15 - 25 in Park City, Utah. The hotly coveted list of
selections has been the subject of intense rumor and speculation since
organizers began notifying filmmakers of their acceptance last week. If
complete, the lineup which will be officially released to the press and
others today, would appear to echo Associate Programmer John Cooper's
recent comments to indieWIRE that fewer movies would be screened. Four fewer
films are included in the American Spectrum, eight fewer in the World
Cinema section, and one fewer Midnight movie will apparently be screened.
The number of films remains the same for the competition, premiere and
frontier categories. The lineup for the "View From the Center: Native
Vision in Cinema" sidebar, as well as archival screenings have yet to be
As expected, filmmakers submitted a record number of films for
consideration, each vying for a coveted slot in the festival that is widely
regarded to be the premiere showcase for independent film. This year,
Sundance programmers sifted through 675 dramatic features, 194
documentaries, 190 foreign films, and 1,479 shorts. Approximately 130 films
were submitted through the early submission process which was instituted
this year as a way of giving rejected filmmakers an opportunity to submit
to other fall and winter festivals. As John Cooper told indieWIRE recently,
the program yielded a handful of competition movies.
A host of notable non-fiction filmmakers are included in the Sundance
documentary competition. The lineup of sixteen films includes:
-- "Baby It's You", by Anne Makepeace
-- "Beautopia", by Katharina Otto
-- Penelope Spheeris follow-up to her music-themed documentaries, "Decline Of Western Civilization, Part III"
-- Steve Yeager's "Divine Trash"
-- "The Farm", by Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus
-- "Frank Lloyd Wright", by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick
-- HBO's "Frat House" by Todd Phillips and Andrew Gurland
-- Lisa Lewenz's "A Letter Without Words"
-- "Lou Reed: Rock And Roll Heart", by Timothy Greenfield-Sandors
-- Iara Lee's electronic music-themed "Modulations", the follow-up to her
1996 Sundance entry, "Synthetic Pleasures"
-- Julia Loktev's "Moment Of Impact"
-- "Out Of The Past", by Jeffrey Dupre
-- Vicky Funari's "Paulina"
-- Ellen Bruno's "Slavegirls"
-- "Some Nudity Required", by Odette Springer
-- and Barbara Kopple's Woody Allen doc, "Wild Man Blues".
The sixteen features selected for inclusion in the 1998 Dramatic
Competition include a number of star-studded projects:
-- "2 By 4", by Jimmy Smallhorne which features Chris O'Neill ("Backbeat")
-- "Billy's Hollywood Screen Kiss", by Tommy O'Haver
-- "Buffalo 66", by Vincent Gallo which features Rosanna Arquette, Ben
Gazarra, Anjelica Huston, Christina Ricci, Mickey Rourke and Paul Sorvino
-- Miramax's "Hav Plenty", by Christopher Cherot
-- Lisa Cholodenko's "High Art"
-- "How To Make The Cruelest Month", by Kip Koenig
-- Bill Plympton's "I Married A Strange Person", an animated entry from the
-- CFP's "Jerry And Tom", by Saul Rubinek, featuring Ted Danson, Charles
Durning, William H. Macy, Joe Mantegna and Peter Riegert.
-- "Miss Monday", by Benson Lee.
-- Brad Anderson's "Next Stop Wonderland", the follow up to his 1996 Sundance
entry "The Darien Gap", featuring Cara Buono, Ken Cheeseman and Hope Davis.
-- "Once We Were Strangers", by Emanuele Crialese.
-- "Pi (the symbol)", by Darren Aronofsky;
-- "Slam", by Marc Levin
-- Chris Eyre's "Smoke Signals", a Miramax film with an American Indian theme
featuring Tantoo Cardinal, Gary Farmer, Evan Adams. The movie is produced
by Larry Estes and Scott Rosenfelt.
-- "Under Heaven", by Meg Richman, featuring Molly Parker ("Kissed"), Joely
Richardson and Arden Young ("Cosi").
-- and Laurie Weltz's "Wrestling With Alligators".
The full list of approximately 60 short films to be included in the 1998
Sundance Film Festival is expected to be released by organizers soon.
[Mark Rabinowitz and Eugene Hernandez contributed to this article.]