The world premiere of "Mary and Max," a clay animation freature from Academy Award-winning short creators Adam Elliot and producer Melanie Coombs will kick off the 25th Sundance Film Festival on January 15th in Park City, Utah. The feature stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette with narration by Barry Humphries.
The film is described by Sundance as the "tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. The story is based on the director's own pen-friendship that has also lasted over twenty years.
The feature is a return visit for Australian animator Adam Elliot. His short film "Harvie Krumpet," also produced by Melanie Coombs, screened at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival and went on to win the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
"This portrait of a global friendship between two marvelously dysfunctional people is an exceptionally moving, funny and thought-provoking work," commented Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival in a statement. "'Mary and Max' is the first film of its kind to open the Festival and we anticipate audiences will embrace Adam Elliot's feature-length directorial debut for its poignant story, exceptional voice talent and technological creativity."
On December 3rd and 4th, Sundance will announce its full 2009 slate for the festival, taking place Januray 15 - 25, 2009. The line up will include 120 dramatic and documentary features in seven categories as well as 80 shorts.