Playwright Martin McDonagh's first feature, "In Bruges" will open the 2008 Sundance Film Festival on January 17, 2008 in Park City, UT. The festival, set to unveil its complete feature film lineup next week, will present 120 features and 80 shorts during the annual event, which will run through January 27th in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah. McDonagh's film, described as a "twisted tale of two London hit men ordered to take a forced vacation in Bruges, Belgium", stars Ralph Fiennes, Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleeson. In the words of a Sundance announcement, "their subsequent time in exile goes awry."
"In many ways 'In Bruges' is a quintessential Sundance film - it's brutal, philosophical, funny, and totally original," said Geoffrey Gilmore, Sundance's director. "Martin McDonagh is a masterful storyteller, a tremendously gifted playwright and provocative risk-taker and we are thrilled to showcase his feature-length directorial debut."
McDonagh directed the short film "Six Shooter, which also starred Gleeson and won the 2006 Oscar for best live-action short. He is also a four-time Tony Award-nominated playwright for "The Beauty Queen of Leenane," "The Lonesome West" and "The Pillowman.
"I'm stunned and thrilled that 'In Bruges' will be opening a festival as prestigious, and as cool, as Sundance," McDonagh said in a statement. "And I simply can't wait to attend."
The Focus Features film, in association with Film4, is a Blueprint Pictures production in association with Scion Films. It was produced by Graham Broadbent and Pete Czernin and executive produced by Jeff Abberley, Julia Blackman and Tessa Ross.
"Martin McDonagh's hilariously sad first feature is seemingly modest; but, in fact, highly original. No filmmaker I know has made the English language, in all its profane - and here, quite Celtic - glory, such a purely, joyously cinematic medium," said James Schamus of Focus.
Organizers said today that they will announce the Sundance Film Festival program on Wednesday, November 28 and Thursday, November 29, 2007.
[Peter Knegt contributed to this article]