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by Indiewire
November 21, 2012 12:31 PM
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Sundance 2013 Wishlist: 25 Films We Hope Will Head To Park City

"Mutual Friends," directed by Matthew Watts
Plenty of movies feature a bevvy of characters with separate plots whose stories converge over the course of a big event. So what makes Matthew Watts' New York-set comedy about seven intertwining stories stand out from the pack? Each story was written by a different writer. As Watts told Indiewire late last year while in the midst of filming his romantic comedy, he rounded up a group of friends to pitch shorts, with some parameters in place to ensure the stories could all connect. The finished product, which Watts referred to as "an indie, New York centric, micro-budget 'Love Actually,'" takes place in one day to track a group of 30-somethings, all headed to a surprise party that's destined to fail. The ensemble includes Caitlin Fitzgerald ("Newlyweds"), Cheyenne Jackson ("30 Rock"), Michael Chernus ("Higher Ground") and Michael Stahl-David ("Cloverfield"). "Mutual Friends" wrapped production last November, so chances are the folks at Sundance have seen the culmination of Watts' experiment. Whether they liked what they saw -- we'll know by next week. [Nigel M. Smith]

"Side Effects," directed by Steven Soderbergh
With a February 8 release, distributor Open Roads is likely banking on Steven Soderbergh's latest to screen at the festival -- and it looks like a definite possibility for the "Premieres" section. The medical drama sees the incredibly prolific auteur reuniting with Channing Tatum, the star of his summer sleeper hit "Magic Mike." Rooney Mara leads the film, in her first role since bagging an Oscar nomination for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo," as Emily Hawkins, who at the outset of the trailer is reunited with her husband (Tatum) following a stint he served behind bars. Rather than leave her in great spirits, his return ups her anxiety, leading her to take meds to regulate her spiraling feelings. Jude Law, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Vinessa Shaw round out the cast. [Nigel M. Smith]

"Touchy Feely," directed by Lynn Shelton
Lynn Shelton is following up her immensely acclaimed "Your Sister's Sister" (which screened at Sundance earlier this year after premiering in Toronto) with "Touchy Feely," which reunites Shelton with her one of her "Sister"s, Rosemarie DeWitt. DeWitt -- playing a massage therapist who suddenly finds the human body repulsive -- is joined by Ellen Page, Ron Livingston, Josh Pais, Scott McNairy and Allison Janney in the film. Said to feature multiple storylines, it's a departure from the focused three person narratives of both "Sister" and its predecessor, "Humpday." In post-production as of late summer, it seems like a safe -- and very welcome -- bet for a Sundance premiere. [Peter Knegt]

Trance," directed by Danny Boyle
Director Danny Boyle has been a Telluride kind of guy since the Colorado mountain festival gave his “Slumdog Miilionaire” a slot in 2008 that started the avalanche to a best picture Oscar. Two years later he snuck “127 Hours” there instead of taking it to Venice or Sundance. But since his new one, “Trance,” wasn’t ready for the 2012 Telluride edition, it makes Sundance a real possibility. His usual distributor, Fox Searchlight, always uses Sundance for both picking up new titles (“Martha Marcy May Marlene,” “Beasts of the Southern Wild”) and launching word-of-mouth promotion on homegrown projects (“Cedar Rapids,” “Cyrus”). Boyle’s “28 Days Later…” (also Searchlight) played Sundance in 2003, and “Trance,” a crime thriller about a lost painting that stars James McAvoy, has a March release date scheduled, so the timing makes the new film a very likely entry. [Jay A. Fernandez]

"Warm Bodies," directed by Jonathan Levine
After "50/50"'s positive reception in 2011, Jonathan Levine has made a directorial return with "Warm Bodies," a zombie love story backed by Summit Entertainment. Nicholas Hoult, of "X-Men: First Class" fame, will star as a zombie who develops feelings for a human girl played by Teresa Palmer. Adapted from Isaac Marion's novel of the same name, the film will focus on their developing relationship and its effects on the post-apocalyptic zombie universe. Dave Franco, John Malkovich and Analeigh Tipton also star. [Justin Krajeski]

The 2013 Sundance Film Festival runs January 17-27, 2013.

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21 Comments

  • HJ | November 27, 2012 6:28 PMReply

    Adam and Dog!

  • Steve | November 27, 2012 8:01 AMReply

    Heard great things about "Friended to Death" too. Hope it makes it in. It's a true indie.

  • Jonathan | November 26, 2012 2:19 PMReply

    It's "Kill YOUR Darlings" not Kill My Darlings.

  • Spmeans | November 25, 2012 11:55 PMReply

    The Coens debuted both "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "The Big Lebowski" at Sundance.

  • Spmeans | November 25, 2012 11:55 PMReply

    The Coens debuted both "The Hudsucker Proxy" and "The Big Lebowski" at Sundance.

  • twinstarg | November 25, 2012 11:25 PMReply

    A while ago I read a fantastic book by DW Gibson called Not Working and know that there's a companion documentary in the works. Have to imagine it's made it into Sundance's 'slush pile' by now. Hope so because I'd love to see it this January!!

  • Starsforarms | November 25, 2012 5:06 AMReply

    I saw the trailer for a doc called Next Goal Wins which looked hilarious. Hope to see it there!

  • Alu | November 24, 2012 4:22 PMReply

    Great list, particularly excited for GBF, Before Midnight, Can a Song Change Your Life?, Kill Your Darlings, Lovelace, and Franco's Forty Minutes. Just a minor correction: GBF stands for "gay best friend", not "gay boyfriend." :)

  • Marshall North | November 22, 2012 6:59 PMReply

    How about Backgammon, which is directed by Francisco Orvananos and stars Brittany Allen, Noah Silver and Alex Beh? http://backgammonfilm.com/

  • Ed | November 22, 2012 8:47 AMReply

    @DEEJ. Sundance hasn't been an independent festival in 15 years. This list is comprised of far too many "Hollywood" films helmed by veteran/established/mainstream directors. Of the films that are not Hollywood productions using the Sundance brand to market their spring releases, we're left with a handful of banal genre pieces by mediocre filmmakers in a very crowded and jaded lineup. The 90's brought us a renaissance that birthed the careers of some of the greatest and most original voices in cinematic history. The last ten years have given us mumbleBORE, pompous neo-realist "awkward white people" films, and the Duplass Brothers. Sundance might as well be a Hollywood Studio. To be fair, the studios have bankrupted and stripped many of the middle road, "indie" subsidiaries and the festivals are almost forced to keep premiering films from mediocre previous classes. 50,000 films produced every year and barley a film on the list by a true first time filmmaker. If you want daring, bold, and original content by independent filmmakers than Sundance should be the very last place you look. Supporters will point to "Beasts" as evidence of their discovery of a MAJOR new talent, and I'd applaud them for as much, but he's one filmmaker in 15 years IMHO.

  • Marshall North | November 22, 2012 7:01 PM

    I agree with Ed that there are FAR TOO MANY established, mainstream Hollywood stars and directors on your list!

  • ian | November 22, 2012 1:02 AMReply

    I think it's highly likely that James Franco will debut his adapation of Cormac McCarthy's Child of God at Sundance, probably in competition. (Heck, he already shot another feature since; As I Lay Dying)

    Both Mathew Weiner and Nat Faxon/Jim Rash have stated that they intend both The Way, Way Back and I am Here to debut at Sundance. Ditto, Joseph Gordon Levitt's Don Jon's Addiction.

    It's also highly likely that The Necessary Deaths of Charlie Countryman will debut at Sundance. (It's been locked for awhile) Ditto Gods Behaving Badly.

  • Mitchell | November 21, 2012 9:39 PMReply

    How about "The East", the new film from the Zal Batmanglij/Brit Marling team, starring Marling, Alexander Skarsgaard and Ellen Page?

  • Bob Giovanelli | November 21, 2012 6:34 PMReply

    "Boys Don't Cry" was shown at Sundance in a special work-in-progress highlight-reel kind of screening, when it had a different title shortly after it wrapped.

  • Luke | November 21, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    Toy's House!!!

  • Luke | November 21, 2012 2:26 PMReply

    Toy's House!!!

  • RK | November 21, 2012 2:08 PMReply

    I love that you guys are still using that Sundance photo...

  • Deej | November 21, 2012 1:07 PMReply

    Will there ever be an Asian American "indie" at Sundance (besides Better Luck Tomorrow). Or, any film with an Asian American cast ... Enought of the DIY-hipster-OWS filmmakers....please.

  • Charlie | November 21, 2012 1:01 PMReply

    The Big Lebowski premiered at Sundance.

  • CHAT N' OOGA | November 21, 2012 12:59 PMReply

    It'd be a bummer if the "The Spectacular Now" doesn't make it in. It's directed by James Ponsolt (the guy who made "Smashed", which was phenomenal) and written by the "(500) Days of Summer" duo. Plus, it's got teenage drinking and Shailene Woodley. It's like a Sundance superbaby. And I mean that in a good way.

  • Ryan | November 21, 2012 12:45 PMReply

    Surprised one of the most obvious to be there, in my opinion, isn't on this list, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don John's Addiction.