Sundance movies: ‘The Romantics’ & ‘The Kids Are All Right’ among entries
The Romantics, The Kids Are All Right, and It’s a Wonderful Afterlife are three recently announced world premieres to be screened out of competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. Here is a bit more information about these Sundance movies:
- Writer-director Galt Niederhoffer’s The Romantics sounds like a younger-leaning The Big Chill: a group of former college buddies reunite to celebrate the wedding of two of their friends. The Romantics features an ensemble cast that includes Best Supporting Actress Academy Award winner Anna Paquin (The Piano, 1993), Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, Malin Ackerman, Elijah Wood, Jeremy Strong, Dianna Agron, and veteran Candice Bergen (five-time Emmy winner for the long-running television series Murphy Brown and Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for the 1979 romantic comedy Starting Over).
- Directed by Lisa Cholodenko, The Kids Are All Right stars Annette Bening and Julianne Moore as a lesbian couple whose lives are turned upside down after they are contacted by the biological father (Mark Ruffalo) of their two children (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson).
- Like The Romantics, Gurinder Chadha’s It’s a Wonderful Afterlife – according to the Sundance press release, “with nods to Frank Capra, ghost stories, murder mysteries, and screwball comedies” – also revolves around the issue of matrimony. In this particular West London setting, a traditional Indian mother wants her “aging” daughter to tie the knot – fast; however, mysterious deaths and busybody ghosts interfere. It’s a Wonderful Afterlife features Shabana Azmi, Sendhil Ramamurthy, and Sally Hawkins.
Below is a partial list of other Sundance 2010 premieres of various sorts (world, international, North American, U.S.).
Sundance movies: Premieres
Abel / Mexico, USA (Dir.: Diego Luna; Scr.: Diego Luna and Agusto Mendoza) – A peculiar young boy, blurring reality and fantasy, assumes the responsibilities of a family man in his father’s absence. Cast: Jose Maria Yazpik, Karina Gidi, Carlos Aragon, Christopher Ruiz-Esparza, Gerardo Ruiz-Esparza.
The Company Men / USA (Dir./Scr.: John Wells) – Three company men attempt to survive a round of corporate downsizing while trying to fend off its effects on their families and their identities. Cast: Ben Affleck, Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Tommy Lee Jones, Chris Cooper, Rosemarie DeWitt.
The Extra Man / USA (Dir.: Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini; Scr.: Robert Pulcini, Jonathan Ames and Shari Springer Berman) – A down-and-out playwright who escorts wealthy widows in Manhattan’s Upper East Side takes a young aspiring writer under his wing. Cast: Kevin Kline, Paul Dano, John C. Reilly, and Katie Holmes.
Get Low / USA (Dir.: Aaron Schneider; Scr.: Chris Provenzano and C. Gaby Mitchell) – A film spun out of equal parts folk tale, fable and real-life legend about a mysterious, 1930s Tennessee hermit who plans his own rollicking funeral party … while still alive. Cast: Robert Duvall. Bill Murray. Sissy Spacek. Lucas Black.
Jack Goes Boating / USA (Dir.: Philip Seymour Hoffman; Scr.: Bob Glaudini) – A limo driver’s blind date sparks a tale of love, betrayal, friendship, and grace. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Amy Ryan, John Ortiz, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Tom McCarthy.
The Killer Inside Me / USA (Dir.: Michael Winterbottom; Scr.: John Curran) – Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is a pillar of the community in his small Texan town; patient, polite and well liked, until he starts killing people. Cast: Casey Affleck, Kate Hudson, Jessica Alba, Simon Baker, Elias Koteas.
Nowhere Boy / United Kingdom (Dir.: Sam Taylor Wood; Scr.: Julia Baird and Matt Greenhalgh) – A teenage John Lennon confronts wrenching family secrets and finds his musical voice in late 1950s Liverpool. Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Sangster, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey.
Please Give / USA (Dir./Scr.: Nicole Holofcener) – In New York City, a husband and wife butt heads with the granddaughters of the elderly woman who lives next door. Cast: Amanda Peet, Oliver Platt, Rebecca Hall, Catherine Keener.
The Runaways / USA (Dir./Scr.: Floria Sigismondi) – In 1970s LA, a tough teenager named Joan Jett connects with an eccentric producer to form an all-girl band that would launch her career and make rock history. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Dakota Fanning, Scout Taylor-Compton, Michael Shannon, Alia Shawkat, Tatum O’Neal.
Shock Doctrine / USA (Dir.: Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross) – Closely based on the book by award-winning journalist Naomi Klein, Shock Doctrine exposes how shock is used to implement economic policy in vulnerable environments.
Twelve / USA (Dir.: Joel Schumacher; Scr.: Jordan Melamed) – A chronicle of the highs and lows of privileged kids on Manhattan’s Upper East Side involving sex, drugs and murder. Cast: Chace Crawford, Emma Roberts, Kiefer Sutherland.
Cyrus / USA (Dir./Scr.: Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass) – A recently divorced guy meets a new lady. Then he meets her son who is, well … interesting. Cast: John C. Reilly, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Hill, Catherine Keener.
Joan Rivers & Benazir Bhutto documentaries: Sundance Film Festival U.S. Documentary movie line-up
Among the Sundance 2010 U.S.-made documentaries are Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work, described as a “brutally honest” look into the public persona and private life of big-mouthed entertainer Joan Rivers, and Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara’s Bhutto, which depicts the life and times of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, assassinated in 2007.
Bhutto (Dir.: Duane Baughman and Johnny O’Hara. Scr.: Johnny O’Hara) – A riveting journey through the life and work of recently assassinated Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister and a polarizing figure in the Muslim world.
Casino Jack and the United States of Money (Dir.: Alex Gibney) – A probing investigation into the lies, greed and corruption surrounding D.C. super-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his cronies.
Family Affair (Dir.: Chico Colvard) – An uncompromising documentary that examines resilience, survival and the capacity to accommodate a parent’s past crimes in order to satisfy the longing for family.
Freedom Riders (Dir.: Stanley Nelson) – The story behind a courageous band of civil rights activists called the Freedom Riders who in 1961 creatively challenged segregation in the American South.
Gas Land (Dir.: Josh Fox) – A cross-country odyssey uncovers toxic streams, dying livestock, flammable sinks and weakening health among rural citizens on the front lines of the natural gas drilling craze.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child (Dir.: Tamra Davis) – The story of artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, whose work defined, electrified and challenged an era, and whose untimely death at age 27 has made him a cultural icon.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (Dir.: Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg) – A rare, brutally honest glimpse into the comedic process and private dramas of legendary comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers.
The Oath (Dir.: Laura Poitras) – Filmed in Yemen, The Oath tells the story of two men whose fateful encounter in 1996 set them on a course of events that led them to Afghanistan, Osama bin Laden, 9/11, Guantanamo, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Restrepo (Dir.: Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington) – Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s year dug in with the Second Platoon in one of Afghanistan’s most strategically crucial valleys.
A Small Act (Dir.: Jennifer Arnold) – A young Kenyan’s life changes dramatically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founds his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received.
Smash His Camera (Dir.: Leon Gast) – Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis sued him, and Marlon Brando broke his jaw. The story of notorious, reviled paparazzo Ron Galella opens a Pandora’s Box of issues from right to privacy, freedom of the press and the ever-growing vortex of celebrity worship.
12th & Delaware (Dir.: Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing) – The abortion battle continues to rage in unexpected ways on an unassuming corner in America.
I’m Pat Tillman / The Tillman Story (Dir.: Amir Bar-Lev) – The story of professional football star and decorated U.S. soldier Pat Tillman, whose family takes on the U.S. government when their beloved son dies in a “friendly fire” incident in Afghanistan in 2004.
Waiting for ‘Superman’ (Dir.: Davis Guggenheim) – Waiting for ‘Superman’ examines the crisis of public education in the United States through multiple interlocking stories.
Sundance: World Cinema Documentary movie line-up
Among the Sundance 2010 international documentaries are Nicolas Entel’s Sins of My Father, in which Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is remembered through the eyes of his son, and Christian Frei’s Space Tourists, about billionaires leaving Planet Earth just for the fun of it.
A Film Unfinished / Germany, Israel (Dir.: Yael Hersonski) – Film reels uncovered in Nazi archives reveal the mechanisms used to stage Warsaw Ghetto life–images which have shaped our view of history.
Enemies of the People / Cambodia, United Kingdom (Dir.: Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath) – A young journalist whose family was killed by the Khmer Rouge befriends the perpetrators of the Killing Fields genocide, evoking shocking revelations.
Fix ME / France, Palestinian Territories, Switzerland (Dir.: Raed Andoni) – When Palestinian filmmaker Raed Andoni gets a headache that won’t quit, he seeks out help and insight in different forms in his hometown of Ramallah.
The Red Chapel (Det Røde Kapel) / Denmark (Dir.: Mads Brügger) – A journalist with no scruples, a self-proclaimed spastic, and a comedian travel to North Korea under the guise of a cultural exchange visit to challenge one of the world’s most notorious regimes.
Russian Lessons / Russia, Georgia, Norway (Dir.: Olga Konskaya and Andrei Nekrasov) – An investigation into Russian actions during the 2008 war in Georgia, revealing the little known story of the ethnic cleansing in the region since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
Secrets of the Tribe / Brazil (Dir.: José Padilha) – Is the academic Anthropology community capable of generating real knowledge about mankind? The scandals and the infighting regarding the representation of indigenous Indians in the Amazon Basin seems to indicate that the answer may be a resounding no.
Sins of My Father / Argentina, Colombia (Dir.: Nicolas Entel) – The life and times of notorious Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar are recounted through the eyes of his son.
Space Tourists / Switzerland (Dir.: Christian Frei) – A humorous and laconic view of the way billionaires depart our planet earth to travel into outer space for fun.
Waste Land / United Kingdom (Dir.: Lucy Walker) – Lives are transformed when international art star Vik Muniz collaborates with garbage pickers in the world’s largest landfill in Rio de Janeiro.
Sundance: Spotlight - Documentaries
8: The Mormon Proposition / USA (Dir.: Reed Cowan) – An examination of the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the promotion and passage of California’s Proposition 8 denying marriage rights for Gay and Lesbian couples.
Climate Refugees / USA (Dir.: Michael Nash) – An over-consuming, crowded world, with depleting resources and a changing climate is giving birth to 25 million climate refugees resulting in a mass global migration and border conflicts.
Countdown to Zero / USA (Dir.: Lucy Walker) – A fascinating and frightening exploration of the dangers of nuclear weapons.
Teenage Paparazzo / USA (Dir.: Adrian Grenier) – A 13-year-old paparazzi boy snaps a photo of actor Adrian Grenier, leading Grenier to explore the effects of celebrity on culture.
Sundance: New Frontier sidebar
All My Friends Are Funeral Singers / USA (Dir./Scr.: Tim Rutili) – A fortune teller lives and works in and old house crowded with ghosts. When a mysterious light appears in the woods, the ghosts realize they are trapped and begin to rebel. Cast: Angela Bettis.
Double Take / Germany, Netherlands (Dir.: Johan Grimonprez) – Alfred Hitchcock is unwittingly caught up in a double take on the cold war period. As television hijacks cinema, and Khrushchev debates Nixon, sexual politics quietly take off and Hitchcock himself blackmails housewives with brands they can’t refuse. Cast: Mark Perry, Ron Burrage.
Memories of Overdevelopment / USA (Dir./Scr.: Miguel Coyula) – Live action mixes with animation and newsreel footage of historical events to form a collage that emulates the way personal memory works for a misanthropic Cuban intellectual. Cast: Ron Blair.
Sundance: Next sidebar
Armless (Dir.: Habib Azar; Scr.: Kyle Jarrow) – In this off-kilter comedy, a woman comes to terms with her husband’s strange secret. Cast: Daniel London, Janel Moloney, Matt Walton, Keith Powell.
One Too Many Mornings (Dir.: Michael Mohan; Scr.: Anthony Deptula, Michael Mohan, Stephen Hale) – Two damaged young men recover their high school friendship by awkwardly revealing to each other just how messed up they’ve become. Cast: Anthony Deptula, Stephen Hale, Tina Kapousis.
The Taqwacores (Dir.: Eyad Zahra; Scr.: Michael Muhammad Knight and Eyad Zahra) – When a Pakistani-Muslim engineering student moves into a house with punk Muslims of all stripes in Buffalo, New York, his ideologies are challenged to the core. Cast: Bobby Naderi, Noureen DeWulf, Dominic Rains, Tony Yalda.
Sundance: Park City at Midnight
7 Days / Canada (Dir.: Daniel Grou; Scr.: Patrick Senecal) – A doctor seeks revenge by kidnapping, torturing and killing the man who murdered his young daughter. Cast: Rémy Girard, Claude Legault, Fanny Mallette, Martin Dubreuil.
Buried / Spain, USA (Dir.: Rodrigo Cortes; Scr.: Chris Sparling) – A U.S. contractor working in Iraq awakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. Cast: Ryan Reynolds.
Frozen / USA (Dir./Scr.: Adam Green) – Three skiers are mistakenly stranded on a chairlift, forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death. Cast: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers.
High School / USA (Dir.: John Stalberg Jr.; Scr.: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg Jr., and Stephen Susco) – A random drug test coincides with a high school valedictorian’s first hit of pot. Cast: Sean Marquette, Matt Bush, Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Michael Vartan.
Splice / France, Canada (Dir.: Vincenzo Natali; Scr.: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, and Doug Taylor) – Clive and Elsa are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment. Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, David Hewlett.
Anna Paquin and Josh Duhamel The Romantics image: Falcon Films.
Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work image: Break Thru Films.
“Sundance: Joan Rivers & Lesbian Family Drama + Benazir Bhutto & The Mormon Proposition Among Entries” last updated in August 2018.
James Franco as gay poet Allen Ginsberg + Michelle Williams & Ryan Gosling: Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Competition
Sundance Film Festival 2010 will be showcasing 16 entries in the U.S. Dramatic Competition movie line-up; these were selected from 1,058 submissions. Each film is a world premiere.
Notable entries among Sundance 2010’s U.S.-made titles include these two dramas in which sex plays an important role:
- Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman’s Howl, starring James Franco as gay poet Allen Ginsberg. Besides Franco – who looks like a (quite a bit) more handsome version of the young, bespectacled Ginsberg – the Howl cast includes Best Actor Oscar nominee David Strathairn (Good Night and Good Luck., 2005), Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, and Jeff Daniels.
- Derek Cianfrance’s Blue Valentine, a romantic-psychological drama starring Michelle Williams and Ryan Gosling as a married couple going back and forth in time, tracing the sweet old days gone sour. Shades of Stanley Donen’s Two for the Road (1967), starring Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney.
The World Cinema Narrative Competition movies were selected from 1,022 international submissions. Notable entries include Javier Fuentes-León’s Peruvian-set Undertow / Contracorriente, a ghost story revolving around a conflicted married fisherman and his male lover, and Chris Morris’ political comedy Four Lions, starring Riz Ahmed.
See below the Sundance 2010 film line-up.
Sundance: U.S. Dramatic Competition
Blue Valentine (Dir.: Derek Cianfrance; Scr.: Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne and Joey Curtis) – Blue Valentine is the story of love lost and love found told in two parallel moments in time. Flooded with romantic memories of their courtship, Dean and Cindy use one night to try and save their failing marriage. Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams star in this honest portrait of a relationship on the rocks. Cast: Ryan Gosling, Michelle Williams, Mike Vogel, John Doman, Faith Wladyka.
Douchebag (Dir.: Drake Doremus; Scr.: Lindsay Stidham, Drake Doremus, Jonathan Schwartz and Andrew Dickler) – On the verge of getting married, Sam Nussbaum insists he escort his younger brother, Tom, on a wild goose chase of a journey to find Tom’s fifth grade girlfriend. Cast: Andrew Dickler, Ben York Jones, Marguerite Moreau, Nicole Vicius, Amy Ferguson, Wendi McClendon-Covey.
The Dry Land (Dir./Scr.: Ryan Piers Williams) – A U.S. soldier returning home from war struggles to reconcile his experiences abroad with the life and family he left in Texas. Cast: Ryan O’Nan, America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, Ethan Suplee, June Diane Raphael, Melissa Leo.
happythankyoumoreplease (Dir./Scr.: Josh Radnor) – Six New Yorkers negotiate love, friendship, and gratitude at a time when they’re too old to be precocious and not ready to be adults. Cast: Malin Akerman, Josh Radnor, Kate Mara, Zoe Kazan, Tony Hale, Pablo Schreiber, Michael Algieri.
Hesher (Dir.: Spencer Susser; Scr.: Spencer Susser and David Michod; Story by Brian Charles Frank) – A mysterious, anarchical trickster descends on the lives of a family struggling to deal with a painful loss. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie, John Carroll Lynch.
Holy Rollers (Dir.: Kevin Tyler Asch; Scr.: Antonio Macia) – A young Hasidic man, seduced by money, power and opportunity, becomes an international Ecstasy smuggler. Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Justin Bartha, Danny A. Abeckaser, Ari Graynor, Jason Fuchs.
Howl (Dir./Scr.: Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman) – A nonfiction drama about the young Allen Ginsberg finding his voice, the creation of his groundbreaking poem “Howl,” and the landmark obscenity trial that followed. Cast: James Franco, David Strathairn, Jon Hamm, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeff Daniels.
The Imperialists Are Still Alive! (Dir./Scr.: Zeina Durra) – Juggling the sudden abduction of her childhood sweetheart as well as a blooming love affair, a French Manhattanite makes her way as an artist in an indifferent, sometimes hostile world. Cast: Élodie Bouchez, José María de Tavira, Karim Saleh Karolina Muller, Marianna Kulukundis, Rita Ackerman.
Lovers of Hate (Dir./Scr.: Bryan Poyser) – The shaky reunion of estranged brothers takes a turn for the worse when the woman they both love chooses one over the other. Cast: Chris Doubek, Heather Kafka, Alex Karpovsky, Zach Green.
Night Catches Us (Dir./Scr.: Tanya Hamilton) – In 1978, complex political and emotional forces are set in motion when a young man returns to the race-torn Philadelphia neighborhood where he came of age during the Black Power movement. Cast: Anthony Mackie, Kerry Washington, Jamie Hector, Wendell Pierce, Jamara Griffin.
Obselidia (Dir./Scr.: Diane Bell) – A lonely librarian believes love is obsolete until a road trip to Death Valley with a beguiling cinema projectionist teaches him otherwise. Cast: Gaynor Howe, Michael Piccirilli, Frank Hoyt Taylor.
Skateland (Dir.: Anthony Burns; Scr.: Anthony Burns, Brandon Freeman, Heath Freeman) – In the early 1980s, in small-town Texas, dramatic events force a 19-year-old skating rink manager to look at his life in a very new way. Cast: Shiloh Fernandez, A.J. Buckley, Ashley Greene, Brett Cullen, Ellen Hollman, Heath Freeman.
Sympathy for Delicious (Dir.: Mark Ruffalo; Scr.: Christopher Thornton) – A newly paralyzed DJ gets more than he bargained for when he seeks out the world of faith healing. Cast: Orlando Bloom, Mark Ruffalo, Juliette Lewis, Laura Linney, John Carroll Lynch.
3 Backyards (Dir./Scr.: Eric Mendelsohn) – A quiet suburban town becomes an intense emotional terrain for three residents over the course of one curious autumn day. Cast: Embeth Davidtz, Edie Falco, Elias Koteas, Rachel Resheff, Kathryn Erbe, Danai Gurira.
Welcome to the Rileys (Dir.: Jake Scott; Scr.: Ken Hixon) – On a business trip to New Orleans, a damaged man seeks salvation by caring for a wayward young woman. Cast: James Gandolfini, Kristen Stewart, Melissa Leo.
Winter’s Bone (Dir.: Debra Granik; Scr.: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini) – An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her drug-dealing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan.
Sundance: World Cinema Narrative Competition
All that I Love / Poland (Dir./Scr.: Jacek Borcuch) – In 1981, during the growing Polish Solidarity movement, four small-town teenagers form a punk rock band with the hope of playing at a local festival. Cast: Mateusz Kosciukiewicz, Jakub Gierszal, Mateusz Banasiuk, Olga Frycz, Igor Obloza. North American Premiere.
Animal Kingdom / Australia (Dir./Scr.: David Michôd) – After the death of his mother, a seventeen year-old boy is thrust precariously between an explosive criminal family and a detective who thinks he can save him. Cast: Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Luke Ford, Jacki Weaver, James Frecheville. World Premiere.
Boy / New Zealand (Dir./Scr.: Taika Waititi) – When his father returns home after many years away, 11-year-old Boy and his little brother Rocky must reconcile reality with the fantasy dad they created in their imagination. Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone. World Premiere.
Contracorriente (Undertow) / Colombia, France, Germany, Peru (Dir./Scr.: Javier Fuentes-León) – An unusual ghost story set on the Peruvian seaside, a married fisherman struggles to reconcile his devotion to his male lover within his town’s rigid traditions. Cast: Cristian Mercado, Manolo Cardona, Tatiana Astengo. North American Premiere.
Four Lions / U.K. (Dir.: Chris Morris; Scr.: Chris Morris, Jesse Armstrong and Sam Bain) – A comedy tour de force about a bunch of self styled British jihadis. Cast: Riz Ahmed, Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak. World Premiere.
Grown Up Movie Star / Canada (Dir./Scr.: Adriana Maggs) – After her mother runs away, a teenage girl, determined to grow up fast, is left to care for her hopelessly rural father. Cast: Shawn Doyle, Tatiana Maslany, Jonny Harris, Mark O’Brien, Andy Jones, Julia Kennedy. U.S. Premiere.
The Man Next Door (El Hombre de al Lado) / Argentina (Dir./Scr.: Mariano Cohn and Gastón Duprat; Scr.: Andres Duprat) – A small incident over two neighbors’ common wall sparks a conflict which affects the intimacy of the view over the chimney; the protagonist sparks a conflict and with paranoiac obsession destroys everyday life. Cast: Rafael Spregelburd, Daniel Aráoz, Eugenia Alonso, Inés Budassi, Lorenza Acuña. International Premiere.
Me Too (Yo, También) / Spain (Directors and screenwriters: Álvaro Pastor and Antonio Naharro) – A 34-year-old college-educated man with Down syndrome and his free-spirited co-worker forge an unconventional relationship. Cast: Pablo Pineda, Lola Dueñas, Antonio Naharro, Isabel Garcia Lorca, Pedro Alvarez Ossorio. International Premiere.
Nuummioq / Greenland (Dir.: Otto Rosing and Torben Bech; Scr.: Torben Bech) – A young man’s journey through the exquisite natural landscape of Greenland allows him to piece together elements of his past and move on with his life. Cast: Lars Rosing, Angunnguaq Larsen, Julie Berthelsen, Morten Rose, Makka Kleist, Mariu Olsen. World Premiere.
Peepli Live / India (Dir./Scr.: Anusha Rizvi) – A satirical look at the predicament of a poor farmer who creates a media frenzy when, beset with debt, he announces that he will commits suicide so his family can receive government compensation. Cast: Omkar Das, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Raghubir Yadav, Shalini Vatsa, Farukh Jaffer. World Premiere.
Son of Babylon / Iraq (Dir.: Mohamed Al Daradji; Scr.: Mohamed Al-Daradji, Jennifer Norridge, Mithal Ghazi) –In the days after the fall of Saddam Hussein, a young Kurdish boy and his grandmother venture through Iraq on a quest to find their missing father/son. Cast: Yasser Talib, Shazda Hussein, Bashir Al-Majid. International Premiere.
Southern District (Zona Sur) / Bolivia (Dir./Scr.: Juan Carlos Valdivia) – In La Paz, Bolivia, in a villa surrounded by beautiful gardens, an upper-class family experiences final halcyon days of luxury as social change penetrates their bubble. Cast: Ninón del Castillo, Pascual Loayza, Nicolás Fernández, Juan Pablo Koria, Mariana Vargas. North American Premiere.
The Temptation of St. Tony / Estonia (Dir./Scr.: Veiko Õunpuu) – A mid-level manager who develops an aversion to being “good” finds himself confronting the mysteries of middle-age and morality as he loses grasp of what was once his quiet life. Cast: Taavi Eelmaa, Rain Tolk, Tiina Tauraite, Katariina Lauk, Raivo E. Tamm. World Premiere.
Vegetarian (Chaesikjueuija) / South Korea (Dir./Scr.: Lim Woo-seong) – A young housewife, finds herself having strange dreams that make her disgusted by meat, leading to trouble with her meat-loving husband and attention from her artist brother in law. Cast: Chea Min-Seo, Kim Hyun-Sung, Kim Yeo-Jin, Kim Young-Jae. International Premiere.
Sundance: Spotlight Narrative
Bran Nue Dae / Australia (Dir.: Rachel Perkins; Scr.: Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins, and Jimmy Chi) – In the summer of 1965, a young man is filled with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome – fishing, hanging out with his mates and his girl. Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo. U.S. Premiere.
Daddy Longlegs / USA (Dir./Scr.: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie) – A swan song to excuses and responsibilities, to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what it’s like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult. Cast: Ronald Bronstein, Sage Ranaldo, Frey Ranaldo. North American Premiere.
Enter the Void / France (Dir./Scr.: Gaspar Noé) – A drug-dealing teen is killed in Japan, after which he reappears as a ghost to watch over his sister. Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Emily Alyn Lind, Jesse Kuhn. U.S. Premiere.
I Am Love (Io sono l’amore) / Italy (Dir./Scr.: Luca Guadagnino) – A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Pippo Delbono, Alba Rohrwacher, Marisa Berenson. U.S. Premiere.
Louis C.K.: Hilarious / USA (Dir.: Louis C.K.) – Sharp-tongued comedian Louis C.K. pulls no punches in this visceral concert experience. World Premiere.
Lourdes / Austria, France, Germany (Dir./Scr.: Jessica Hausner) – A woman in a wheelchair travels to Lourdes in an attempt to escape her isolation. Cast: Sylvie Testud, Léa Seydoux, Bruno Todeschini, Gilette Barbier, Gerhard Liebmann, Irma Wagner. U.S. Premiere.
Mother & Child / USA (Dir./Scr.: Rodrigo García) – The lives of three women – a physical therapist, the daughter she gave up at birth three decades ago, and an African American woman seeking to adopt a child of her own – intersect in surprising ways. Cast: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson. U.S. Premiere.
New African Cinema / A collection of short films from multiple countries.
Pumzi / South Africa (Dir./Scr.: Wanuri Kahiu) – A Sci-Fi film about futuristic Africa, 35 years after World War III, “The Water War.” Cast: Kudzani Moswela. North American Premiere.
Saint Louis Blues (Un Transport en commun) / France, Senegal (Dir./Scr.: Dyana Gaye) – Along the journey from Dakar to Saint Louis, seven passengers of a taxi meet each other and tell their lives through songs. Cast: Umban Gomez de Kset, Bigué Ndoye, Adja Fall, Yakhoub Ba, Abdoulaye Diakhaté. U.S. Premiere.
The Tunnel / South Africa (Dir./Scr.: Jenna Bass) – When her father vanishes in 1980s Zimbabwe, young Elizabeth believes he has dug a tunnel to the city. Only by facing reality will she discover the truth behind his disappearance. Cast: Sibulele Mlumbi, Finch Moyo, Patricia Matongo, Anthony Watterson, Pakamisa Zwedala, Vuyisile Pandle. World Premiere.
A Prophet (Un Prophète) / France (Dir.: Jacques Audiard; Scr.: Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audiard) – An engaging examination of a seedy, gangster-driven underworld set in a French prison. Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb.
Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan) / Germany, Austria, France (Directors and Screenwriters: Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari) – A dissection of Iranian society at the time of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overturned the nationalist government of Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the shah in power. Cast: Pegah Ferydoni, Arita Shahrzad, Shabnam Tolouei, Orsi Tóth. U.S. Premiere.
Sundance 2010 U.S. and World Dramatic, and Spotlight - Narrative movie line-up information via the festival’s website.
Image of James Franco as Allen Ginsberg in Howl via the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Passage from “Howl” via the Poetry Foundation.
“Sundance: James Franco as Gay Poet Allen Ginsberg + Gay Ghost Love Story” last updated in April 2018.
Jan. 30 update: Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone, Sebastian Junger and Tim Hetherington’s Restrepo, David Michod’s Animal Kingdom, and Mads Bruegger’s The Red Chapel were the four top jury prize winners at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.
Starring Jennifer Lawrence, Winter’s Bone chronicles a teenage girl’s difficult passage to full-fledged adulthood in the rural Ozarks, while the documentary Restrepo follows a group of American soldiers in war-torn Afghanistan. In the Australian drama Animal Kingdom, starring Guy Pearce, Ben Mendelsohn, Luke Ford, and Joel Edgerton, a Melbourne crime family reaches a crisis point, while in the documentary The Red Chapel Danish filmmaker Brueggers takes a quirky look inside mysterious North Korea.
Audience awards for American productions went to actor-writer-director Josh Radnor’s New York-set comedy Happythankyoumoreplease and to Davis Guggenheim’s documentary Waiting for Superman, which gives an “F” to the American public schools system. The foreign winners were Peruvian writer-director Javier Fuentes-Leon’s sexually charged ghost story Contracorriente / Undertow and British filmmaker Lucy Walker’s Waste Land, which offers a portrait of Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s photographic project featuring recycled-garbage pickers in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
The best US directors were Eric Mendelsohn for the slice-of-life narrative feature 3 Backyards and Leon Gast for the documentary Smash His Camera, about yesteryear paparazzo Ron Galella. World Cinema best director winners were Bolivian Juan Carlos Valdivia for Southern District, about a privileged family trying to cope with the changing times, and Swiss Christian Frei for Space Tourists, a documentary about wealthy people who pay loads of money to become a sort of space cadets.
The Waldo Salt awards for screenwriting went to Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini for Winter’s Bone and to Juan Carlos Valdivia for Southern District.
Sundance 2010 special jury prizes went to the following: Sympathy for Delicious, directed by Mark Ruffalo and written by Christopher Thornton, who starred as a recently paralyzed DJ hooked on faith healing (Orlando Bloom plays a rocker in this one); Josh Fox’s documentary GasLand, about the effects of natural gas on air and water; and Rob Lemkin and Thet Sambath’s Enemies of the People, a chronicle of Cambodia’s troubled modern history.
Additionally, Tatiana Maslany won a special jury prize for breakout performance for her precocious teenager in Adriana Maggs’ Grown Up Movie Star.
The cinematography awards went to Zak Mulligan for Diane Bell’s Obselidia; Kirsten Johnson and Laura Poitras for Poitras’ documentary The Oath; Mariano Cohn and Gaston Duprat for their Argentinean drama about warring neighbors, The Man Next Door; and Kate McCullough and Michael Lavelle for Ken Wardrop’s Irish documentary His and Hers.
Editing awards went to Penelope Falk for Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg’s US documentary Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work and Joelle Alexis for Yael Hersonski’s German/Israeli documentary A Film Unfinished.
The Best of Next award (for films made for less than $50,000) went to Todd and Brad Barnes’ screwball comedy Homewrecker, the story of a romantic ex-con locksmith written by the brothers Barnes and Sophie Goodhart. The eight filmmakers taking part in this category voted for the winning film.
Other winners were Diane Bell’s Obselidia, which took the Alfred P. Sloan prize for a feature film with a scientific or technology theme; and Jeremy Konner’s Drunk History: Douglass and Lincoln and Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland’s The Six Dollar Fifty Man in the short films categories.
U.S. Documentary Competition Jury: filmmakers Greg Barker, Dayna Goldfine, Morgan Spurlock and Ondi Timoner, and Wired senior editor Nancy Miller
U.S. Dramatic Competition Jury: novelist Russell Banks, producer Jason Kliot, director Karyn Kusama, actress Parker Posey, cinematographer Robert Yeoman
World Cinema Documentary Competition Jury: documentarian Jennifer Baichwal, PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown, Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival director Asako Fujioka
World Cinema Dramatic Competition Jury: writer/director Alison Maclean, Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, producer Sigurjon Sighvatsson
Shorts Competition Jury: filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, Wholphin DVD editor and cofounder Brent Hoff, Killer Films chief Christine Vachon
Photos: Courtesy of the Sundance Film Festival