Sundance: Joan Rivers & Lesbian Family Drama + Benazir Bhutto & 'The Mormon Proposition' Among Entries

Sundance Movies: The Romantics Anna Paquin Josh Duhamel. College buddies celebrate weddingSundance movies: Anna Paquin and Josh Duhamel in The Romantics. As usual, the upcoming Sundance Film Festival will screen numerous world premieres; one of them is writer-director Galt Niederhoffer's The Romantics, an ensemble piece featuring Best Supporting Actress Oscar winner Anna Paquin, Josh Duhamel, Katie Holmes, Adam Brody, and Elijah Wood.

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.).

2010 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 A Piece of Work: Hilarious vs obnoxious comedian public persona vs private lifeJoan Rivers: A Piece of Work. One of the documentaries to be screened at the Sundance Film Festival, Annie Sundberg's Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work portrays the discrepancies and similarities between the public persona and the private life of hilarious/obnoxious (depending on one's take) comedian/talk show hostess Joan Rivers.

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 2010: 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 2010: 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 2010: 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 2010: 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 2010: 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.


Sundance 2010 movies' info/extracts via the Sundance Film Festival's website.

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.

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