Salt Lake City, UT and Los Angeles, CA – The Sundance Institute today announced the Opening Night film and complete line-up of feature films screening in the Premieres, American Spectrum, Frontier, Park City at Midnight, Special Screenings, and Sundance Collection categories of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, taking place January 20-30, 2005, in Park City, Utah. This follows yesterday’s announcement of the Independent Feature Film and World Cinema Competitions. The Festival will screen a total of 120 feature films, including 87 world premieres, nine North American premieres, and 19 U.S. premieres. As the premier showcase for American independent film, and an important new platform for international independent film, the Festival screens films that embody risk-taking, diversity, and aesthetic innovation.
“We approach the Festival with a very broad idea of what independent film is, and work to create a platform that presents the full spectrum of independent cinema – from higher profile films that screen in Competition and in Premieres to the more edgy, experimental films in Frontier and in Midnights,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director of the Sundance Film Festival. “This festival always is about filmmakers trying to do new things with the medium and helping to push independent film forward aesthetically and artistically.”
The Film Festival opens on January 20 in Park City with the World Premiere of HAPPY ENDINGS, written and directed by Don Roos and starring Lisa Kudrow, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Tom Arnold. “A discussion of American values is at the forefront of many of the films this year, and the humor and compassion with which they are explored is unexpected and moving,” said Gilmore. “HAPPY ENDINGS is the perfect film to open the Festival this year because it examines the many layers of relationships in American families and shifting values that are at the heart of our country.”
Other Festival highlights include Opening Night in Salt Lake City on January 21, featuring the world premiere of ON A CLEAR DAY, a World Cinema Dramatic Competition film, directed by U.K. director Gaby Dellal and starring Peter Mullan and Brenda Blethyn. Screening mid-Festival as the Centerpiece Premiere is LACKAWANNA BLUES, directed by George C. Wolfe, written by Ruben Santiago-Hudson, and starring an ensemble cast headed by S. Epatha Merkerson, Terrence Howard, Jimmy Smits, and Macy Gray.
In addition to Competitions and Premieres, the Festival presents work in the more adventuresome categories of American Spectrum, Frontier and Park City at Midnight. “In many ways, the films in these sections represent the outer limits of independent filmmaking and the films we’ve chosen definitely illustrate a range of work – from formal experimental work to broader genre pieces,” said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival Director of Programming.
For the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, 2,613 feature films were submitted for consideration, including 1,385 U.S. feature films and 1,228 international feature films. These numbers represent an increase from 2004, when 2,485 feature films were submitted, with 1,285 coming from the United States and 1,200 from abroad. This year’s Festival includes films from 26 countries around the globe, including Angola, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Portugal. Festival films screen in 10 sections: Documentary Competition, Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, and World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Premieres, American Spectrum, Frontier, Park City at Midnight, Special Screenings, and Sundance Collection.
The selection of short films accepted for the 2005 Sundance Film Festival will be announced Monday, December 6.
To showcase the diversity of contemporary cinema, the Sundance Film Festival offers a selection of the latest work from established U.S. and international directors and world premieres of highly anticipated films, often with theatrical distribution in place. This year’s films feature the legacy of the most profitable film of all-time; an unusual look at family relationships; the tale of young journalist during 1950s Apartheid; an inspiring story about overcoming disabilities; a comic drama about the worth of human beings in the future; the drama of a retired drug dealer drawn back in; a tongue-in-cheek musical comedy; and the story of two young men obsessed with alien abductions.
This year’s Premieres are: 3-Iron / South Korea (Director: Kim Ki-duk; Screenwriter: Kim Ki-duk)—A transient young man breaks into empty homes to partake of the vacationing residents' lives for a few days. U.S. Premiere.
The Ballad of Jack and Rose / U.S.A. (Director: Rebecca Miller; Screenwriter: Rebecca Miller)—A father and daughter isolated on their secluded Pacific Northwest island commune grapple with the limits of family and sexuality. World Premiere.
Chumscrubber / U.S.A. (Director: Arie Posin; Screenwriters: Arie Posin and Zach Stanford)—A dark and satirical story about life crumbling in the midst of seemingly idyllic suburbia. World Premiere.
Dear Wendy / Denmark/Germany/France/UK (Director: Thomas Vinterberg; Screenwriter: Lars von Trier)—A young boy in a nameless, timeless American town establishes a gang of youthful misfits united by their love of guns and their code of honor. World Premiere.
Drum / South Africa (Director: Zola Maseko; Screenwriter: Jason Filardi)—A hot-shot journalist is swept up in a movement to challenge Apartheid in 1950s South Africa. U.S. Premiere.
Game 6 / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Hoffman; Screenwriter: Don DeLillo)—Combining real and fictional events and centered around the historic 1986 World Series, this is a day-in-the-life snapshot of a playwright who skips his own opening night to watch the momentous game. World Premiere.
The Girl from Monday / U.S.A. (Director: Hal Hartley; Screenwriter: Hal Hartley)—A comic drama about a time in the near future when citizens are happy to be property traded on the stock exchange. World Premiere.
Happy Endings / U.S.A. (Director: Don Roos; Screenwriter: Don Roos)—A story that weaves multiple stories to create a witty look at love, family, and the sheer unpredictability of life itself. World Premiere. Opening Night, Park City.
Heights / U.S.A. (Director: Chris Terrio; Screenwriters: Amy Fox and Chris Terrio)—In one twenty-four period, five New Yorkers are challenged to choose their own destinies before the sun comes up the next day. World Premiere.
Inside Deep Throat / U.S.A. (Directors: Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato)—More than 30 years after Deep Throat's provocative debut, this documentary examines the social legacy of the most profitable film of all-time. World Premiere.
The Jacket / U.S.A. (Director: John Maybury; Screenwriter: Marc Rocco)—A military veteran travels into the future. Witnessing his own death, he is left with questions that could save his life and the lives of those he loves. World Premiere.
Kung Fu Hustle / Hong Kong/China (Director: Stephen Chow; Screenwriters: Tsang Kan Cheong, Stephen Chow, & Chan Man Keung)—In Canton, China in the 1940s, a wannabe gangster aspires to join the notorious "Axe Gang" while an obnoxious landlady and her apparently frail husband exhibit extraordinary powers in defending their turf. U.S. Premiere.
Lackawanna Blues / U.S.A. (Director: George C. Wolfe; Screenwriter: Ruben Santiago-Hudson)—In a story fueled by rhythm and blues, a young boy's life is shaped by love and the stories of the cast of characters in the boarding house where he lives. World Premiere.
Layer Cake / U.K. (Director: Matthew Vaughn; Screenwriter: J.J. Connolly)—A successful cocaine dealer planning an early retirement is lured back into business by a love interest and an international drug ring. World Premiere.
Loverboy / U.S.A. (Director: Kevin Bacon; Screenwriter: Hannah Shakespeare; Novel by Victoria Redel) —A neglected daughter becomes a possessive mother in an emotional journey into the heart and mind of a woman who loved too much. World Premiere.
Marilyn Hotchkiss Ballroom Dancing & Charm School / U.S.A. (Director: Randall Miller; Screenwriters: Randall Miller & Jody Savin)—A widowed man's life turns upside down when he embarks on a journey to find a dying man's long-lost love. World Premiere.
The Matador / U.S.A. (Director: Richard Shepard; Screenwriter: Richard Shepard)—When a globetrotting hit man and a crestfallen businessman meet in a hotel bar in Mexico City, their encounter draws them together in a way neither expected. World Premiere.
Mirrormask / U.K. (Director: Dave McKean; Screenwriter: Neil Gaiman)—In a fantasyland of opposing kingdoms, a 15-year-old girl must find the fabled “Mirrormask” in order to save her kingdom and return home. World Premiere.
Mysterious Skin / U.S.A. (Director: Gregg Araki; Screenwriter: Gregg Araki)—A teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions cross paths and together discover a horrible, liberating truth. U.S. Premiere.
Nine Lives / U.S.A. (Director: Rodrigo Garcia; Screenwriter: Rodrigo Garcia)—Captives of the very relationships that define and sustain them, nine women resiliently meet the travails and disappointments of life. World Premiere.
Reefer Madness / U.S.A. (Director: Andy Fickman; Screenwriter: Dan Studney & Kevin Murphy)—A tongue-in-cheek musical comedy adaptation of the classic 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film. World Premiere.
RORY O'SHEA WAS HERE/ U.S.A. (Director: Damien O'Donnell; Screenwriter: Jeffrey Caine)—When the kinetic Rory moves into a home for the disabled, he changes the life of a young man with cerebral palsy and encourages him to experience life outside the confines of 'the system.' World Premiere.
SnowLand / Germany (Director: Hans W. Geissendörfer; Screenwriter: Hans W. Geissendörfer)—In the snowy landscape of Finland, a newly-widowed writer discovers the traces of a bygone love story and finds a way back to her own life. World Premiere.
Upside of Anger / U.S.A. (Director: Mike Binder; Screenwriter: Mike Binder)—When her husband unexpectedly disappears, a sharp-witted suburban wife and her daughters juggle their mother’s romantic dilemmas and shifting family dynamics. World Premiere.
The American Spectrum program presents non-competitive dramatic and documentary films from a diverse group of emerging filmmakers. With storylines that range from cross-country road trips to day-in-the-life portrayals, films in this category testify to the abundance of compelling new voices in American independent cinema. Spectrum films are eligible for the Audience Award at the 2005 Sundance Film Festival.
The films screening in American Spectrum are:
212 (Director: Anthony Ng; Screenwriter: Anthony Ng)—Living in matchbox apartments and working mechanical mundane jobs, three sets of urbanites struggle to connect with each other in New York City. World Premiere.
5TH WORLD (Director: Blackhorse Lowe; Screenwriter: Blackhorse Lowe)—Andrei and Aria, two young Navajos, hitchhike through their ancestral lands on a journey home. World Premiere.
DUANE HOPWOOD (Director: Matt Mulhern; Screenwriter: Matt Mulhern)—Set in Atlantic City near the Thanksgiving holiday, a recently divorced casino pit boss feeds his depression with alcoholism. When an Irish bartender, two quirky neighbors, and an aspiring comedian come along, he is given a new promise of family and love. World Premiere.
HIGH SCHOOL RECORD (Director: Ben Wolfinsohn; Screenwriter: Ben Wolfinsohn)—A portrait of four exceptional and at times painfully awkward 17-year-olds as they struggle through their senior year. World Premiere.
LOVE, LUDLOW (Director: Adrienne Weiss; Screenwriter: David Paterson)—Myra is a no-nonsense young temp from Queens who takes no guff at work, but at home she is dominated by her eccentric brother Ludlow. When Myra agrees to date the charming but vulnerable Reggie it seems that things could change. World Premiere.
MITCHELLVILLE (Director: John D. Harkrider; Screenwriter: John D. Harkrider)—The story of the relationship between two very different men: Gabriel, a handsome, ambitious, 34-year-old corporate lawyer, and Ken, a talented, aging, classical musician.
THE MOTEL (Director: Michael Kang; Screenwriter: Michael Kang)—Ernest Chin, a chubby Chinese kid, works at his family’s sleazy motel where he meets Sam Kim, a charismatic but troubled man who teaches him a few life lessons. World Premiere.
THE PUFFY CHAIR (Director: Jay Duplass; Screenwriter: Mark Duplass and Jay Duplass)—Josh Sagers drives cross-country on a mission to deliver his father's birthday gift – a giant purple Lazy Boy. World Premiere.
RIZE (Director: David LaChapelle)—A documentary that chronicles a dance movement rising out of South Los Angeles with roots in clowning and street youth culture. World Premiere.
THE SALON (Director: Mark Brown; Screenwriter: Mark Brown)—A day in the life of a beauty shop, where a woman finds romance as she struggles to save her business from the Department of Water and Power. World Premiere.
SAVING FACE (Director: Alice Wu; Screenwriter: Alice Wu)—A Chinese-American lesbian and her traditionalist mother are reluctant to go public with secret loves that clash against cultural expectations. U.S. Premiere.
STEAL ME (Director: Melissa Painter; Screenwriter: Melissa Painter)—Jake is a 15-year-old kleptomaniac with a mother fixation who finds his way into the small town family of his dreams. World Premiere.
SWIMMERS (Director: Doug Sadler; Screenwriter: Doug Sadler)—After an accident in a small Maryland fishing town, 11-year-old Emma forms an intense friendship with a volatile woman and begins to question the nature of the adults around her. World Premiere.
THE TALENT GIVEN US (Director: Andrew Wagner; Screenwriter: Andrew Wagner)—A retired New York City couple drives across the country to reconnect with their reclusive son in Los Angeles, and their two unmarried, thirty-something daughters tag along.
THIS REVOLUTION (Director: Stephen Marshall; Screenwriter: Stephen Marshall)—In this politically charged homage to Medium Cool (1969), a jaded war photographer is sent on assignment to cover the protests on the streets of the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City. World Premiere.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT:
Park City at Midnight offers after-hours screenings that are likely to amuse, surprise, or shock the bleary-eyed viewer and offer a lively last stop on the nightly film-going circuit.
The films screening in Park City at Midnight are:
9 SONGS / U.S.A (Director: Michael Winterbottom; Screenwriter: Michael Winterbottom)—In between attending rock concerts, two lovers meet for intense sexual encounters. U.S. Premiere.
DIRTY LOVE / U.S.A (Director: John Asher; Screenwriter: Jenny McCarthy) —A jilted photographer sets off on a mission to get back at her philandering model boyfriend and along the way she discovers that not all love is created equal. World Premiere.
HARD CANDY / U.S.A (Director: David Slade; Screenwriter: Brian Nelson)—A provocative drama about the surprising consequences when a 32-year-old man takes home a 14-year-old girl he meets on the Internet. World Premiere.
MATANDO CABOS / Mexico (Director: Alejandro Lozano; Screenwriter: Alejandro Lozano)—A dark, offbeat comedy about a group of Mexico City teens embroiled in a kidnapping involving a retired wrestling legend and a parrot. U.S. Premiere.
OLD BOY / South Korea (Director: Park Chan-Wook; Screenwriter: Park Chan-Wook, Hwang Jo-yun & Lim Jun-hyeong)—After being kidnapped and imprisoned for 15 years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to discover that he must find his captor in five days. U.S. Premiere.
STRANGERS WITH CANDY: THE MOVIE / U.S.A (Director: Paul Dinello; Screenwriter: Amy Sedaris, Paul Dinello & Stephen Colbert)—A prequel to the critically acclaimed television series featuring Jerri Blank, a 46 year-old ex-junkie and ex-con who returns to high school in a bid to start her life anew. World Premiere.
THREE...EXTREMES / Hong Kong / South Korea / Japan (Directors: Fruit Chan, Park Chan-Wook & Takashi Miike; Screenwriters: Lilian Lee, Park Chan-Wook & Haruko Fukushima)—An Asian cross-cultural trilogy of horror films from accomplished independent directors. U.S. Premiere.
WHAT IS IT? / U.S.A. (Director: Crispin Glover; Screenwriter: Crispin Glover)—This bewildering, unnerving, surreal, and darkly comic film from a visionary filmmaker depicts the struggles of a young man who faces villains and demons on multiple planes. World Premiere
The films that comprise the Frontier program hail from locations around the world, and they share a single impulse – to experiment. Utilizing innovative aesthetic approaches, Frontier films challenge, provoke and push at the perimeter of present-day cinema. This year’s Frontier program includes 5 feature-length films and a projection art installation.
The films screening in Frontier are:
FRONTIER 6 / U.S.A (Director: Luke Savisky)—Projection performance artist Luke Savisky, known for conjuring moving images in unusual places (bodies through windows, feet in ceiling corners, and disembodied legs in thin air), unveils his newest creations. World Premiere.
THE JOY OF LIFE / U.S.A. (Director: Jenni Olson; Screenwriter: Jenni Olson)—An unconventional exploration of the history of the Golden Gate Bridge as a “suicide landmark,” and the story of a butch lesbian who traverses San Francisco in search of self-discovery. World Premiere.
ROOM / U.S.A. (Director: Kyle Henry; Screenwriter: Kyle Henry)—Julia Barker is an over-worked, middle-aged Texas woman who is haunted by psychic visions that compel her to travel to New York in search of the chapel-like “Room” she imagines. World Premiere.
SUGAR / U.S.A. (Directors: Reynold Reynolds & Patrick Jolley; Screenwriters: Reynold Reynolds, Patrick Jolley & Samara Golden)—When a young woman rents a shabby one-room apartment, she unwittingly opens the door for visions, nightmares, haunted memories, and revenge. World Premiere.
SYMBIOPSYCHOTAXIPLASM: TAKE 2 ½ / U.S.A. (Director: William Greaves; Screenwriter: William Greaves)—In Central Park, 1968, a director shot scenes of a young couple whose marriage was falling apart. 35 years later, the three are back in Central Park as the director relentlessly pursues the ever-elusive symbiopsychotaxiplasmic moment. World Premiere.
TROPIC OF CANCER / Mexico (Director: Eugenio Polgovsky)—At the height of the Tropic of Cancer in the desert of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, various families survive by hunting animals which they then sell on the freeway. U.S. Premiere.
Every year the programming staff chooses a selection of special films that are shown out of competition, and which significantly expand the range of subjects presented at the Festival. Most of these films are shown only once during the Festival and are chosen for various reasons, including relevance to current events and attending guests.
The Festival is pleased to announce a Special Screenings program of six feature-length dramatic and documentary films from around the world, a unique screening that pairs two world premiere short films by native and indigenous filmmakers, and a program of short animated films. With stories as varied as an engaging documentary about kids attending the real-life School of Rock; a group of heroic penguins; and an in-depth analysis of a 9-11 conspiracy theory, films presented as Special Screenings will challenge and excite Festivalgoers.
This year’s Special Screenings are:
BALLETS RUSSES / U.S.A (Director: Dayna Goldfine & Dan Geller)—An intimate portrait of a group of pioneering artists – now in their 70s, 80s, and 90s – who gave birth to modern ballet. World Premiere.
THE EMPEROR’S JOURNEY / France (Director: Luc Jacquet)—An epic story of penguins traveling hundreds of miles across treacherous Antarctic ice floes in their heroic struggle for survival. World Premiere.
THE GARDEN / U.S.A (Director: Frederick Wiseman)—A documentary film about Madison Square Garden. World Premiere.
THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION / U.S.A (Director: Marc Levin)—Filmmaker Marc Levin sets out to understand and challenge those who believe the Jews were responsible for the 9-11 terrorist attacks. World Premiere.
REEL PARADISE / U.S.A (Director: Steve James)—Indie film “guru” John Pierson takes his family to Fiji for one year to run the world’s most remote movie theater. World Premiere.
ROCK SCHOOL / U.S.A (Director: Don Argott)—At the real-life School of Rock a group of misfit kids get in touch with their inner rock stars.
GREEN BUSH / U.S.A (Director: Warwick Thornton) & A THOUSAND ROADS / U.S.A (Director: Chris Eyre)—Weaving together the complex lives of different characters, these two short films offer stunning visual depictions of how modern radio can build community. In GREEN BUSH, an Australian Aboriginal DJ realizes that his job at the country radio station is about more than just playing music, and in A THOUSAND ROADS a radio DJ’s voice calls out to four indigenous people in the far flung lands of Alaska, Navajo Nation, Manhattan and Peru.
The Sundance Collection at UCLA is a groundbreaking educational archive devoted to the collection and preservation of independent cinema. It is administered in partnership with the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Each year the Festival screens two films from the Sundance Collection and presents discussions with the filmmakers.
This year’s Sundance Collection features:
HARLAN COUNTY, U.S.A. / U.S.A (Director: Barbara Kopple)—This documentary focuses on the 1973 coal miners’ strike against the Brookside Mine of the Eastover Mining Company in Harlan County, Kentucky. (1976)
STRANGER THAN PARADISE / U.S.A (Director: Jim Jarmusch; Screenwriter: Jim Jarmusch)—A self-styled New York hipster is paid a surprise and quite unwelcome visit by his pretty, sixteen-year-old Hungarian cousin. The relationship between the two exiles progresses from initial hostility to indifference to a strange mutual affection. (1984)