No sooner does one festival season end that another one begins. Yesterday the films “In Competition” for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival were announced. Before I get into specifics, let’s take a look at – Sundance By the Numbers:
110 feature-length films were selected representing 31 countries and 44 first-time filmmakers (26 that are in competition). These films were selected from 4,042 feature- length film submissions composed of 2,059 U.S. and 1,983 international feature-length films. 88 films at the Festival will be world premieres.
These are impressive figures, indeed.
Films I Will be Looking Out For
Even though I will not be attending this year’s festival, I decided it would be a good idea for me to go ahead and take a look what the folks in Park City, UT will have the pleasure seeing.
After combing through the list, the following films have captured my interest. In my selections, I have tried to pick 2-4 films from each competition category.
(all synopses sourced from Official Sundance Press Release)
U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The First Time (Director and screenwriter: Jonathan Kasdan)
Two high schoolers meet at a party. Over the course of a weekend, things turn magical, romantic, complicated and funny, as they discover what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. Cast: Brittany Robertson, Dylan O’Brien, Craig Roberts, James Frecheville, Victoria Justice.
Hello I Must Be Going (Director: Todd Louiso, Screenwriter: Sarah Koskoff)
Divorced, childless, demoralized and condemned to move back in with her parents at the age of 35, Amy Minsky’s prospects look bleak – until the unexpected attention of a teenage boy changes everything. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White.
Middle Of Nowhere (Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay)
When her husband is incarcerated, an African-American woman struggles to maintain her marriage and her identity. Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissant, Edwina Findley.
U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The Queen of Versailles (Director: Lauren Greenfield)
Jackie and David were triumphantly constructing the biggest house in America – a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot palace inspired by Versailles – when their timeshare empire falters due to the economic crisis. Their rags-to-riches-to-rags story reveals the innate virtues and flaws of the American Dream.
Slavery By Another Name (Director: Sam Pollard)
As slavery came to an end with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, a new system of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force, brutalizing, terrorizing and ultimately circumscribing the lives of hundreds of thousands of African Americans well into the 20th century.
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
About the Pink Sky / Japan (Director and screenwriter: Keiichi Kobayashi)
A high school girl finds a wallet full of money and tracks down its owner, leading to unexpected consequences for the girl and her friends. Cast: Ai Ikeda, Ena Koshino, Reiko Fujiwara, Tsubasa Takayama, Hakusyu Togetsuan. International Premiere
Wish You Were Here
Australia (Director: Kieran Darcy-Smith, Screenwriters: Felicity Price, Kieran Darcy-Smith)
Four friends embark on a carefree holiday, but only three return home. Who knows what happened on that fateful night? Cast: Joel Edgerton, Teresa Palmer, Felicity Price, Antony Starr. World Premiere.
WORLD CINEMA DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION
The Imposter / United Kingdom (Director: Bart Layton)
In 1994 a 13-year-old boy disappears from his home in San Antonio, Texas. Three and a half years later he is found alive thousands of miles away in Spain with a shocking story of kidnap and torture. But all is not what it seems in this tale that is truly stranger than fiction. World Premiere
Payback / Canada (Director: Jennifer Baichwal)
Based on Margaret Atwood’s best-selling book, Payback explores how debt is a central organizing principle in our lives – influencing relationships, societies, governing structures and the very fate of this planet. World Premiere
Putin’s Kiss / Denmark (Director: Lise Birk Pedersen)
19-year-old Marsha is a model spokesperson in a strongly nationalistic Russian youth movement that aims to protect the country from its enemies. When she starts recognizing the organization’s flaws, she must take a stand for or against it. North American Premiere
For more information, go to www.sundance.org/festival.