Sundance film festival opens
The film world is descending on Park City, Utah, for what looks set to be a busy Sundance Film Festival. As the Hollywood writers' strike drags on, buyers will be on the lookout for films to fill their commercial roster.
Acquisition executives will be keeping themselves busy with the sheer volume of films. New 3 p.m. slots have been added to the traditional 6 and 9 p.m. Premieres screenings, increasing the overall number of selections in the category from 17 last year to 25.
Three of Friday's films already are attracting strong interest from distributors: "Sunshine Cleaning," a drama from "Little Miss Sunshine" producer Big Beach starring Emily Blunt and Amy Adams; the Ben Kingsley/Mary-Kate Olsen stoner film "The Wackness"; and actor-director Michael Keaton's romantic fable "The Merry Gentleman."
It's just the start of a schedule front-loaded with available titles. The weekend also will see such dramas as Paul Schneider's "Pretty Bird"; the Elle Fanning starrer "Phoebe in Wonderland"; Mark Pellington's "Henry Poole Is Here"; and the coming-of-age tale "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," one of three films from Michael London's Groundswell Prods. (Miramax's "Smart People" and Overture's "The Visitor" are the others).
The Salt Lake Tribune has a rundown of other Sundance selections, including:
"U2 3D" - Take the world's biggest rock band, add digital 3-D photography and throw in surround sound, and you have a concert-film
experience that the Sundance film guide says "will leave you fumbling
around on the ground for your jaw." Unless, of course, you don't like
U2. Co-directors Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington assembled their
footage from multiple concerts on U2's 2006 South American tour, giving
viewers a front-row seat to the Irish rockers' dynamic live shows. Plus
you'll get to wear those cool 3-D specs.
"Patti Smith: Dream of Life" - Shot over 11 years, this
documentary has the potential to be an intimate and fascinating
portrait of the poet, activist and punk-rock pioneer.
"Choke" - This black comedy is adapted from the novel by Chuck
(Fight Club) Palahniuk, who has a sizeable following for his dark,
often twisted books. Its intriguingly bizarre story combines sex
addiction, chronic masturbation and a man (Sam Rockwell) who earns his
living by pretending to choke in fancy restaurants.
For the uninitiated, the LA Times has 23 facts about the 23rd festival.