Arts News

Queer Sundance and Slamdance 2010

2010 Queer Guide to Sundance & Slamdance

Festival Roundup

To help you prepare your choice of films to see at this year’s Sundance and Slamdance film festivals, we have provided a list of gay-themed movies (titles in pink), films featuring out cast members such as David Hyde Pierce and Joel Schumacher, plus a few films that arts editor Tony Hobday found interesting enough to recommend.

SUNDANCE FEATURES

8: The Mormon Proposition

/ USA

SpoTlight Documentary

Mormons in California and Utah, following their prophet’s call to action, wage spiritual warfare, fueled with money and religious fervor, against LGBT citizens and their fight for equality. This exploration of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ involvement in the passage of California’s Proposition 8 reveals a secretive, decades-long campaign against lesbians’ and gays’ right to marriage.

Directors Reed Cowan, a former Mormon missionary, and Steven Greenstreet deftly investigate this ongoing battle through three telling perspectives: personal, political, and ideological. They are careful not to succumb to emotional rant but choose instead well-researched data and a range of interviews with politicians, historians, and those most affected by the outcome. One such couple is composed of Spencer Jones and Tyler Barrick, who is the direct descendant of Mormon polygamist Frederick G. Williams. Cowan and Greenstreet’s film tellingly reminds us that, if any common ground can ever be found, it must be based on truth and transparency.

2:15 PM Sun, Jan 24 Racquet Club
5:30 PM Mon, Jan 25 Library CTR

6:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Tower Theatre 12:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Temple Theatre

9:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Sundance

12th & Delaware

/ USA

World Premiere Documentary

On an unassuming corner in Fort Pierce, Florida, it’s easy to miss the insidious war that’s raging. But on each side of 12th and Delaware, soldiers stand locked in a passionate battle. On one side of the street sits an abortion clinic. On the other, a pro-life outfit often mistaken for the clinic it seeks to shut down.

Using skillful cinema-vérité observation that allows us to draw our own conclusions, Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing, the directors of Jesus Camp, expose the molten core of America’s most intractable conflict. As the pro-life volunteers paint a terrifying portrait of abortion to their clients, across the street, the staff members at the clinic fear for their doctors’ lives and fiercely protect the right of their clients to choose. Shot in the year when abortion provider Dr. George Tiller was murdered in his church, the film makes these fears palpable. Meanwhile, women in need become pawns in a vicious ideological war with no end in sight.

12:00 PM Sun, Jan 24 Temple Theatre 12:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Yarrow Hotel 9:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Broadway VI 9:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Yarrow Hotel 9:30 AM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday II

A Prophet (Un Prophete)

/FRA

SpoTlight film series

At the outset of his six-year prison sentence, Malik El Djebena, a 19-year-old French Arab, appears no match for the brutal system. Unable to sidestep the rival Corsican and Arab factions, he’s swiftly brought into the Corsican fold by its kingpin, Cesar, who compels him to kill an Arab prisoner. But Malik gradually ingratiates himself with Cesar, learning the language and turning informant. When the influential Cesar secures “leave days” for Malik (to do his bidding), he unwittingly sets up his own downfall. Malik’s criminal persona matures, and servitude turns to mastery.

An outstanding crime drama, Jacques Audiard’s Cannes winner transcends genre through its character complexity, thematic depth, and sheer cinematic intensity. Anchored in Tahar Rahim’s arresting performance, A Prophet explores the formation of Malik’s identity. When his options become kill or be killed, coming-of-age refuses neat moral paradigms. Audiard counters the film’s coarse aesthetic and lifeless hues with an unexpected serenity and fabulist impulses (a ghost haunts Malik throughout), creating a rich inner space.

12:00 PM Fri, Jan 22 Sundance Resort 8:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Egyptian

6:00 PM Sun, Jan 24 Rose Wagner 9:00 AM Sat, Jan 30 Egyptian

All My Friends Are Funeral Singers

/ USA

New Frontier Film series

The beautiful Zel is a special woman. Her big house is full of ghosts of all ages from different eras. A psychic advisor, Zel works with her ethereal roommates to help her clients. Although it’s magical, it is also a job as she removes clients’ aches and pains, advises gamblers, and channels cranky spirits to check on their loved ones. Business is good—until the ghosts see “the light” one night. The ghost crew now feel they are trapped and start pressuring Zel for the truth.

Writer/director Tim Rutili is also a member of the band Califone, whose members act in the film and provide the lush original soundtrack. The band brought its music-making talent to the film’s construction, treating the footage and story like an album. Zel’s unique existence is a lesson in hope, habit, and folklore. The atmosphere is utterly enchanting, mixed with an odd realism, filled with as much humor as wonder.

9:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 NEW FRONTIER 9:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Egyptian Theatre 2:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Holiday II 7:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Broadway IV 3:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Yarrow Hotel

All That I Love

/ POL

North american premiere

Poland 1981: Behind the iron curtain, Janek, the teenage son of a navy captain, forms ATIL (All That I Love), a punk-rock band whose songs express a frustration with socialism and a desire for freedom, echoing the sentiments of the rising Solidarity movement. At the same time, Janek finds love with Basia, a young woman whose father is part of the movement and disapproves of Janek’s military family. When growing social turmoil leads to martial law, Janek’s relationships and ATIL’s music cause serious consequences for his family members, lovers, and friends.

Jacek Borcuch refreshes the coming-of-age film and its familiar tropes—teenage rebellion, first love, and sexual exploration—by setting it within a sobering sociohistorical context. His camera captures a conflicting sense of potential change and stifling paranoia, with freedom just out of sight for his protagonists.

All That I Love is a bracing, potent reminder that the personal can’t be easily separated from the political.

9:00 PM Fri, Jan 22 Tower

2:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Egyptian

9:00 AM Tue, Jan 26 Temple

5:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Prospector

Animal Kingdom

/ AUS

World Premiere

Welcome to the jungle known as the Melbourne underworld. Animal Kingdom uses this edgy locale to unspool a gripping tale of survival and revenge.

Pope Cody, an armed robber on the run from a gang of renegade detectives, is in hiding, surrounded by his roughneck friends and family. Soon, Pope’s nephew, Joshua “J” Cody, arrives and moves in with his hitherto-estranged relatives. When tensions between the family and the police reach a bloody peak, “J” finds himself at the center of a cold-blooded revenge plot that turns the family upside down.

Wielding a formidable cinematic lexicon, writer/director David Michôd shows complete command of every frame as he shifts between simmering intensity and gut-wrenching drama. There isn’t a false note in the film as it follows through on the tantalizing promise displayed in his short films and unleashes a fierce new voice in Australian cinema.

9:00 PM Fri, Jan 22 Egyptian Theatre 9:00 PM Sun, Jan 24 Broadway VI 11:30 AM Mon, Jan 25 Yarrow Hotel

2:30 PM Thu, Jan 28 Prospector

Blue Valentine

/ USA

World Premiere

Blue Valentine is an intimate, shattering portrait of a disintegrating marriage.

On the far side of a once-passionate romance, Cindy (Michelle Williams) and Dean (Ryan Gosling) are married with a young daughter. Hoping to save their marriage, they steal away to a theme hotel. We then encounter them years earlier, when they met and fell in love—full of life and hope.

Moving fluidly between these two time periods, Blue Valentine unfolds like a cinematic duet whose refrain asks, where did their love go? Framing the film as a mystery whose answer lies scattered in time (and in character), filmmaker Derek Cianfrance constructs an elegant set of dualities: past and present, youth and adulthood, vitality and entropy. The rigor of his process is visible throughout the film. Eliminating artificial devices, he has only the truth of the characters to work with. Because Gosling and Williams bring amazing intensity and emotional honesty to their roles, the experience of connecting to these two souls becomes truly moving.

3:15 PM Sun, Jan 24 Eccles Theatre 8:30 AM Mon, Jan 25 Racquet Club 9:30 PM Tue, Jan 26 Rose Wagner 8:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Racquet Club 2:15 PM Fri, Jan 29 Racquet Club

Buried

/ USA, Spain

Park city at midnight

Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds) is a U.S. citizen working as a contract driver in Iraq. After a swift and sudden attack on his convoy, he awakens to find himself buried alive inside a coffin with nothing more than a lighter, a cell phone, and little memory of how he ended up there. Faced with limited oxygen and unlimited panic, Paul finds himself in a tension-filled race against time to escape this claustrophobic deathtrap before it’s too late.

If the sheer logistics of this premise are enough to make your head hurt, rest assured that director Rodrigo Cortés tackles these issues with relative ease, aided a great deal by a superbly convincing performance by Reynolds, the lone on-screen actor in the film. The result is a gripping and suspenseful thriller that will leave you gasping for air until the very end.

11:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Library Center 12:00 PM Sun, Jan 24 Broadway VI 11:30 AM Wed, Jan 27 Prospector

11:59 PM Thu, Jan 28 Library Center 11:59 PM Sat, Jan 30 Egyptian

Contracorriente (Undertow)

/ COL, FRA, GER, PER

North american PREMIERE

In a tiny Peruvian seaside village, where traditions run deep, Miguel (Cristian Mercado), a young fisherman, and his beautiful bride, Mariela (Tatiana Astengo), are about to welcome their first child. But Miguel harbors a scandalous secret. He’s in love with Santiago (Manolo Cardona), a painter, who is ostracized by the town because he’s gay. After a tragic accident occurs, Miguel must choose between sentencing Santiago to eternal torment or doing right by him and, in turn, revealing their relationship to Mariela—and the entire village.

Written and directed by Javier Fuentes-León, and featuring a sizzling international cast, Contracorriente (Undertow) is rich in the details of legend, tradition, and locale; and it is in these details that the truth lies. Strikingly photographed to accentuate the majestic Peruvian coastline, this sexy, haunting love story transcends place and time.

3:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 Egyptian

8:30 AM Thu, Jan 28 Egyptian

6:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Yarrow Hotel 1:30 PM Sat, Jan 30 Broadway IV

Frozen

/ USA

park city at midnight

On a chilly winter night, three skiers huddle together on a chairlift, confused as to why their ride to the summit suddenly stops. The sting of the icy wind worsens when the floodlights power down, leaving them stranded in the dark. As they wait for help, the reality of the nightmare hits them. The ski resort has just closed, stranding the group high above the mountain slopes in an oncoming snowstorm. With ominous howls echoing through the surrounding woods, they will need to make some tough decisions to survive.

Writer/director Adam Green skillfully guides this real-world thriller, pushing three college students to confront their natural fears of the dark, cold, heights, and beyond, to see how far a human is willing to go to survive. With bone-chilling performances by Kevin Zegers, Shawn Ashmore, and Emma Bell, Frozen continues horror’s time-honored tradition of scaring audiences away from their favorite recreational activities.

11:59 PM Sun, Jan 24 Egyptian

11:30 AM Tue, Jan 26 Prospector

9:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Tower

11:45 PM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday IV

2:30 PM Sat, Jan 30 Library Center

Get Low

/ USA

SLC GALA FILM

Featuring three of the finest actors working today, Get Low is the kind of film that you rarely see anymore—intelligent storytelling that’s awash in humanity, warmth, insight, and wit.

Felix is a miserable old hermit who has lived in an isolated cabin for the past 38 years. He catches word that an old friend has passed away and hatches a plan to throw himself a “funeral party.” He even wants the townsfolk, who either despise him or fear him, to attend the party and share all the crazy stories they may have heard about creepy old Felix. Is he a fugitive? A murderer? Or something worse?

Director Aaron Schneider places his humorous fable in 1930s Tennessee, and his attention to period detail is extraordinary. Bill Murray and Sissy Spacek are exceptional, but it’s Robert Duvall’s masterful performance as Felix that brings everything together in this heartfelt story about guilt, loss, and forgiveness.

6:30 PM Fri, Jan 22 Rose Wagner

9:30 PM Fri, Jan 22 Rose Wagner

3:15 PM Sat, Jan 23 Eccles Theatre

5:15 PM Wed, Jan 27 Racquet Club

6:30 PM Sat, Jan 30 Peery’s Egyptian

Hesher

/ USA

World Premiere

Hesher is the story of a family struggling to deal with loss and the anarchist who helps them do it—in a very unexpected way.

TJ is 13 years old. Two months ago, his mom was killed in an accident, leaving TJ and his grieving dad to move in with grandma to pick up the pieces. Hesher is a loner. He hates the world—and everyone in it. He has long, greasy hair and homemade tattoos. He likes fire and blowing things up. He lives in his van—until he meets TJ.

Hesher is that rare film that manages to be a completely original vision, a thoroughly entertaining story, and a provocative metaphor. Joseph Gordon-Levitt brings the character of Hesher to life with anger and angst, and Devin Brochu makes quite a splash as the young boy dealing with both the loss of his mother and an unwanted houseguest. Cowriter/director Spencer Susser crafts a multidimensional, darkly humorous film that exhibits an immensely talented storyteller at work.

3:15 PM Fri, Jan 22 Eccles

6:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Peery’s Egyptian

11:15 AM Sun, Jan 24 Racquet Club

6:45 PM Wed, Jan 27 Broadway V

5:15 PM Thu, Jan 28 Racquet Club

3:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Egyptian

Holy Rollers

/ USA

World Premiere

Inspired by actual events, Holy Rollers uses the incredible story of Hasidic Jews smuggling Ecstasy in the late ’90s as a backdrop to examine the difference between faith and “blind” faith.

Sam Gold, an insulated Hasid on the cusp of manhood, is frustrated by the constraints of his beliefs and his father’s poor business decisions. When Sam is presented with an opportunity to make some real money smuggling Ecstasy between Amsterdam and New York, he cautiously accepts it—and quickly finds himself seduced by the allure of the secular world. Caught between life as a smuggler and the path back to God, Sam and his worlds begin to unravel.

In the lead role, Jesse Eisenberg deftly displays the internal moral struggle of a young man torn between polar-opposite cultures and ideologies. Director Kevin Asch fleshes out the disparate outer worlds of Brooklyn’s Hasidic community and the drug scene in Amsterdam, while revealing the complex interior lives of his characters and the taut dynamics among them.

3:30 PM Mon, Jan 25 Eccles

8:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 Racquet Club

9:30 PM Wed, Jan 27 Rose Wagner

9:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Library Center

8:30 AM Fri, Jan 29 Racquet Club

Howl

/ USA

World Premiere

It’s San Francisco in 1957, and an American masterpiece is put on trial. HOWL, the film, recounts this dark moment using three interwoven threads: the tumultuous life events that led a young Allen Ginsberg to find his true voice as an artist, society’s reaction (the obscenity trial), and mind-expanding animation that echoes the startling originality of the poem itself. All three coalesce in a genre-bending hybrid that brilliantly captures a pivotal moment—the birth of a counterculture.

Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman navigate a seamless segue from their documentary roots to masterful storytellers. They expand the notion of how a “true story” can be realized on film by not simply relying on facts but enlisting cinematic vision to capture the Zeitgeist of an era. The amazing cast provides the extra passion and urgency that are sure to introduce HOWL to the best minds of a new generation.

6:00 PM Thu, Jan 21 Eccles

6:30 PM Fri, Jan 22 Sundance Resort

2:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Library

11:15 AM Tue, Jan 26 Racquet Club

6:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Broadway VI

3:15 PM Fri, Jan 29 Eccles

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work

/ USA

World Premiere Documentary

This exposé chronicles the private dramas of irreverent, legendary comedian and pop icon Joan Rivers as she fights tooth and nail to keep her American dream alive. The film offers a rare glimpse of the comedic process and the crazy mixture of self-doubt and anger that often fuels it. A unique look inside America’s obsession with fame and celebrity, Rivers’s story is both an outrageously funny journey and brutally honest look at the ruthless entertainment industry, the trappings of success, and the ultimate vulnerability of the first queen of comedy.

Being able to break through Rivers’s self-made façade is a tribute to filmmakers Ricki Stern and Annie Sundberg. It is obvious the magic of this film is the inherent trust between filmmakers and subject. Shot over the course of a year, the film enlists a resilient cinema vérité style to craft a moving look at this iconic performer, stripping away her comedy masks and laying bare the truth of her life and inspiration.

9:00 PM Mon, Jan 25 Temple Theatre

11:30 AM Tue, Jan 26 Yarrow Hotel

8:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Racquet Club

12:00 P Thu, Jan 28 Sundance Resort

9:00 AM Fri, Jan 29 Temple Theatre

6:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Rose Wagner

Kick in Iran

/ GER

documentary

Sarah Khoshjamal, a 20-year-old Taekwondo superstar, is the first female professional athlete from Iran to qualify for the Olympics. This skillful vérité portrait follows the unassuming Khoshjamal in the nine months leading up to the 2008 Beijing games. Living in an Islamic country, she is required to wear a hijab at all times and, unlike her fellow competitors around the world, cannot train with men; however, the power in her fighting resoundingly breaks down stereotypical barriers.

Khoshjamal’s experience as a world-class athlete may be familiar, but captured here is the importance of the coach-athlete relationship. The bond she shares with her feisty and much-admired female coach is revealed through everyday moments as both struggle through inequality to make their mark—in sport and society. Though it’s still the male athletes who are ultimately celebrated in her country, Khoshjamal’s accomplishments and lasting influence on scores of girls in Iran are undeniable.

12:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 Holiday Village IV

6:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Yarrow Hotel

7:30 PM Thu, Jan 28 Broadway IV

9:00 AM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday Village IV

Nuummioq

/ GRL

World Premiere

The most ambitious film ever to emerge from Greenland, and the first Greenland/Inuit–produced feature, Nuummioq tells the story of a young man’s odyssey from mundane existence into an acute sense of the sacred. Like most regular guys in the tiny capital city, Malik works, cavorts with buddies, and fools around—toggling between Danish and Kalaallisut languages. All at once, when he discovers he’s very ill, mortality intrudes. Keeping the news to himself, Malik accompanies his cousin on a boat trip. What begins as an unremarkable outing becomes a transcendent journey at the edge of the world as he grapples with his elusive past and tunes into the present.

So breathtaking and luminous is Nuummioq’s landscape that you can almost feel the brisk air oxygenating your lungs. The tender play of shadow and light on the characters’ faces seems to suggest that we’re only a flicker in nature’s vast radiance; but during our short time here, there’s family, tradition, and maybe even love.

11:30 AM Sat, Jan 23 Egyptian

9:45 PM Mon, Jan 25 Broadway V

9:00 AM Tue, Jan 26 Holiday IV

5:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Library Center

One Too Many Mornings

/ USA

next (<=>) film series

Fisher has it pretty good living rent free in exchange for taking care of a church and teaching kids to play soccer. But Fisher has a drinking problem. He drinks quite well, actually; it’s just that he acts like a moron when he drinks (and the morning after)— destroying things and relationships every time. Suddenly, Fisher’s old friend, Pete, shows up looking for some dude consolation after his girlfriend cheats on him. Too bad he looks for it in Fisher because not even hot “cougars” and bad advice can make Pete happy. What Pete needs is for Fisher to realize that they aren’t teenagers anymore. And that’s when Pete’s girlfriend shows up with some truth he sorely needs.

In One Too Many Mornings, director Michael Mohan intelligently explores the nuances of friendship and responsibility and keeps it charming. The hilarious film perfectly illustrates the complex problem of wanting to be loved while refusing to make yourself attractive. The acting is great, the characters are real, and the story’s challenge asks you personally—this is your life; what are you gonna do about it?

6:00 PM Fri, Jan 22 Yarrow Hotel

1:30 PM Sun, Jan 24 Broadway IV 12:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 Egyptian

3:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Sundance Resort 4:30 PM Thu, Jan 28 Holiday I

9:00 AM Sat, Jan 30 Yarrow Hotel

Poison

/ USA

from the collection

Todd Haynes’s first feature interweaves three stories, each told in a distinct style. In “Honor,” a brilliant scientist ingests a hormone he has discovered and becomes a monster. Shot in black and white mostly at night, its disorienting angles and disjointed editing combine elements of the horror film with film noir. “Hero,” filmed in bright color, uses newscasts and a docudrama format to explore the case of a seven-year-old boy who shot and killed his father. Its straightforward style contrasts with the mystery at its heart: who was Richie Beacon? Finally, in “Homo,” in much darker color, two prisoners try to find some meaning for their lives and expression for their sexuality in a confined, violent world. The atmosphere is tense and ominous, and the camera propels us into the action. The three stories are linked by their association between love and violence.

Poison won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1991 Sundance Film Festival and announced the arrival of an innovative new director. Thanks to Zeitgeist Films for making the print available for this screening.

8:30 PM Fri, Jan 22 Prospector

9:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Rose Wagner 10:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday III

Space Tourists

/ Switzerland

documentary

Anousheh Ansari has dreamt of going into outer space since she was a child. A number of years and $20 million later, with the help of the Russian space program, her dream is realized—Ansari becomes the first female space tourist. In recent years, a number of private citizens like Ansari have been willing to endure rigorous training in Star City, Kazakhstan, and part with significant funds to spend time aboard the International Space Station.

Director Christian Frei (The Giant Buddhas, Sundance Film Festival 2006) explores the impact of space tourism in the heavens and on Earth by adeptly weaving together multiple strands: Ansari’s joyous experience in orbit; the efforts of local villagers to claim black-market rocket debris; the observations of photographer Jonas Bendiksen; and the training of the next space tourist in line. Space Tourists examines the intersections of human enterprise and commerce in the final frontier.

3:00 PM Fri, Jan 22 Sundance Resort 12:00 PM Sat, Jan 23 Holiday IV 10:30 PM Sat, Jan 23 Broadway IV 5:30 PM Tue, Jan 26 Prospector

2:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday I

Sympathy for Delicious

/ USA

World Premiere

Recently paralyzed DJ “Delicious” Dean battles the mean streets of Los Angeles, struggling to survive in his wheelchair. Yearning to walk again, and fighting to spark the ashes that were once his career, Dean turns to the dubious world of faith healing and gets much more than he bargained for. Lured by easy money and the heat of fame, Dean sells out to an unstable rock band, stomping the dreams of so many who see him as their only hope. World-famous DJ “Delicious” must now tackle his own worst demon—himself—if he is ever to conquer his “handicap” and find true healing.

Written by and starring Christopher Thornton in a gripping performance as the fiercely determined deejay, Sympathy for Delicious is a wildly original story. Mark Ruffalo makes an auspicious directorial debut with a gritty, yet fervent, take on the search for meaning amidst tragedy and the redemptive power that is compassion.

8:00 PM Sat, Jan 23 Racquet Club 7:00 PM Mon, Jan 25 Peery’s Egyptian 3:15 PM Wed, Jan 27 Eccles

8:30 AM Thu, Jan 28 Library Center 8:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Racquet Club 12:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Sundance Resort

The Dry Land

/ USA

world priemere

James (Ryan O’Nan) returns from Iraq to face a new battle—reintegrating into his small-town life in Texas. His wife (America Ferrera), his mother (Melissa Leo), and his friend (Jason Ritter) provide support, but they can’t fully understand the pain and suffering he feels since his tour of duty ended. Lonely, James reconnects with an army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who provides him with compassion and camaraderie during his battle to process his experiences in Iraq. But their reunion also exposes the different ways that war affects people—at least on the surface.

This moving, taut story of redemption and reconstruction extends beyond a post-traumatic-stress-disorder narrative. O’Nan is heartbreaking as he explores the depths of his internal struggle; Ferrera fearlessly tackles her role of a young wife in turmoil. The Dry Land is about one man’s fight within his own terrain—his country, home, and mind—and his journey to rebuild what he’s lost.

12:15 PM Sun, Jan 24 Eccles

2:15 PM Mon, Jan 25 Racquet Club 6:00 PM Tue, Jan 26 Broadway VI 8:30 AM Wed, Jan 27 Racquet Club 6:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Library Center 9:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Sundance Resort

The Kids Are Alright

/ USA

world priemere

A couple, Nic and Jules (Annette Benning and Julianne Moore), live with their teenage children, Joni and Laser (Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson), in a cozy craftsman bungalow in Los Angeles. As Joni prepares for college, her younger brother pesters her for a big favor—help him find their biological father. Against her better judgment, she makes a call to the sperm bank; the bank, in turn, calls Paul (Mark Ruffalo) and asks him if he’s willing to meet his daughter. He agrees, and a complicated new chapter begins for the family.

Director Lisa Cholodenko returns to Sundance (Laurel Canyon played at the 2003 Festival, and High Art won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the 1998 Festival) with this vibrant, astute, and richly drawn portrait of a modern family. Once again, Cholodenko demonstrates her uncanny ability to reach beneath the gloss of Southern California to illuminate the emotional and transformative power of human vulnerability and, in doing so, establishes herself as one of America’s most formidable auteurs.

8:30 PM Mon, Jan 25 Library Center 6:30 PM Thu, Jan 28 Rose Wagner add

9:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Eccles

3:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Prospector

Killer Inside Me

/ USA

World Premiere

Based on the novel by legendary pulp writer Jim Thompson, The Killer Inside Me tells the story of handsome, charming, unassuming small-town deputy sheriff Lou Ford, who has a bunch of problems. Women problems. Law-enforcement problems. And an ever-growing pile of murder victims in his west Texas jurisdiction. All the while Lou manages to remain his stoic self. However, as evidence is discovered over the course of the investigation, suspicion begins to fall on Lou. But in this savage and bleak universe, nothing is ever what it seems.

In this film, Michael Winterbottom continues to show his immense prowess as a director. Pushing noir to its darkest extreme, he has fashioned a star vehicle for Casey Affleck, who delivers a powerful performance that evokes Robert Mitchum. This violent, stylish psychosexual thriller is imbued with all the amoral energy of its genre and is sure to shock some and dazzle all.

9:30 PM Sun, Jan 24 Eccles

9:15 AM Mon, Jan 25 Eccles

9:00 PM Wed, Jan 27 Tower 9:00 PM Sat, Jan 30 Yarrow Hotel

Perfect Host

/ USA

park city at midnight

Warwick Wilson is the consummate host. He carefully prepares for a dinner party, the table impeccably set and the duck perfectly timed for 8:30 p.m. John Taylor is a career criminal. He’s just robbed a bank and needs to get off the streets. He finds himself on Warwick’s doorstep posing as a friend of a friend, new to Los Angeles, who’s been mugged and lost his luggage. As the wine flows and the evening progresses, we become deeply intertwined in the lives of these two men and discover just how deceiving appearances can be.

With outstanding performances by David Hyde Pierce and Clayne Crawford, cowriter/director Nick Tomnay takes us on a suspense-filled ride where nothing is as it seems. The Perfect Host is a slippery psychological thriller that exposes true human nature and reveals just how far we’re willing to go to satisfy our needs.

11:59 PM Sat, Jan 23 Egyptian

9:45 PM Sun, Jan 24 Broadway V 11:30 PM Fri, Jan 29 Library Center 11:30 AM Sat, Jan 30 Library Center

Taqwacores

/ USA

next (<=>) film series

Yusef, a straitlaced Pakistani American college student, moves into a house with an unlikely group of Muslim misfits—skaters, skinheads, queers, and a riot grrrl in a burqa—all of whom embrace Taqwacore, the hardcore Muslim punk-rock scene. They may read the Koran and attend the mosque, but they also welcome an anarchic blend of sex, booze, and partying. As Yusef becomes more involved in Taqwacore, he finds his faith and ideology challenged by both this new subculture and his charismatic new friends, who represent different ideas of the Islamic tradition.

Adapted from the influential novel by Michael Muhammad Knight (cowriter of the film), The Taqwacores marks the energetic directorial debut of Eyad Zahra, who creates a wholly original spin on the identity narrative and invests the filth and fury of Islamic punk with humor and humanity.

5:30 PM Sun, Jan 24 Prospector

6:00 PM Mon, Jan 25 Broadway VI 11:00 PM Thu, Jan 28 Holiday II 12:00 PM Fri, Jan 29 Holiday IV 3:30 PM Sat, Jan 30 Holiday II

Twelve

/ USA

Closing night film

Based on the critically acclaimed novel by Nick McDonell, written when he was only 17 years old, Twelve is a chilling chronicle of privileged urban adolescence on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Set over spring break, the story follows White Mike, a kid with unlimited potential, who has dropped out of his senior year of high school and sells marijuana to his rich, spoiled peers. When his cousin is brutally murdered in an east Harlem project, and his best friend is arrested for the crime, White Mike is hurled on a collision course with his own destiny.

Led by director Joel Schumacher, a talented ensemble cast perfectly captures the obvious pain of children teetering on the brink of adulthood. Schumacher counters their overindulged behavior with operatic staging and a literary voice-over. For every decade, there are moments when youth culture is frozen in “art,” to be reveled in by the generation that lived it and observed by those that didn’t. That is Twelve.

6:15 PM Fri, Jan 29 Eccles

9:15 AM Sat, Jan 30 Eccles

6:30 PM Sun, Jan 31 Rose Wagner

SUNDANCE SHORTS

Birthday

/ POL, SWE

Sara loves her wife Katarina. For her 40th birthday, Sara wants to surprise her wife, not knowing Katarina also holds a surprise for this memorable day.

Fiddlestixx

/ USA

Fiddlestixx is about a monkey. A very special monkey.

Herbert White

/ USA

Based on the poem by the same name, a man struggles with his inner demons while trying to live a normal family life.

Last Address

/ USA

documentary

A composition of exterior images from the last residential addresses of a group of New York City artists who died of AIDS.

 

One Square Mile of Earth

/ USA

Animated Short

Bill, the bunny, is a struggling novelist who has never actually written anything, much to the chagrin of his perfectionist life partner, Gary the frog. Thad the bear is a hopeless romantic who can’t find the right words to express his feelings for the scandalous and alluring Lucy goat. And Leon the hippopotamus—one of the coolest and hippest guys in town—has struck up an unlikely friendship with a down-on-his-luck high-school sociology teacher, Pedro the mouse.

Raw Love

/ ARG

The story of two friends at the end of high school, and a secret love that is threatened by the closing of the school year.

The Armoire

/ CAN

11-year-old Aaron plays a game of hide-and-seek in which his friend Tony is never found. The mystery of their relationship — and of their queer attachment to the armoire in Aaron’s bedroom — can only be revealed, it turns out, through hypnosis.

TUB

/ USA

It’s just your typical story about a guy who can’t commit to his girlfriend … who then jerks off in the shower … and accidentally impregnates his tub.

SLAMDANCE FILMS

The Four-Faced Liar

/ USA

When small town couple, Molly and Greg, meets best friends Trip and Bridget, unexpected sparks fly. As friendship slides into passion, Molly must choose between a guy she took for granted, and the girl she can’t resist. Cast: Emily Peck, Marja-Lewis Ryan, Todd Kubrak.

William Burroughs: A Man Within

/ USA

documentary

A tender portrait of the Beat author and American icon, whose works at once savaged conservative ideals, spawned vibrant countercultural movements and reconfigured 20th century culture. With David Cronenberg, Gus Van Sant, Peter Weller, Iggy Pop, Laurie Anderson.

 

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