The Sundance Institute announced its highly anticipated premieres slate for this year’s 2014 Sundance Film Festival today and it features some returning filmmakers, more big stars, a highly anticipated sequel and a Nick Offerman one-man show.
While the entire festival is seen as a major acquisition hub for the movie industry, the premieres slate usually features the biggest names and films that are “expected” and, but are not always, more “commercial.” Previous Premiere category films include “The Kids Are All Right,” “The Runaways,” “Margin Call” and “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Sundance directors returning to Park City this year include Lynn Shelton, Greg Araki, Gareth Evans, William H. Macy, David Wain, David Cross and Michael Winterbottom, among others.
Park City’s famed Main Street may find notable names such as Michael Fassbender, Anna Kendrick, Nick Offerman, Steve Coogan, Keira Knightley, Mark Duplass, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler, Ryan Reynolds, Michael Shannon, Shailene Woodley and Nicholas Hoult trudging through the snow for after parties and interviews.
Taking into account the festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition slate, which was announced last week, the 2014 edition may be the most anticipated in years.
A complete rundown of the PREMIERES category is as follows.
“Calvary” (Ireland, United Kingdom)
Director and screenwriter: John Michael McDonagh
Calvary is a blackly comedic drama about a priest tormented by his community. Father James is a good man intent on making the world a better place. When his life is threatened one day during confession, he finds he has to battle the dark forces closing in around him.
Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, Aidan Gillen, Dylan Moran, Marie-Josée Croz.
“Frank” (Ireland, United Kingdom)
Director: Lenny Abrahamson, Screenwriters: Jon Ronson, Peter Straughan
Frank is an offbeat comedy about a wannabe musician who finds himself out of his depth when he joins an avant garde rock band led by the enigmatic Frank-a musical genius who hides himself inside a large fake head.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Domhnall Gleeson, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Scoot McNairy.
Director and screenwriter: David Cross A small town in upstate New York is populated by people who wallow in unrealistic expectations. There, fame, delusion, earnestness, and recklessness meet, shake hands, and disrupt the lives around them.
Cast: Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, James Adomian, Jake Cherry Derek Waters, Wyatt Cenac.
“I Origin” ( U.S.A.)
Director and screenwriter: Mike Cahill
A molecular biologist and his lab partner uncover startling evidence that could fundamentally change society as we know it and cause them to question their once-certain beliefs in science and spirituality.
Cast: Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun, Archie Panjabi.
“Laggies” (U.S.A.) Director: Lynn Shelton, Screenwriter: Andrea Seigel
Laggies is a coming of age story about a 28-year-old woman stuck in permanent adolescence. Unable to find her career calling, still hanging out with the same friends, and living with her high school boyfriend, Megan must finally navigate her own future when an unexpected marriage proposal sends her into a panic.
Cast: Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell, Chloë Grace Moretz, Ellie Kemper, Jeff Garlin, Mark Webber.
“Little Accidents” (U.S.A.)
Director and screenwriter: Sara Colangelo
In a small American coal town living in the shadow of a recent mining accident, the disappearance of a teenage boy draws three people together-a surviving miner, the lonely wife of a mine executive, and a local boy-in a web of secrets.
Cast: Elizabeth Banks, Boyd Holbrook, Chloë Sevigny, Jacob Lofland, Josh Lucas.
“Love is Strange” (U.S.A.)
Director: Ira Sachs, Screenwriters: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias
After 39 years together, Ben and George finally tie the knot, but George loses his job as a result, and the newlyweds must sell their New York apartment and live apart, relying on friends and family to make ends meet.
Cast: John Lithgow, Alfred Molina, Marisa Tomei, Darren Burrows, Charlie Tahan, Cheyenne Jackson.
“A Most Wanted Man” (Germany, U.S.A.)
Director: Anton Corbijn, Screenwriter: Andrew Bovell
Based on John le Carré”s bestselling book, Anton Corbijn directs this modern-day thriller with Academy Award–winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Robin Wright, and two-time Academy Award nominee Willem Dafoe headlining an ensemble cast.
Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Rachel McAdams, Willem Dafoe, Robin Wright.
“Nick Offerman: American Ham” (U.S.A.)
Director: Jordan Vogt-Roberts, Screenwriter: Nick Offerman
WARNING: MINOR NUDITY AND NOT SUITABLE FOR VEGETARIANS. This live taping of Nick Offerman’s hilarious one-man show at New York’s historic Town Hall theater features a collection of anecdotes, songs, and woodworking/oral sex techniques. The routine includes Offerman’s 10 tips for living a more prosperous life, so hearken well.
Cast: Nick Offerman.
“The One I Love” (U.S.A.)
Director: Charlie McDowell, Screenwriter: Justin Lader
Struggling with a marriage on the brink of falling apart, a couple escapes for the weekend in pursuit of their better selves, only to discover an unusual dilemma waiting for them. Cast: Mark Duplass, Elisabeth Moss, Ted Danson.
“The Raid 2” (Indonesia)
Director and screenwriter: Gareth Evans
Picking up where the first film left off, The Raid 2 follows Rama as he goes undercover and infiltrates the ranks of a ruthless Jakarta crime syndicate in order to protect his family and expose the corruption in his own police force.
Cast: Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Arifin Putra, Oka Antara, Tio Pakusadewo, Alex Abbad.
Director: William H. Macy, Screenwriters: Casey Twenter, Jeff Robison, William H. Macy
When a grieving father in a downward spiral stumbles upon a box of his deceased son’s original music, he forms a rock ‘n’ roll band, which changes his life.
Cast: Billy Crudup, Anton Yelchin, Felicity Huffman, Selena Gomez, Laurence Fishburne, William H. Macy. CLOSING NIGHT FILM
“They Came Together” (U.S.A.)
Director: David Wain, Screenwriters: Michael Showalter, David Wain
This subversion/spoof/deconstruction of the romantic comedy genre has a vaguely, but not overtly, Jewish leading man, a klutzy, but adorable, leading lady, and New York City itself as another character in the story.
Cast: Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, Ed Helms, Cobie Smulders, Max Greenfield, Christopher Meloni.
“The Trip to Italy” (United Kingdom)
Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriters: Rob Brydon, Steve Coogan, Michael Winterbottom
Michael Winterbottom reunites Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for more delectable food, some sharp-elbowed rivalry, and plenty of laughs.
Cast: Steve Coogan, Rob Brydon.
“The Voices” (U.S.A., Germany)
Director: Marjane Satrapi, Screenwriter: Michael Perry
This genre-bending tale centers around Jerry Hickfang, a lovable but disturbed factory worker who yearns for attention from a woman in accounting. When their relationship takes a sudden, murderous turn, Jerry’s evil talking cat and benevolent talking dog lead him down a fantastical path where he ultimately finds salvation.
Cast: Ryan Reynolds, Gemma Arterton, Anna Kendrick, Jacki Weaver.
“White Bird in a Blizzard” (U.S.A.)
Director and screenwriter: Gregg Araki
Based on the acclaimed novel by Laura Kasischke, White Bird in a Blizzard tells the story of Kat Connors, a young woman whose life is turned upside down by the sudden disappearance of her beautiful, enigmatic mother.
Cast: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Gabourey Sidibe, Thomas Jane.
“Young Ones” (U.S.A.)
Director and screenwriter: Jake Paltrow
When a series of events is set into motion, altering his young life forever, Jerome is forced to make choices that no child should ever have to make.
Cast: Michael Shannon, Nicholas Hoult