The Sundance Institute announced the first wave of selections for the 2015 Sundance Film Festival and the world cinema dramatic competition features a number of familiar faces. Most notably, Michael Fassbender in “Slow West,” Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes and Hugo Weaving in “Strangerland” and Jack Reynor, Toni Collette and Will Poulter in “Glassland.”
Ten of this year's selections are world premieres featuring films from Italy, Turkey, Norway, Brazil and India. Some might question why there are four English language movies among the mix representing Ireland, Australia and New Zealand, but we'll give the programmers the benefit of the doubt for now.
Sundance's world cinema slate has grown in stature although the English language pictures tend to resonate the most. “The Guard,” “Animal Kingdom,” “Four Lions,” “Bronson,” “An Education” and “Once” all screened in this category.
Check out the 2015 slate on the next page.
WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION
Director: Lamberto Sanfelice, Screenwriters: Lamberto Sanfelice, Elisa Amoruso
Jenny, 17, dreams of becoming a synchronized swimmer. Family events turn her life upside down and she is forced move to a remote area to look after her ill father and younger brother. It won't be long before Jenny starts pursuing her dreams again.
Cast: Sara Serraiocco, Ivan Franek, Giorgio Colangeli, Anatol Sassi, Piera Degli Esposti, Andrea Vergoni.
Director and screenwriter: François Delisle
A separated couple meet again after 10 years when the body of their missing son is found. Amid the guilt of losing a loved one, they hesitantly move toward affirmation of life, acceptance of death, and even the possibility of reconciliation.
Cast: Sébastien Ricard, Fanny Mallette, Pierre Curzi, Genevieve Bujold.
Director and screenwriter: Gerard Barrett
In a desperate attempt to reunite his broken family, a young taxi driver becomes entangled in the criminal underworld.
Cast: Jack Reynor, Toni Collette, Will Poulter, Michael Smiley.
Director: Anne Sewitsky, Screenwriters: Ragnhild Tronvoll, Anne Sewitsky
When Charlotte, 27, meets her brother Henrik, 35, for the first time, two people who don't know what a normal family is begin an encounter without boundaries. How does sibling love manifest itself if you have never experienced it before?
Cast: Ine Marie Wilmann, Simon J. Berger, Anneke von der Lippe, Silje Storstein, Oddgeir Thune, Kari Onstad.
Director and screenwriter: Tolga Karaçelik
Sarmasik is sailing to Egypt when the ship's owner goes bankrupt. The crew learns there is a lien on the ship, and key crew members must stay on board. Ivy is the story of these six men trapped on the ship for days.
Cast: Nadir Sar?bacak, Özgür Emre Y?ld?r?m, Hakan Karsak, Kadir Çermik, Osman Alka?, Seyithan Özdemiro?lu.
Director: Ariel Kleiman, Screenwriters: Ariel Kleiman, Sarah Cyngler
Alexander is like any other kid: playful, curious and naive. He is also a trained assassin. Raised in a hidden paradise, Alexander has grown up seeing the world filtered through his father, Gregori. As Alexander begins to think for himself, creeping fears take shape, and Gregori's idyllic world unravels.
Cast: Vincent Cassel, Jeremy Chabriel, Florence Mezzara.
Director and screenwriter: Tali Shalom Ezer
While her mother is away from home, 12-year-old Adar”s role-playing games with her stepfather move into dangerous territory. Seeking an escape, Adar finds Alan, an ethereal boy that accompanies her on a dark journey between reality and fantasy.
Cast: Keren Mor, Shira Haas, Ori Pfeffer, Adar Zohar Hanetz.
“The Second Mother”
Director and screenwriter: Anna Muylaert
Having left her daughter, Jessica, to be raised by relatives in the north of Brazil, Val works as a loving nanny in São Paulo. When Jessica arrives for a visit 13 years later, she confronts her mother's slave-like attitude and everyone in the house is affected by her unexpected behavior.
Cast: Regina Casé, Michel Joelsas, Camila Márdila, Karine Teles, Lourenço Mutarelli.
Director: John Maclean, Screenwriters: John Maclean, Michael Lesslie
Set at the end of the nineteenth century, 16-year-old Jay Cavendish journeys across the American frontier in search of the woman he loves. He is joined by Silas, a mysterious traveller, and hotly pursued by an outlaw along the way.
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Rory McCann, Ben Mendelsohn, Brooke Williams, Caren Pistorius.
Director: Kim Farrant, Screenwriters: Fiona Seres, Michael Kinirons
When Catherine and Matthew Parker's two teenage kids disappear into the remote Australian desert, the couple's relationship is pushed to the brink as they confront the mystery of their children's fate.
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Joseph Fiennes, Hugo Weaving, Lisa Flanagan, Meyne Wyatt, Maddison Brown.
“The Summer of Sangaile”
Lithuania, France, Holland
Director and screenwriter: Alanté Kavaïté
Seventeen-year-old Sangaile is fascinated by stunt planes. She meets a girl her age at the summer aeronautical show, nearby her parents” lakeside villa. Sangaile allows Auste to discover her most intimate secret and in the process finds in her teenage love, the only person that truly encourages her to fly.
Cast: Julija Steponaityt?, Aist? Dirži?t?
Director and screenwriter: Prashant Nair
When a young village boy discovers that his brother, long believed to be in America, has actually gone missing, he begins to invent letters on his behalf to save their mother from heartbreak, all the while searching for him.
Cast: Suraj Sharma, Tony Revolori, Smita Tambe, Adil Hussain, Rajesh Tailang, Prateik Babbar.
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 22 through Feb. 1, 2015. Look for complete coverage from Park City on HitFix.