Grab your mittens and your parka; the sleepy ski town of Park City, Utah is getting ready to roll out the red carpet. For the next 10 days beginning Jan. 17, Hollywood headliners will leave behind SoCal’s sandy beaches and the cold concrete of New York City to convene in the mountains and focus on their craft at the 35th annual Sundance Film Festival.
The toughest question is how do you weed through all these amazing indie films, network with some of the biggest names in the business and find your VIP pass to each celebrity party? We’re here to help you navigate, and focus on film. Let’s stay true to the vision Sterling Van Wagenen had when he founded the festival in 1978: promoting U.S-made movies, showcasing indie filmmaking’s potential and highlighting Utah as an alternative film location. In other words, we’re getting back to the festival’s roots.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints
Writer and director David Lowery is one of the industry’s technical experts; he won the Grand Jury Award at the 2011 SXSW Film Festival. Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara star in his latest creation, Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, as a 70s outlaw couple whose relationship reminds us of Bonny and Clyde. This heart-provoking tale ponders if true love can form under chaotic conditions and stand the test of time. With a terrific cast and passionate performances, there’s a good chance you’ll see this flick headline the Oscars next year.
Cutie and the Boxer
One of the more promising and intriguing documentaries at this year’s Sundance comes from director Zachary Heinzerling. Cutie and the Boxer tells the story of Japanese artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, who’s marital conflict fuels not only stunning art, but also a marriage that has stood strong for decades. It’s a tale is so entertaining and multi-faceted it has to be true. We predict it’ll appeal to both documentary and film buffs alike.
The Way, Way Back
From the directors of Academy Award-winning The Descendents, Nat Faxon (Ben from Ben and Kate) and Jim Rash (Dean Pelton from Community) are back to lure audiences into theatures to see The Way, Way Back. Be part of this timeless story of a boy who struggles to gain independence from his mother (Toni Collette) and her new boyfriend (Steve Carell) as he works at a water park and establishes his own identity. It’s a hilarious yet poignant coming-of-age story with an all-star cast that’s destined for a theater near you.
Don Jon’s Addiction
Joseph Gordon-Levitt will make his feature directorial debut at this year’s festival and you can bet this film is generating over-the-top buzz — it also helps when you write and star in your own film. JGL tells the story of a man who struggles with choice: To live life to the fullest, this character must conquer his demons and face who he really is. We’re impressed with JGL’s ability to take self-reflection to a new level and making us, well- a little uncomfortable. All good signs this is a movie you’re not going to want to miss.
The Spectacular Now
Another coming of age story, The Spectacular Now portrays growing up in a serious and heart-wrenching way. Although, these two teens don’t have much in common, they share a magical connection that exists when you’re young- one that is fueled by passion and self-discovery. The teen leads, Teller and Woodley, have received praise for their emotional and mature performances, so expect this film to hit home and appeal to a wide range of young adults.