LOS ANGELES -- Actors Michael Rapaport and Vera Farmiga say they owe their acting careers to the Sundance Film Festival. In January, the nation's most prominent movie gathering could establish them in a new light -- as directors.
Farmiga's "Higher Ground," a drama about a woman's struggles with fundamentalist Christianity, and Rapaport's "Beats, Rhymes and Life," a documentary about the seminal hip-hop group A Tribe Called Quest, were among the select few independently financed movies selected for Sundance's 2011 dramatic and documentary competitions.
While there are a smattering of recognizable actors among the narrative films in the dramatic slate announced Wednesday -- including Demi Moore, Liv Tyler and John C. Reilly -- the lineup tilted heavily toward largely unknown filmmakers working with mostly unrecognizable performers. The documentary slate was equally focused on new directors, with the festival creating a new, non-competitive, documentary premiere section to accommodate and showcase better-known nonfiction storytellers.