SALT LAKE CITY -- The 2012 Sundance Film Festival on Monday announced films in the premieres and documentary premieres categories.
Among the selections are "Robot and Frank," about what happens when an old man's grown children install a robot as his caretaker. Actors include Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler. "Robot and Frank" is the film selected to screen at the festival's Salt Lake City opening gala.
"The Words," about an aspiring writer who finds a haunting story in a lost collection and claims the work as his own, stars Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons and Olivia Wilde. "The Words" will be the festival's closing-night film.
"The fact that most of the premieres have been produced completely independently further underscores the resourcefulness and tenacity of filmmakers in this climate," said John Cooper, Sundance Film Festival director. "That drive and entrepreneurial spirit has pushed narrative and documentary filmmakers alike to create rich stories which will entertain and inspire audiences at the festival and in the year to come."
Also selected is "2 Days in New York," starring Chris Rock and Julie Delpy as a former couple struggling with the explosive demands of her family and friends, their differing cultural and racial backgrounds, her upcoming photo exhibit and the needs of their child.
"Arbitrage" is about a hedge-fund magnate in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depth of his fraud is revealed, and an error that forces his hand. Stars are Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon and Tim Roth.
And in "Bachelorette," unresolved issues between four high school friends roar back to life when the least popular of them gets engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in New York City and recruits the others as bridesmaids. Kirsten Dunst and Isla Fisher star.
Documentary premiere "A Fierce Green Fire" offers a history of the environmental movement's evolution from the 1960s to the present.
Documentary "About Face" explores beauty and aging through the story of the original supermodels, including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson and Jerry Hall. The women weigh in on the fashion industry and how they redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress.
In all, the Jan. 19-29 festival will feature 15 premieres, with actors including Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Elijah Wood, Robert De Niro, Cillian Murphy and Sigourney Weaver. Films will screen at the festival's main site in Park City and at satellite sites including Ogden, Salt Lake City and the Sundance Resort.
The eight documentary premieres will address topics such as dyslexia, rap, skateboarding, singer Paul Simon's trip back to South Africa, and a flawed murder conviction that is re-examined 19 years after the fact.
Sundance also announced a special event, Hit RECord at the Movies with Joseph Gordon-Levitt live in collaboration with the global hitRECord community, united through Gordon-Levitt's website, www.hitrecord.org. The event will be recorded, with footage posted on the website for all to enjoy.
Screening tickets are $15 per show. For an appointment to purchase tickets in advance of the festival, register by Dec. 19 at www.sundance.org/festival/tickets.
Here are the Sundance Institute’s descriptions of premiere and documentary premiere film selections for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.
• “2 Days in New York,” France (Director: Julie Delpy, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Alexia Landeau) — Marion has broken up with Jack and now lives in New York with their child. A visit from her family, the different cultural background of her new boyfriend, her sister’s ex-boyfriend, and her upcoming photo exhibition make for an explosive mix. Julie Delpy, Chris Rock.
• “Arbitrage,” U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Nicholas Jarecki) — A hedge-fund magnate is in over his head, desperately trying to complete the sale of his trading empire before the depths of his fraud are revealed. An unexpected, bloody error forces him to turn to the most unlikely corner for help. Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth.
• “Bachelorette,” U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Leslye Headland) — Unresolved issues between four high school friends come roaring back to life when the least popular of them gets engaged to one of the most eligible bachelors in New York City and asks the others to be bridesmaids in her wedding. Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden.
• “California Solo,” U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Marshall Lewy) — A former Britpop rocker has long settled for an unfettered life working on a farm outside of L.A. When he’s caught driving drunk and faces deportation, he must confront past and current demons in his life to stay in the country. Robert Carlyle, Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez, Danny Masterson.
• “Celeste and Jesse Forever,” U.S.A. (Director: Lee Toland Krieger, Screenwriters: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack) — Celeste and Jesse met in high school, married young, and at 30, decide to get divorced but remain best friends while pursuing other relationships. Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood, Emma Roberts.
• “For A Good Time, Call...,” U.S.A. (Director: Jamie Travis, Screenwriters: Katie Anne Naylon & Lauren Anne Miller) — Lauren and Katie move in together after a loss of a relationship and a loss of a rent controlled home, respectively. When Lauren learns what Katie does for a living the two enter into a wildly unconventional business venture. Ari Graynor, Lauren Anne Miller, Justin Long.
• “Goats,” U.S.A. (Director: Christopher Neil, Screenwriter: Mark Jude Poirier) — Ellis leaves his unconventional desert home to attend the disciplined and structured Gates Academy. There, he re-connects with his estranged father and for the first time questions the family dynamics. David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga.
• “Lay the Favorite,” U.S.A. (Director: Stephen Frears, Screenwriter: D.V. Devincintis) — An adventurous young woman gets involved with a group of geeky older men who have found a way to work the sportsbook system in Las Vegas to their advantage. Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones.
• “Liberal Arts,” U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Josh Radnor) — When 30-something Jesse is invited back to his alma mater, he falls for a 19-year-old college student and is faced with the powerful attraction that springs up between them. Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney.
• “Price Check,” U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Walker) — Pete is having trouble resolving a happy marriage and family life with rising debt and a job he hates. When his new boss pulls him into the maelstrom that is her life, money and opportunities come his way, but at what price? Parker Posey, Eric Mabius,.
• “Red Hook Summer,” U.S.A. (Director: Spike Lee, Screenwriters: James McBride, Spike Lee) — A young Atlanta boy spends his summer in Brooklyn with his grandfather, who he’s never seen before. Clark Peters, Jules Brown.
• Red Lights,” U.S.A., Spain (Director and screenwriter: Rodrigo Cortés) — Psychologist Margaret Matheson and her assistant study paranormal activity, which leads them to investigate a world-renowned psychic. Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen, Toby Jones.
• “Robot and Frank,” U.S.A. (Director: Jake Schreier, Screenwriter: Christopher Ford) — A curmudgeonly older dad’s grown kids install a robot as his caretaker. Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler.
• “Shadow Dancer,” United Kingdom (Director: James Marsh, Screenwriter: Tom Brady) — When a widowed mother is arrested in an aborted bomb plot she must make hard choices to protect her son in this heart-wrenching thriller. Andrea Riseborough, Aiden Gillen, with Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.
• “The Words,” U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal) — Aspiring writer Rory Jansen finds another man’s haunting memories in a collection of lost stories and claims them as his own, propelling him to literary stardom. Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde with Zoe Saldana.
• “About Face,” U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders) — An exploration of beauty and aging through the stories of the original supermodels. Participants including Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell’Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington weigh in on the fashion industry and how they reassess and redefine their own sense of beauty as their careers progress.
• “Bones Brigade: An Autobiography,” U.S.A. (Director: Stacy Peralta) — When six teenage boys came together as a skateboarding team in the 1980s, they reinvented not only their chosen sport but themselves too – as they evolved from insecure outsiders to the most influential athletes in the field.
• “The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia,” U.S.A. (Director: James Redford) — While following a Dyslexic high school senior struggling to achieve his dream of getting into a competitive college, The D Word exposes myths about Dyslexia and reveals cutting edge research to elucidate this widely misunderstood condition.
• “Ethel,” U.S.A. (Director: Rory Kennedy) — This intimate, surprising portrait of Ethel Kennedy provides an insider’s view of a political dynasty, including Ethel’s life with Robert F. Kennedy and the years following his death when she raised their eleven children on her own.
• “A Fierce Green Fire,” U.S.A. (Director: Mark Kitchell) — A definitive history of one of the most important movements of the 20th century, A Fierce Green Fire chronicles the environmental movement’s fascinating evolution from the 1960s to the present.
• “Something from Nothing: The Art of Rap,” United Kingdom (Director: Ice-T, Co-Director: Andy Baybutt) — Through conversations with Rap’s most influential artists – among them Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, MC Lyte, Mos Def, and Kanye West – Ice-T explores the roots and history of Rap and reveals the creative process behind this now dominant art form.
• Untitled Paul Simon Project, U.S.A. (Director: Joe Berlinger) — Paul Simon returns to South Africa to explore the incredible journey of his historic Graceland album, including the political backlash he sparked for allegedly breaking the UN cultural boycott of South Africa, designed to end Apartheid.
• “West of Memphis,” U.S.A. (Director: Amy Berg) — Three teenage boys are incarcerated for the murders of three 8-year-old boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. Nineteen years later, new evidence calls into question the convictions and raises issues of judicial, prosecutorial and jury misconduct – showing that the first casualty of a corrupt justice system is the truth.