Sundance Film Festival 2013 Announce Their Premiere Line Up

My thanks to Sundance and Collider for the list. Here’s the wall of new goodies rolling out at Sundance 2013 where Indy film distributors will vie to buy what the can from what’s not already sold!

PREMIERES
A showcase of world premieres of some of the most highly anticipated dramatic films of the coming year. Presented by Entertainment Weekly.

A.C.O.D. / U.S.A. (Director: Stuart Zicherman, Screenwriters: Ben Karlin, Stuart Zicherman) — Carter is a well-adjusted Adult Child of Divorce. So he thinks.  When he discovers he was part of a divorce study as a child, it wreaks havoc on his family and forces him to face his chaotic past. Cast: Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clark Duke.

Aza’s Thoughts – Strong cast with comic sensibilities but this is a drama, bit down beat a topic, is it strong enough for an Aussie Theatrical? – on that synopsis I’m on the fence.

Before Midnight/ U.S.A. (Director: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke, Richard Linklater— We meet Jesse and Celine nine years on in Greece. Almost two decades have passed since their first meeting on that train bound for Vienna. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story. Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Xenia Kalogeropoulou, Ariane Labed, Athina Rachel Tsangari, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick.

Aza’s Thoughts – It’s the 3rd and final instalment in the series. It’ll sell and get a limited theatrical here. Castle Rock have it Stateside so my guess is Roadshow will have it here – they had Before Sunset so it makes sense.

Big Sur / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michael Polish) — Unable to cope with a suddenly demanding public and battling advanced alcoholism, Jack Kerouac seeks respite in three brief sojourns to a cabin in Big Sur, which reveal his mental and physical deterioration. Cast: Jean-Marc Barr, Kate Bosworth, Josh Lucas, Radha Mitchell, Anthony Edwards, Henry Thomas.

Aza’s Thoughts – Well we saw ON THE ROAD released this year to modest results, If this puppy can get some critical attention there’s a definite chance. With the Aussie angle in Radha Mitchell helping things I’d expect to see this show up in Festival season 2013 in Australia then a limited theatrical after.

Breathe In / U.S.A. (Director: Drake Doremus, Screenwriters: Drake Doremus, Ben York Jones) — When a foreign exchange student arrives in a small upstate New York town, she challenges the dynamics of her host family’s relationships and alters their lives forever. Cast: Guy Pearce, Felicity Jones, Amy Ryan, Mackenzie Davis.

Aza’s Thoughts: Guy Pearce headlining doesn’t guarantee box office here, we still haven’t seen MAXIMUM SECURITY yet, DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE DARK wasn’t a huge success. Guy works best as support (PROMETHEUS, L.A. CONFIDENTIAL, LAWLESS). This ‘challenging the norm’ flick might get a bit of indy cred if it’s hipster enough and the strong femme skew is a bonus for Australia but I wouldn’t be too eager to snap this up.

Don Jon’s Addiction / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joseph Gordon-Levitt) — In Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s charming directorial debut, a selfish modern-day Don Juan attempts to change his ways. Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Scarlett Johansson, Julianne Moore, Tony Danza, Glenne Headly, Rob Brown.

Aza’s Thoughts: JGL is hot property. Plus that cast. Yes Yes Yes. This would already be sold.

The East / U.S.A. (Director: Zal Batmanglij, Screenwriters: Zal Batmanglij, Brit Marling) — An operative for an elite private intelligence firm goes into deep cover to infiltrate a mysterious anarchist collective attacking major corporations.  Bent on apprehending these fugitives, she finds her loyalty tested as her feelings grow for the group’s charismatic leader. Cast: Brit Marling, Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez, Patricia Clarkson.

Aza’s Thoughts: Chick spies falling for hot baddies always makes for good cinema. Ellen Page has a lot of indy creed (JUNO, WHIP IT, INCEPTION), Skarsgard has got TRUE BLOOD fans and Shiloh Fernandez was in RED RIDING HOOD and is in the new EVIL DEAD remake. This aims younger and is full of pretty people. If it delivers the thrills then it’s a yes from me!

The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete / U.S.A. (Director: George Tillman Jr., Screenwriter: Michael Starrbury) — Separated from their mothers and facing a summer in the Brooklyn projects alone, two boys hide from police and forage for food, with only each other to trust.  A story of salvation through friendship and two boys against the world. Cast: Skylan Brooks, Ethan Dizon, Jennifer Hudson, Jordin Sparks, Anthony Mackie, Jeffrey Wright.

Aza’s Thoughts: Is this a new LUV meets PRECIOUS? Sounds inspiring and a strong African American cast will see it get notice in the U.S. but makes it a real struggle here. If it has the 1-2 punch that PRECIOUS did and can get that sort of groundswell then it might trickle here but this is a really small film for Australia and I wouldn’t hedge your bets on it.

jOBS / U.S.A. (Director: Joshua Michael Stern, Screenwriter: Matt Whiteley) — The true story of one of the greatest entrepreneurs in American history, jOBSchronicles the defining 30 years of Steve Jobs’ life. jOBS is a candid, inspiring and personal portrait of the one who saw things differently. Cast: Ashton Kutcher, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Gad, Lukas Haas, J.K. Simmons, Matthew ModineCLOSING NIGHT FILM

Aza’s Thoughts: Already sold here to PINNACLE FILMS, undated June 2013.

The Look of Love / United Kingdom (Director: Michael Winterbottom, Screenwriter: Matt Greenhalgh) — The true story of British adult magazine publisher and entrepreneur Paul Raymond. A modern day King Midas story, Raymond became one of the richest men in Britain at the cost of losing those closest to him. Cast: Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Imogen Poots, Tamsin Egerton.

Aza’s Thoughts: Yes. Steve Coogan has an audience here and my gut tells me that the mighty Madman will probably land this puppy. But its a yes from me.

Lovelace / U.S.A. (Directors: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman, Screenwriter: Andy Bellin) — Deep Throat, the first pornographic feature film to be a mainstream success, was an international sensation in 1972 and made its star, Linda Lovelace, a media darling. Years later the “poster girl for the sexual revolution” revealed a darker side to her story. Cast: Amanda Seyfried, Peter Sarsgaard, Hank Azaria, Adam Brody, James Franco, Sharon Stone.

Aza’s Thoughts: Yep. On a limited scale. You’ll see this at cinemas.

The Necessary Death of Charlie Countryman / U.S.A. (Director: Fredrik Bond, Screenwriter: Matt Drake) — Traveling abroad, Charlie Countryman falls for Gabi, a Romanian beauty whose unreachable heart has its origins in Nigel, her violent, charismatic ex. As the darkness of Gabi’s past increasingly envelops him, Charlie resolves to win her heart, or die trying. Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Evan Rachel Wood, Mads Mikkelsen, Rupert Grint, James Buckley, Til Schweiger.

Aza’s Thoughts: Strong contender for film festival play off around Australia then a limited theatrical maybe after that but not much more.

Prince Avalanche / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: David Gordon Green) — Two highway road workers spend the summer of 1988 away from their city lives. The isolated landscape becomes a place of misadventure as the men find themselves at odds with each other and the women they left behind. Cast: Paul Rudd, Emile Hirsch.

Aza’s Thoughts: It does have major calibre in David Gordon Green, Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch to get it distribution and Rudd will be riding high off the back of THIS IS 40 so it’s a yes from me.

Stoker / U.S.A. (Director: Park Chan-Wook, Screenwriter: Wentworth Miller) — After India’s father dies in an auto accident, her Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her mother, Evelyn. Soon after his arrival, India suspects that this mysterious, charming man has ulterior motives but becomes increasingly infatuated with him. Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Nicole Kidman.

Aza’s Thoughts: Sold. Fox. 28 March 2013

Sweetwater / U.S.A. (Directors: Logan Miller, Noah Miller, Screenwriter: Andrew McKenzie) — In the late 1800s, a fanatical religious leader, a renegade Sheriff, and a former prostitute collide in a blood triangle on the rugged plains of the New Mexico Territory. Cast: Ed Harris, January Jones, Jason Isaacs, Eduardo Noriega, Steven Rude, Amy Madigan.

Aza’s Thoughts: This needs major critical attention to generate enough buzz to get it cut through theatrically here. Top headline casting in Ed Harris will help but topic is very American centric which will make it a tougher sell here.

Top of the Lake / Australia, New Zealand (Directors: Jane Campion, Garth Davis, Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Gerard Lee) — A 12-year-old girl stands chest deep in a frozen lake. She is five months pregnant, and won’t say who the father is. Then she disappears. So begins a haunting mystery that consumes a community. Cast: Elisabeth Moss, Holly Hunter, Peter Mullan, David Wenham. This six-hour film will screen once during the Festival.

Aza’s Thoughts: 6 Hours!! Festivals then split up and yep it’ll get snapped up no doubt.

Two Mothers / Australia, France (Director: Anne Fontaine, Screenwriter: Christopher Hampton) — This gripping tale of love, lust and the power of friendship charts the unconventional and passionate affairs of two lifelong friends who fall in love with each other’s sons. Cast: Naomi Watts, Robin Wright, Xavier Samuel, James Frechevile.

Aza’s Thoughts: Sold. Hopscotch. Undated 2013

Very Good Girls / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Naomi Foner) — In the long, half-naked days of a New York summer, two girls on the brink of becoming women fall for the same guy and find that life isn’t as simple or safe as they had thought. Cast: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Boyd Holbrook, Demi Moore, Richard Dreyfuss, Ellen Barkin.

Aza’s Thoughts: This will only work if there’s one hell of a campaign behind it. We still haven’t seen NOW IS GOOD, the other Dakota Fanning lead drama and Elizabeth Olsen’s SILENT HOUSE went straight to video here. Having said that though the cast is exceptional and should be a buoying factor in releasing it here. 

The Way, Way Back / U.S.A. (Directors and screenwriters: Nat Faxon, Jim Rash) — Duncan, an introverted 14-year-old, comes into his own over the course of a comedic summer when he forms unlikely friendships with the gregarious manager of a rundown water park and the misfits who work there.Cast: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Allison Janney, Sam Rockwell, Maya Rudolph, Liam James.

Aza’s Thoughts: Sold. Hoyts. Undated 2013

DOCUMENTARY PREMIERES
Renowned filmmakers and films about huge subjects comprise this section highlighting our ongoing commitment to documentaries. Each is a world premiere.

ANITA / U.S.A. (Director: Freida Mock) — Anita Hill, an African-American woman, charges Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas with sexual harassment in explosive Senate hearings in 1991 – bringing sexual politics into the national consciousness and fueling 20 years of international debate on the issues.

Aza’s Thoughts: No. Only on TV if at all here.

The Crash Reel / U.S.A. (Director: Lucy Walker) — The jaw-dropping story of one unforgettable athlete, Kevin Pearce; one eye-popping sport, snowboarding; and one explosive issue, traumatic brain injury. An epic rivalry between Kevin and Shaun White culminates in a life-changing crash and a comeback story with a difference. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals Only. Even if it did get Oscars attention I doubt it’d be enough to get bums on seats here. Documentaries are struggling in Australia. Especially theatrically. Having said that, I’d love to see it!

History of the Eagles / U.S.A. (Director: Alison Ellwood) — Using never-before-seen home movies, archival footage and new interviews with all current and former members of the Eagles, this documentary provides an intimate look into the history of the band and the legacy of their music.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals Only. This audience is so limited now a theatrical would be really tough.

Linsanity / U.S.A. (Director: Evan Leong) — Jeremy Lin came from a humble background to make an unbelievable run in the NBA. State high school champion, all-Ivy League at Harvard, undrafted by the NBA and unwanted there: his story started long before he landed on Broadway.

Aza’s Thoughts: No. Festivals and TV maybe.

Pandora’s Promise / U.S.A. (Director: Robert Stone) — A growing number of environmentalists are renouncing decades of antinuclear orthodoxy and have come to believe that the most feared and controversial technology known to mankind is probably our greatest hope.

Running from Crazy / U.S.A. (Director: Barbara Kopple) — Mariel Hemingway, granddaughter of Ernest Hemingway, strives for a greater understanding of her family history of suicide and mental illness. As tragedies are explored and deeply hidden secrets are revealed, Mariel searches for a way to overcome a similar fate.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals – it’s got festivals written all over it!

Sound City / U.S.A. (Director: Dave Grohl) — Through interviews and performances with the legendary musicians and producers who worked at America’s greatest unsung recording studio, Sound City, we explore the human element of music, and the lost art of analog recording in an increasingly digital world.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals – it’s got festivals written all over it!

We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks / U.S.A. (Director: Alex Gibney) — In 2010, WikiLeaks and its sources used the power of the Internet to usher in what was for some a new era of transparency and for others the beginnings of an information war.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals & Possible limited theatrical. If the doco is incendiary enough there could be something in it.

When I Walk / U.S.A., Canada (Director: Jason DaSilva) — At 25, filmmaker and artist Jason DaSilva finds out he has a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This film shares his personal and grueling journey over the next seven years. Along the way, an unlikely miracle changes everything.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals – it’s got festivals written all over it!

Which Way is the Front Line from Here? The Life and Time of Tim Hetherington / U.S.A. (Director: Sebastian Junger) — Shortly after the release of his documentary Restrepo, photographer Tim Hetherington was killed in Libya. Colleague Sebastian Junger traces Hetherington’s work across the world’s battlefields to reveal how he transcended the boundaries of image-making to become a luminary in his profession.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals – it’s got festivals written all over it!

The World According to Dick Cheney / U.S.A. (Directors: R.J. Cutler, Greg Finton) — How did Dick Cheney become the single-most-powerful nonpresidential figure in American history? This multi-layered examination of Cheney’s life, career, key relationships and controversial worldview features exclusive interviews with the former vice president and his closest allies.

Aza’s Thoughts: Festivals – it’s got festivals written all over it!