Sundance Institute Announces Films in U.S. and World Competitions, NEXT <=> for 2014 Festival

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Sundance Institute announced today the films selected for the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions and the out-of-competition NEXT <=> section of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, January 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

Robert Redford, President & Founder of Sundance Institute said, "That the Festival has evolved and grown as it has over the past 30 years is a credit to both our audiences and our artists, who continue to find ways to take risks and open our minds to the power of story. This year's films and artists promise to do the same."

Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute, said, "We are energized by the rich diversity of voices, characters and places represented in the films selected for our 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Independent filmmakers continue to engage us with stories from worlds both intimately familiar and unknown."

John Cooper, Director of the Sundance Film Festival, said, "The films selected for our 2014 Festival show that filmmakers are empowered and emboldened by the 30-year legacy of the independent film movement. The confidence to play with the medium and to surprise audiences indicates the vital role independent film has come to serve in the cultural landscape."

For the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, 118 feature-length films were selected, representing 37 countries and 54 first-time filmmakers, including 34 in competition. These films were selected from 12,218 submissions (72 more than for 2013), including 4,057 feature-length films and 8,161 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,014 were from the U.S. and 2,043 were international. 97 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

In addition to those announced today, the Festival presents feature-length films in the Spotlight, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier, Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections. Those announcements, as well as selections for the Short Film section and new Sundance Kids section of films for younger audiences, are forthcoming. On Day One, January 16, 2014, the Festival will screen one film from each of the four Competition sections, as well as one shorts program.

A selection of films from the 2014 Festival will be among those presented at other Sundance Institute programs throughout the year, including the Sundance London film and music festival, April 25-27 at The O2, and the NEXT WEEKEND summer film festival in Los Angeles.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION Presenting the world premieres of 16 narrative feature films, the Dramatic Competition offers Festivalgoers a first look at groundbreaking new voices in American independent film.

Camp X-Ray / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Peter Sattler) - A young woman is stationed as a guard in Guantanamo Bay, where she forms an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Payman Maadi, Lane Garrison, J.J. Soria, John Carroll Lynch.

Cold in July / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Mickle, Screenwriters: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici) - After killing a home intruder, a small town Texas man's life unravels into a dark underworld of corruption and violence. Cast: Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell.

Dear White People / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Justin Simien) - Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an "African American" themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in postracial America while weaving a story about forging one's unique path in the world. Cast: Tyler Williams, Tessa Thompson, Teyonah Parris, Brandon Bell.

Fishing Without Nets / U.S.A., Somalia, Kenya (Director: Cutter Hodierne, Screenwriters: Cutter Hodierne, John Hibey, David Burkman) - A story of pirates in Somalia told from the perspective of a struggling, young Somali fisherman. Cast: Abdikani Muktar, Abdi Siad, Abduwhali Faarah, Abdikhadir Hassan, Reda Kateb, Idil Ibrahim.

God's Pocket / U.S.A. (Director: John Slattery, Screenwriters: John Slattery, Alex Metcalf) - When Mickey's stepson Leon is killed in a construction "accident," Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when the boy's mother demands the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck between a body he can't bury, a wife he can't please, and a debt he can't pay. Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Richard Jenkins, Christina Hendricks, John Turturro.

Happy Christmas / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Joe Swanberg) - After a breakup with her boyfriend, a young woman moves in with her older brother, his wife, and their 2-year-old son. Cast: Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, Mark Webber, Lena Dunham, Joe Swanberg.

Hellion / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kat Candler) - When motocross and heavy metal obsessed, 13-year-old Jacob's delinquent behavior forces CPS to place his little brother Wes with his aunt, Jacob and his emotionally absent father must finally take responsibility for their actions and each other in order to bring Wes home. Cast: Aaron Paul, Juliette Lewis, Josh Wiggins, Deke Garner, Jonny Mars, Walt Roberts.

Infinitely Polar Bear / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Maya Forbes) - A manic-depressive mess of a father tries to win back his wife by attempting to take full responsibility of their two young, spirited daughters, who don't make the overwhelming task any easier. Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Zoe Saldana, Imogene Wolodarsky, Ashley Aufderheide.

Jamie Marks is Dead / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Carter Smith) - No one seemed to care about Jamie Marks until after his death. Hoping to find the love and friendship he never had in life, Jamie's ghost visits former classmate Adam McCormick, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead. Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty, Liv Tyler.

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter / U.S.A. (Director: David Zellner, Screenwriters: David Zellner, Nathan Zellner) - A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune. Cast: Rinko Kikuchi.

Life After Beth / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) - Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. When she mysteriously returns, he gets a second chance at love. Soon his whole world turns upside down... Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser.

Low Down / U.S.A. (Director: Jeff Preiss, Screenwriters: Amy Albany, Topper Lilien) - Based on Amy Jo Albany's memoir, Low Down explores her heart-wrenching journey to adulthood while being raised by her father, bebop pianist Joe Albany, as he teeters between incarceration and addiction in the urban decay and waning bohemia of Hollywood in the 1970s. Cast: John Hawkes, Elle Fanning, Glenn Close, Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Flea.

The Skeleton Twins / U.S.A. (Director: Craig Johnson, Screenwriters: Craig Johnson, Mark Heyman) - Estranged twins Maggie and Milo coincidentally cheat death on the same day, prompting them to reunite and confront the reasons their lives went so wrong. As the twins' reunion reinvigorates them, they realize the key to fixing their lives may just lie in repairing their relationship. Cast: Bill Hader, Kristen Wiig, Luke Wilson, Ty Burrell, Boyd Holbrook, Joanna Gleason.
The Sleepwalker / U.S.A., Norway (Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Mona Fastvold, Brady Corbet) - A young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia´s secluded family estate. Their lives are violently interrupted when unexpected guests arrive. The Sleepwalker chronicles the unraveling of the lives of four disparate characters as it transcends genre conventions and narrative contrivance to reveal something much more disturbing. Cast: Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Stephanie Ellis.

Song One / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kate Barker-Froyland) - Estranged from her family, Franny returns home when an accident leaves her brother comatose. Retracing his life as an aspiring musician, she tracks down his favorite musician, James Forester. Against the backdrop of Brooklyn's music scene, Franny and James develop an unexpected relationship and face the realities of their lives. Cast: Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen, Ben Rosenfield.

Whiplash / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Damien Chazelle) - Under the direction of a ruthless instructor, a talented young drummer begins to pursue perfection at any cost, even his humanity. Cast: Miles Teller, JK Simmons. DAY ONE FILM

U.S. DOCUMENTARY COMPETITION Sixteen world-premiere American documentaries that illuminate the ideas, people, and events that shape the present day.

Alive Inside: A Story of Music & Memory / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Rossato-Bennett) - Five million Americans suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia-many of them alone in nursing homes. A man with a simple idea discovers that songs embedded deep in memory can ease pain and awaken these fading minds. Joy and life are resuscitated, and our cultural fears over aging are confronted.

All the Beautiful Things / U.S.A. (Director: John Harkrider) - John and Barron are lifelong friends whose friendship is tested when Barron's girlfriend says Barron put a knife to her throat and raped her. Not knowing she has lied, John tells her to go to the police. Years later, John and Barron meet in a bar to resolve the betrayal.

CAPTIVATED The Trials of Pamela Smart / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Jeremiah Zagar) - In an extraordinary and tragic American story, a small town murder becomes one of the highest profile cases of all time. From its historic role as the first televised trial to the many books and movies made about it, the film looks at the media's enduring impact on the case.

The Case Against 8 / U.S.A. (Directors: Ben Cotner, Ryan White) - A behind-the-scenes look inside the case to overturn California's ban on same-sex marriage. Shot over five years, the film follows the unlikely team that took the first federal marriage equality lawsuit to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Cesar's Last Fast / U.S.A. (Directors: Richard Ray Perez, Lorena Parlee) - Inspired by Catholic social teaching, Cesar Chavez risked his life fighting for America's poorest workers. The film illuminates the intensity of one man's devotion and personal sacrifice, the birth of an economic justice movement, and tells an untold chapter in the story of civil rights in America.

Dinosaur 13 / U.S.A. (Director: Todd Miller) - The true tale behind one of the greatest discoveries in history. DAY ONE FILM

E-TEAM / U.S.A. (Directors: Katy Chevigny, Ross Kauffman) - E-TEAM is driven by the high-stakes investigative work of four intrepid human rights workers, offering a rare look at their lives at home and their dramatic work in the field.

Fed Up / U.S.A. (Director: Stephanie Soechtig) - Fed Up blows the lid off everything we thought we knew about food and weight loss, revealing a 30-year campaign by the food industry, aided by the U.S. government, to mislead and confuse the American public, resulting in one of the largest health epidemics in history.

The Internet's Own Boy: The Story of Aaron Swartz / U.S.A. (Director: Brian Knappenberger) - Programming prodigy and information activist Aaron Swartz achieved groundbreaking work in social justice and political organizing. His Passion for open access ensnared him in a legal nightmare that ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.

Ivory Tower / U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Rossi) - As tuition spirals upward and student debt passes a trillion dollars, students and parents ask, "Is college worth it?" From the halls of Harvard to public and private colleges in financial crisis to education startups in Silicon Valley, an urgent portrait emerges of a great American institution at the breaking point.

Marmato / U.S.A. (Director: Mark Grieco) - Colombia is the center of a new global gold rush, and Marmato, a historic mining town, is the new frontier. Filmed over the course of nearly six years, Marmato chronicles how townspeople confront a Canadian mining company that wants the $20 billion in gold beneath their homes.

No No: A Dockumentary / U.S.A. (Director: Jeffrey Radice) - Dock Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD, then worked for decades counseling drug abusers. Dock's soulful style defined 1970s baseball as he kept hitters honest and embarrassed the establishment. An ensemble cast of teammates, friends, and family investigate his life on the field, in the media, and out of the spotlight.

The Overnighters / U.S.A. (Director: Jesse Moss) - Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor's decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.

Private Violence / U.S.A. (Director: Cynthia Hill) - One in four women experience violence in their homes. Have you ever asked, "Why doesn't she just leave?" Private Violence shatters the brutality of our logic and intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters, who transforms from victim to survivor, and Kit Gruelle, who advocates for justice.

Rich Hill / U.S.A. (Directors: Andrew Droz Palermo, Tracy Droz Tragos) - In a rural, American town, kids face heartbreaking choices, find comfort in the most fragile of family bonds, and dream of a future of possibility.

Watchers of the Sky / U.S.A. (Director: Edet Belzberg) - Five interwoven stories of remarkable courage from Nuremberg to Rwanda, from Darfur to Syria, and from apathy to action.

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION Twelve films from emerging filmmaking talents around the world offer fresh perspectives and inventive styles.

52 Tuesdays / Australia (Director: Sophie Hyde, Screenplay and story by: Matthew Cormack, Story by: Sophie Hyde) - Sixteen-year-old Billie's reluctant path to independence is accelerated when her mother reveals plans for gender transition, and their time together becomes limited to Tuesdays. This emotionally charged story of desire, responsibility, and transformation was filmed over the course of a year-once a week, every week, only on Tuesdays. Cast: Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Del Herbert-Jane, Imogen Archer, Mario Späte, Beau Williams, Sam Althuizen. International Premiere




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