Sundance Institute today announced the addition of 10 films, events and New Frontier installations to the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, January 22 to February 1 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah. The Festival is is the centerpiece of the year-round public programs for the Institute, which also hosts 24 residency labs and grants more than $2.5 million to independent artists each year.
This year 2015 Festival will present 123 feature-length films, representing 29 countries and 45 first-time filmmakers, including 19 in competition. These films were selected from 12,166 submissions, including 4,105 feature-length films and 8,061 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,016 were from the U.S. and 2,089 were international. 106 feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.
A Walk in the Woods / U.S.A. (Director: Ken Kwapis, Screenwriters: Rick Kerb, Bill Holderman) — An aging travel writer sets out to hike the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail with a long-estranged high school buddy. Along the way, the duo face off with each other, nature, and an eccentric assortment of characters. Together, they learn that some roads are better left untraveled. Cast: Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, Emma Thompson, Mary Steenburgen, Nick Offerman, Kristen Schaal. World Premiere. SALT LAKE CITY GALA FILM
True Story / U.S.A. (Director: Rupert Goold, Screenwriters: Rupert Goold, David Kajganich) — When disgraced New York Times reporter Michael Finkel meets accused killer Christian Longo — who has taken on Finkel’s identity — his investigation morphs into an unforgettable game of cat and mouse. Based on actual events, Finkel’s relentless pursuit of Longo’s true story encompasses murder, love, deceit, and redemption. Cast: Jonah Hill, James Franco, Felicity Jones.
This section of the Festival is especially for our youngest independent film fans. Programmed in cooperation with Tumbleweeds, Utah’s premiere film festival for children and youth.
The Games Maker / Argentina, Canada, Italy (Director and screenwriter: Juan Pablo Buscarini) — Ivan Drago’s love of board games catapults him into the fantastical world of game invention and pits him against the inventor Morodian, who wants to destroy the city of Zyl. To save his family, Ivan must come to know what it is to be a true Games Maker. Cast: David Mazouz, Joseph Fiennes, Ed Asner, Megan Charpentier, Tom Cavanagh, Valentina Lodovini. U.S. Premiere
Operation Arctic / Norway (Director and screenwriter: Grethe Bøe-Waal) — This modern-day Robinson Crusoe adventure is set in the Arctic. Through a misunderstanding, 13-year-old Julia and her eight-year-old twin siblings, Ida and Sindre, are left on a deserted island. The children have to find ways to survive, battling fierce winter weather, hungry polar bears, and loneliness. Cast: Kaisa Gurine Antonsen, Ida Leonora Valestrand Eike, Leonard Valestrand Eike, Nicolai Cleve Broch, Kristofer Hivju, Line Verndal. International Premiere
Shaun the Sheep / United Kingdom (Directors and screenwriters: Richard Starzak, Mark Burton) — When Shaun’s mischief inadvertently leads to the Farmer being taken away from the farm, Shaun, Bitzer and the flock have to go into the big city to rescue him, setting the stage for an epic adventure. International Premiere
Pioneers Palace B’92 / Romania (Director and screenwriter: Bobby Paunescu) — In the wild days of post-Ceausescu Bucharest, teenagers open a disco at their high school, terrified of an AIDS scare after their visit to a local brothel. Part of the Festival’s new Art of Film program, Pioneers Palace B’92 was produced by film students and supported by Mandragora Film Academy together with Solar Indie Junction. Cast: Toto Dumitrescu, Mihai Dorobantu, Maria Bata, Dragos Savulescu, Alice Halpert, Alice Peneaca. World Premiere
The following installations will be featured in The VR works of Felix & Paul, a showcase of groundbreaking live-action virtual reality experiences by artists Félix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphaël in the Festival’s New Frontier exhibition.
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Mongolian pastoral herders are one of the world’s last remaining nomadic cultures. For millennia they have lived on the steppes, grazing their livestock on the grasslands. Through a series of virtual reality experiences, the viewer is invited into the reality of a nomadic family of yak herders.
Strangers with Patrick Watson
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël, Chris Lavis, Maciek Szczerbowski
Strangers with Patrick Watson invites the viewer to spend an intimate moment with celebrated Montreal musician Patrick Watson at work in his studio loft on a winter’s day. Cast: Patrick Watson.
WILD – The Experience
Artists: Félix Lajeunesse, Paul Raphaël
Fox Searchlight and the Fox Innovation Lab present this virtual reality experience drawing from the film Wild. Viewers enter a fully immersive media environment to join an intimate moment on the Pacific Crest Trail between a woman, Cheryl Strayed (Reese Witherspoon), and her mother, Bobbi (Laura Dern), a vision from the afterlife.
FROM THE COLLECTION
A selection from The Sundance Collection at UCLA, a film preservation program established in 1997. The Collection is specifically devoted to the preservation of independent documentaries, narratives and short films supported by Sundance Institute and has grown to nearly 2,300 holdings representing 1,800 titles, including recent additions such as El Mariachi, Winter’s Bone, Johnny Suede, Working Girls, Crumb, Groove, Better This World, The Oath and Paris, Texas. Titles are generously donated by individual filmmakers, distributors and studios.
Paris is Burning / U.S.A. (Director: Jennie Livingston) — Paris is Burning visits black and Latino drag balls of the 1980s in New York City, where at raucous celebrations, rival Houses create intense competition and provide deep sustenance. This world within a world is instantly familiar, filled with intense yearnings for “Realness” that reflect America itself. Cast: Dorian Corey, Freddie Pendavis, Pepper Labeija, Junior Labeija, Venus Xtravaganza, Willi Ninja.
The screening will feature a DCP of the new digital restoration of Paris is Burning created from original 16mm elements. This recent effort restores the feature to the original uncropped aspect ratio. The project represents the collaborative efforts of the Sundance Institute, the Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, and UCLA Film & Television Archive, with permission of Miramax.
The Sundance Film Festival®
The Sundance Film Festival has introduced global audiences to some of the most groundbreaking films of the past three decades, including Whiplash, Boyhood, Rich Hill, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Little Miss Sunshine, sex, lies, and videotape, Reservoir Dogs, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, An Inconvenient Truth, Precious and Napoleon Dynamite, and through its New Frontier initiative has showcased groundbreaking media works by artists and creative technologists including Chris Milk, Doug Aitken, Palmer Luckey, Klip Collective and Nonny de la Pena. The Festival is a program of the non-profit Sundance Institute®. 2015 Festival sponsors to date include: Presenting Sponsors – HP, Acura, SundanceTV and Chase Sapphire Preferred®; Leadership Sponsors – Adobe, Airbnb, Grey Goose® Vodka, LensCrafters, Southwest Airlines and YouTube; Sustaining Sponsors – Blundstone Australia Pty Ltd, Canada Goose, Canon U.S.A., Inc., Chobani, LLC, Omnicom, Stella Artois® and VIZIO. Sundance Institute recognizes critical support from the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development, and the State of Utah as Festival Host State. The support of these organizations helps offset the Festival’s costs and sustain the Institute’s year-round programs for independent artists. sundance.org/festival
Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, Sundance Institute is a nonprofit organization that provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, and new media to create and thrive. The Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences to artists in igniting new ideas, discovering original voices, and building a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, The Invisible War, The Square, Dirty Wars, Spring Awakening, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.