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Sundance announces Premieres slate

Published December 5, 2011 2:06 pm
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Here are the 24 titles in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres categories of the 2012 Sundance Film Festival:


Arbitrage • Nicholas Jarecki, brother of Eugene ("Why We Fight") and Andrew ("Capturing the Friedmans"), makes his writing-directing debut with this financial thriller about a hedge-fund magnate (Richard Gere) desperate to sell his empire before it all collapses. Also starring Susan Sarandon, Tim Roth, Laetitia Casta and one of last year's Sundance discoveries, Brit Marling ("Another Earth").

Bachelorette • Four high school friends deal with unresolved issues when the least-popular one gets engaged and asks the others to be her bridesmaids. Written and directed by Lesley Headland. The cast includes Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden, Adam Scott and Kyle Bornheimer. Will Ferrell and Adam McKay are among the producers.

California Solo • Robert Carlyle (TV's "Once Upon a Time") stars as a former British pop-rocker now working on an L.A.-area farm — until a DUI arrest leads him to risk deportation, as he confronts his demons past and present. Marshall Lewy wrote and directed. The cast includes Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A Martinez and Danny Masterson.

Celeste and Jesse Forever • The arc of a relationship between two people (Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg), from meeting in high school, marrying young, getting divorced at 30 and trying to stay friends while pursuing other relationships. Directed by Lee Toland Krieger ("The Vicious Kind"), written by Jones and Will McCormack. The suppoting cast includes Ari Graynor, Chris Messina, Elijah Wood and Emma Roberts.

For a Good Time, Call… • In this comedy, Lauren (Lauren Anne Miller) has lost a boyfriend, Katie (Ari Graynor) has lost a rent-controlled home. They move in together, and when Lauren learns what Katie does for a living, they launch an unusual business venture. Directed by Jamie Travis; written by Katie Anne Naylon and Miller. The supporting cast includes Justin Long, Mark Webber and James Wolk.

Goats • Ellis (Graham Phillips), 15, leaves his Tucson home for the prestigious, and disciplined, Gates Academy — leaving behind his New Age-y mother (Vera Farmiga) and his stepdad, Goat Man (David Duchovny). Directed by Christopher Neil, written by Mark Jude Pointer (who adapted his novel). The cast includes Keri Russell, Justin Kirk ("Weeds"), Minnie Driver and Ty Burrell ("Modern Family").

Lay the Favorite • Director Stephen Frears ("Dangerous Liaisons," "The Queen") reteams with "High Fidelity" co-screenwriter D.V. DeVincentis to adapt Beth Rayman's memoir, about a young woman (Rebecca Hall) in the high-stakes world of sportsbook gambling. The cast includes Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vince Vaughn, Laura Prepon and Joshua Jackson.

Liberal Arts • "How I Met Your Mother" star Josh Radnor, whose directorial debut "happythankyoumoreplease" played Sundance in 2010, returns with this romantic tale he wrote and directed. Radnor plays a 30-something guy who returns to his old college, and falls for a 19-year-old college student (Elizabeth Olsen, who made waves last year at Sundance with "Martha Marcy May Marlene"). Also starring Zac Efron, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney and Elizabeth Reaser.

Price Check • Pete (Eric Mabius) has a happy marriage, a load of debt and a job he hates. Then he's sucked into the crazy life of his new boss (Parker Posey), which brings him money and opportunities — but at what cost? Written and directed by Michael Walker. The cast includes Annie Parisse, Josh Pais, Cheyenne Jackson and Edward Herrmann.

Red Hook Summer • Director Spike Lee comes to Sundance with this story, which he wrote with James McBride, about an Atlanta boy spending his summer in Brooklyn with the grandfather he's never met. The cast includes Clarke Peters, Keke Palmer, Jules Brown, Toni Lysaith, James Ransone and Thomas Jefferson Byrd. (According to the Internet Movie Database, Lee plays a character named Mookie — the same name as his character in his 1989 classic "Do the Right Thing." Coincidence?)

Red Lights • (U.S./Spain) Director-writer Rodrigo Cortés ("Buried") returns with this tale of a psychologist (Sigourney Weaver) and her assistant (Cillian Murphy) studying paranormal activity and investigating a famous psychic (Robert DeNiro). The cast includes Elizabeth Olsen,Toby Jones and Joely Richardson.

Robot and Frank • The grown kids of a curmudgeonly dad (Frank Langella) buy him a robot caretaker (voiced by Liev Schreiber) in this comedy, directed by Jake Schreier and written by Christopher Ford. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, James Marsden and Liv Tyler. (This is the Salt Lake City Gala film.)

Shadow Dancer • (United Kingdom) Documentarian James Marsh ("Man on Wire," "Project Nim") directs this drama, adapted by Tom Bradby from his novel, about a widow-turned-terrorist (Andrea Riseborough) who is arrested and must make hard choices about her loyalties to her family — who include prominent members of the Irish Republican Army. The cast includes Aidan Gillen, Domhnall Gleeson, Gillian Anderson and Clive Owen.

2 Days in New York • (France) Julie Delpy wrote, directed and stars in this sequel to her "2 Days in Paris," as her character, Marion, relocates to the Big Apple, and has a new boyfriend (Chris Rock) — when her offbeat family comes to visit.

The Words • Bradley Cooper ("The Hangover") plays a writer who takes another author's long-lost words as his own — which propels him to stardom, but with dangerous consequences. Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal co-wrote and co-directed. The cast includes Jeremy Irons, Dennis Quaid, Olivia Wilde and Zoe Saldana.

Documentary Premieres

About Face • Photographer-filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders ("The Black List," Sundance 2008), explores beauty and aging with some of the original supermodels. His interview subjects include Isabella Rossellini, Christie Brinkley, Beverly Johnson, Carmen Dell'Orefice, Paulina Porizkova, Jerry Hall and Christy Turlington Burns.

Bones Brigade: An Autobiography • Director Stacy Peralta ("Dogtown and Z-Boys") returns with a look at the Bones Brigade, the '80s skateboarding team (including Tony Hawk) that became influential in sports and culture.

The D Word: Understanding Dyslexia • Director James Redford (son of Sundance founder Robert Redford) follows a dyslexic high-school senior as he struggles to get into a competitive college. Along the way, Redford interviews famous people who have dealt with dyslexia — including billionaire Richard Branson, financier Charles Schwab and California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Ethel • Documentarian Rory Kennedy ("American Hollow," Sundance 1999; "Ghosts of Abu Ghraib," Sundance 2007) delves into a topic only she could tackle: Her mother, Ethel, and her life with and without Robert F. Kennedy. (Rory is the youngest of Robert and Ethel's 11 children, and was born six months after Robert was killed in 1968.)

A Fierce Green Fire • A definitive history of the environmental movement, from the '60s to now, directed by Mark Kitchell ("Berkeley in the Sixties").

Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap • (United Kingdom) Ice-T directs this exploration of the roots and history of rap music. Among his subjects: Chuck D, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, Eminem, MC Lyte, Mos Def and Kanye West.

Untitled Paul Simon Documentary • The singer-songwriter returns to South Africa, to talk about the origins of his landmark "Graceland" album and the political firestorm started when he was accused of breaking the U.N.'s cultural boycott of South Africa. Directed by Joe Berlinger ("Crude").

West of Memphis • A look at the case of the "West Memphis 3," three teens imprisoned for the murder of three 8-year-old boys in an Arkansas town, and how new evidence 19 years later called the guilty verdicts into question. Directed by Amy Berg ("Deliver Us From Evil"). Damien Echols, one of the three incarcerated men, and his wife are producers on the film; so are "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson and his wife and screenwriting partner, Fran Walsh.

Special Event

Hit RECord at the Movies, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt • Gordon-Levitt, an actor know for such films as "Inception" and "50/50," brings his global Hit RECord community to the Eccles Theatre stage for a one-time-only "interactive exploration of making things together" on Thursday, Jan. 26. Gordon-Levitt will showcase works from the collaborative production company Hit RECord (which was featured in the 2010 New Frontier installation program), and invite the audience to engage with the work using their own digital devices. The event will be recorded, and the footage posted online.






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