Animated features stars Hoffman, Collette

The 25th Sundance Film Festival will open January 15 with Adam Elliot’s clay-animated feature “Mary and Max,” voiced by Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette.

Pic follows a 20-year, pen-pal friendship between an 8-year-old girl in Melbourne and an obese, 42-year-old man in New York.

“This portrait of a global friendship between two marvelously dysfunctional people is an exceptionally moving, funny and thought-provoking work,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival. “”Mary and Max” is the first film of its kind to open the Festival.”

Australian animator Adam Elliot screened his short “Harvie Krumpet” at the 2004 Sundance, which went on to win the Oscar. Melanie Combs, Elliot’s long-time producer, will return with him to Park City.

“By Opening Night it will have been five years since Melanie and I began working on the film,” said Elliot. “It has been a whale of a pregnancy and we are so thrilled that the birth will be in Sundance.”

“Mary and Max” was financed by Screen Australia, Adirondack Pictures, and Film Victoria. Icon is selling all rights.

The Sundance Film Festival unspools January 15-25 in Park City, Utah. The entire program will be revealed December 3 and 4.

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