Acknowledging the rising profile of Sundance’s edgy Next sidebar, with “Bellflower,” “The Lie” and “Sound of My Voice” among the offbeat titles that found buyers this year, fest topper John Cooper and director of programming Trevor Groth have added one more slot to the section for the upcoming January event in Park City, Utah.
Also unveiled Thursday were feature lineups for the festival’s Park City at Midnight showcase, the Spotlight best-of-fests slate and the experimental New Frontier section.
Inaugurated in 2010 to call attention to innovative no-budget work, Next will unspool a total of nine world premieres.
That leaves one less title in the fest’s Park City at Midnight showcase, which consists of seven horror-thrillers and dark comedies. These include “Black Rock,” from Sundance alum Katie Aselton (“The Freebie”); “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie,” directed, written by and starring the out-there comedic duo of Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim along with Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly and Zach Galifianakis; and “V/H/S,” an unusual collaboration among six directors including Joe Swanberg, Ti West and Adam Wingard.
Spotlight, dedicated to “cinema we love” from around the world, includes foreign-language Oscar submissions “Declaration of War” and “Monsieur Lazhar,” Toronto audience-award winner “Where Do We Go Now?” and Cannes’ Un Certain Regard prizewinner “Elena.”
New Frontier section will present five features complementing previously announced installations and performances.
Premieres and Documentary Premieres titles for the Jan. 19-29 fest in Park City, Utah will be announced Monday.
The nine films in this section have all premiered at previous festivals.
“Corpo Celeste” (Italy) – Directed and written by Alice Rohrwacher. A Dardennes-esque study of a teenage girl’s spiritual journey within and beyond the barriers of a strict Catholic community in southern Italy. Stars Yle Vianello, Salvatore Cantalupo, Anita Caprioli and Renato Carpentiere.
“Declaration of War” (Belgium) – Directed by Valerie Donzelli, written by Jeremie Elkaim and Donzelli. A young couple discover their newborn child is very ill. With Donzelli, Elkaim, Cesar Desseix.
“Elena” (Russia) – Directed by Andrei Zvyagintsev, written by Oleg Negin. An older woman faces a moral dilemma when her wealthy husband falls ill. Features Andrey Smirnov, Nadezhda Markina, Elena Lyadova and Alexey Rozin.
“Monsieur Lazhar” (Canada) – Directed, written by Philippe Falardeau. In which an Algerian immigrant teacher takes over a Montreal middle-school class shaken by his predecessor’s suicide. With Fellag, Sophie Nelisse, Emilien Neron, Danielle Proulx and Brigitte Poupart.
“The Orator” (New Zealand) – Directed, written by Tusi Tamasese. A Samoan villager must defend his land and family from powerful adversaries. Stars Fa’afiaula Sagote, Tausili Pushparaj, Salamasina Mataia, Ioata Tanielu.
“The Raid” (Indonesia) – Directed, written by Gareth Evans. An elite SWAT team seeking Jakarta’s most notorious crime boss must fight its way through successive levels of a run-down apartment building. Features Iko Uwais, Yayan Ruhian, Joe Taslim, Doni Alamsyah.
“Where Do We Go Now?” (France-Lebanon-Italy-Egypt) – Directed by Nadine Labaki, written by Labaki, Jihad Hojeily and Rodney Al Haddad, with the collaboration of Thomas Bidegain. Lebanese women try to ease religious tensions between Christians and Muslims in their village. With Claude Baz Moussawbaa, Layla Hakim, Nadine Labaki, Yvonne Maalouf, Antoinette Noufaily.
“Wuthering Heights” (U.K.) – Directed by Andrea Arnold, written by Arnold and Olivia Hetreed. A raw, revisionist update of Emily Bronte’s wind-swept classic. Stars Kaya Scodelario, James Howson, Solomon Glave, Shannon Beer and Steve Evets.
“Your Sister’s Sister” – Directed and written by Lynn Shelton. Mourning his brother’s recent death, a man gets more than he bargained for when he retreats to a friend’s family cabin. Stars Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt and Mark Duplass.
PARK CITY AT MIDNIGHT
The seven films in this section are all world premieres and, unless otherwise specified, from the U.S.
“Black Rock” – Directed by Katie Aselton, written by Mark Duplass. Three childhood friends reunite for a girls’ weekend on a remote island off the coast of Maine, only to find themselves fighting for survival. With Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth.
“Excision” – Directed and written by Richard Bates Jr. A disturbed high-school student with medical aspirations seeks the approval of her controlling mother. Features AnnaLynne McCord, Traci Lords, Ariel Winter, Roger Bart and John Waters.
“Grabbers” (Ireland-U.K.) – Directed by Jon Wright, written by Kevin Lehane. Having a high blood-alcohol content becomes a survival tactic for residents of an Irish fishing village beset by mysterious blood-suckers. Stars Richard Coyle, Ruth Bradley, Russell Tovey and Bronagh Gallagher.
“The Pact” – Directed and written by Nicholas McCarthy. A woman struggles to come to grips with her past in the wake of her mother’s death. Stars Caity Lotz and Casper Van Dien.
“Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie” – Directed and written by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, who star as two guys trying to win back a billion dollars by rehabilitating a rundown shopping mall.
“V/H/S” – Directed by Adam Wingard, David Bruckner, Ti West, Glenn McQuaid, Joe Swanberg and Radio Silence, written by Simon Barrett, Bruckner, West, McQuaid and Radio Silence. A group of misfits is hired by an unknown third party to burglarize a house and find a rare VHS tape. With Swanberg, Calvin Reeder, Wingard, Sophia Takal, Kate Lyn Sheil.
“Shut Up and Play the Hits” (U.K.) – Directed by Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace. A documentary that unfolds over 48 crucial hours in the life of LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy.
The nine films in this section are all world premieres and from the U.S.
“Compliance” – Directed and written by Craig Zobel. A prank caller convinces a fast-food restaurant manager to interrogate one of his employees. Stars Ann Dowd, Pat Healy, Dreama Walker, Bill Camp and Philip Ettinger.
“I Am Not a Hipster” – Directed and written by Destin Daniel Cretton. An exploration of love, loss and creativity in the face of tragedy set against the indie music and art scene. With Dominic Bogart, Alvaro Orlando, Brad William Henke, Tammy Minoff, Kandis Erickson and Lauren Coleman.
“Kid-Thing” – Directed and written by David Zellner. A rebellious girl’s crooked routine is interrupted one day when she hears a woman calling for help from a hole in the ground. With Sydney Aguirre, Susan Tyrrell, Nathan Zellner and David Zellner.
“Mosquita y Mari” – Directed and written by Aurora Guerrero. Two 15-year-old Latinas discover a sexual undercurrent in their friendship. Stars Fenessa Pineda, Venecia Troncoso, Joaquín Garrido, Laura Patalano and Dulce Maria Solis.
“My Best Day” – Directed and written by Erin Greenwell. A small-town receptionist’s life is turned upside down when the father she never knew calls for a refrigerator repair. With Rachel Style, Ashlie Atkinson, Raul Castillo, Jo Armeniox, Robert Salerno and Harris Doran.
“Pursuit of Loneliness” – Directed and written by Laurence Thrush. When an anonymous, elderly patient dies in a county hospital with no known next of kin, four people try to find a family member to contact. Features Joy Hille, Sandra Escalante, Sharon Munfus, Kirsi Toivanen and Natalie Fouron.
“Sleepwalk With Me” – Directed by Mike Birbiglia and Seth Barrish, written by Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia and Barrish. A budding standup comedian has an intense struggle with sleepwalking. Stars Birbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Carol Kane, James Rebhorn and Cristin Milioti.
“That’s What She Said” – Directed by Carrie Preston, written by Kellie Overbey. Two best friends and a mysterious young interloper have a series of misadventures while seeking love in New York. Stars Anne Heche, Marcia DeBonis and Alia Shawkat.
“Twenty-Eight Hotel Rooms” – Directed and written by Matt Ross. A couple’s long-term affair is fragmented into a series of hotel rooms. With Chris Messina and Marin Ireland.
The five films in this section are from the U.S. unless otherwise specified.
“Bestiaire” (Canada-France) – Directed by Denis Cote. Explores the boundaries we place around animals. World premiere.
“An Oversimplification of Her Beauty” – Directed and written by Terence Nance. After a mystery girl stands him up, a quixotic young man journeys various live-action and animated landscapes. With Terence Nance, Namik Minter and Chanelle Pearson. World premiere.
“The Perception of Moving Targets” – Directed and written by Weston Currie. A journey into the dreams of four neighbors. With Brighid Thomas, Cherie Blackfeather, Gerald Casey, Tom Wood and Jin Camou.
“Room 237” – Directed by Rodney Ascher. A docu exploration of the numerous theories about the real meaning of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining.” World premiere.
“whiteonwhite:algorithmicnoir” (U.S.-Kazakhstan) – Directed by Eve Sussman, written by Sussman, Kevin Messman and Jeff Wood. A live algorithmic performance featuring a film noir assembled by a computer program from raw visual and audio elements. With Jeff Wood and Marina Fedorenko.