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U.S. auteurs join ‘Dance

'Happy' beginning at fest

New films by Thomas Vinterberg, Don Roos, John Maybury, Rebecca Miller, Hal Hartley, Michael Hoffman, Kevin Bacon and Mike Binder are among the 24 titles set to unspool in the Premieres section of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival, which runs Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.

Also set to debut are “Inside Deep Throat,” a docu about the adult film phenomenon produced by Brian Grazer for Universal, and theater wizard George C. Wolfe’s musical epic “Lackawanna Blues,” an HBO production earmarked as the festival’s centerpiece premiere.

Opening-night attraction will be Roos’ “Happy Ending,” a sharply comic look at American families and issues from Lions Gate Films. Ensemble cast includes Tom Arnold, Jesse Bradford, Steve Coogan, Laura Dern, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Lisa Kudrow.

Other stars who will grace Sundance screens are Kevin Costner and Joan Allen in Binder’s melodrama “Upside of Anger”; Daniel Day-Lewis in his wife Miller’s father-daughter drama “The Ballad of Jack and Rose”; Michael Keaton, Robert Downey Jr. and Griffin Dunne in Hoffman’s theater-and-baseball drama “Game 6”; Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson and Jennifer Jason Leigh in Maybury’s time-traveling sci-fier “The Jacket”; Kyra Sedgwick, Blair Brown, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Marisa Tomei, Campbell Scott and the director himself in Bacon’s mother-son piece “Loverboy”; Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear and Hope Davis in Richard Shepard’s hit-man drama “The Matador”; and Alan Cumming and Neve Campbell in Andy Fickman’s musical takeoff on the anti-marijuana camp classic “Reefer Madness.”

Fest has also confirmed 15 films for the American Spectrum, seven titles for Midnight slots and six entries apiece for the docu-oriented Special Screenings section and the edgy Frontier sidebar.


  • “3-Iron,” the latest from South Korean maverick Kim Ki-duk, a Sony Classics release about a young man who breaks into empty homes to briefly assume their owners’ lifestyles.

  • “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” in which writer-director Rebecca Miller examines the residue of an old idealist’s utopian dreams at a Pacific Northwest island commune. Daniel Day-Lewis and young Irish thesp Camilla Belle play father and daughter, with Catherine Keener and Beau Bridges also starring in the IFC release.

  • “The Chumscrubber,” director Arie Posin’s deeply satiric tale of deteriorating lives in suburbia written by Posin and Zach Stanford, and featuring a large ensemble including Jamie Bell, Camilla Belle, Glenn Close, Rory Culkin, Ralph Fiennes and Caroline Goodall. Produced by Lawrence Bender for DreamWorks, with Newmarket set to distribute.

  • “Dear Wendy,” Danish helmer Thomas Vinterberg’s take on a Lars von Trier script about the American gun culture as seen through a youth gang in a nameless town. Zentropa production features Jamie Bell and Bill Pullman.

  • “Drum,” director Zola Maseko and scripter Jason Filardi’s tale of a hotshot journalist (Taye Diggs) who begins challenging apartheid in 1950s South Africa.

  • “Game 6,” directed by Michael Hoffman from Don DeLillo’s script about a playwright (Griffin Dunne) who skips an opening night to watch the momentous game six of the 1986 World Series. Michael Keaton plays a powerful stage director and Robert Downey Jr. portrays a much-hated critic. Ari Graynor, Catherine O’Hara, Bebe Neuwirth and Shalom Harlow also star in the pic produced by Amy Robinson.

  • “The Girl From Monday,” Hal Hartley’s comic sci-fier about a time when citizens are willingly traded on the stock exchange. With Bill Sage and Sabrina Lloyd.

  • “Happy Endings,” fest’s opening nighter from Don Roos.

  • “Heights,” directed by Chris Terrio and written by Amy Fox and Terrio, an ensembler following 24 hours in the lives of aspiring actors and writers in the New York theater world. Sony Classics release features Elizabeth Banks, James Marsden, Glenn Close, Jesse Bradford and Isabella Rossellini.

  • “Inside Deep Throat,” Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato’s examination of the legacy of changed values and mores left by the breakthrough hardcore feature. Among those interviewed are director Gerard Damiano, star Harry Reems, John Waters, Erica Jong, Norman Mailer and Gore Vidal.

  • “The Jacket,” director John Maybury and writer Massy Tadjedin’s psychological thriller about a military veteran’s trip into the future, which enables him to foresee his own death and possibly save himself and those around him. Warner Independent Pictures film stars Adrien Brody, Keira Knightley, Kris Kristofferson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Kelly Lynch, Daniel Craig and Brad Renfro.

  • “Kung Fu Hustle,” the latest from Hong Kong director-actor Stephen Chow. Crime actioner set in 1940s Canton will be released Stateside by Sony Classics.

  • “Lackawanna Blues,” director George C. Wolfe’s centerpiece extravaganza centered on a young boy’s life in a boarding house and shot through with rhythm and blues numbers. Enormous cast includes S. Epatha Merkerson, Mos Def, Terrence Howard, Macy Gray, Jimmy Smits, Louis Gossett Jr., Jeffrey Wright, Delroy Lindo, Liev Schrieber, Rosie Perez and Ernie Hudson.

  • “Layer Cake,” directed by Matthew Vaughn, producer of Guy Ritchie’s “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels,” and written by J.J. Connolly, a crimer about a cocaine dealer (Daniel Craig) whose plans to retire are disrupted. A Sony Classics release in the U.S.

  • “Loverboy,” directed by Kevin Bacon and adapted from Victoria Redel’s novel by Hannah Shakespeare, about a neglected daughter who becomes an overly possessive mother. With Kyra Sedgwick, Bacon, Blair Brown, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, Oliver Platt, Campbell Scott, Marisa Tomei and Dominic Scott Kay.

  • “Marilyn Hotchkiss’ Ballroom Dancing & Charm School,” written by Randall Miller and Jody Savin and directed by Miller, who 15 years ago made an American Film Institute short that has been incorporated into this feature, a melodrama about a man coming to grips with the loss of his wife. Robert Carlyle, Marisa Tomei, John Goodman, Mary Steenburgen, Sean Astin, Danny DeVito, Donnie Wahlberg, David Paymer, Camryn Manheim, Adam Arkin, Sonia Braga, Elden Henson and Ernie Hudson star.

  • “The Matador,” written and directed by Richard Shepard, a satire on the loneliness of an international hit man (Pierce Brosnan) who befriends a businessman (Greg Kinnear) in a Mexico City hotel bar. Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall, Adam Scott and Dylan Baker also star.

  • “Mirrormask,” directed by Dave McKean and written by McKean and comics creator Neil Gaiman, a Henson Co. fantasy in which a 15-year-old girl can save a kingdom and return home by finding the fabled Mirrormask. Columbia/Screen Gems release stars Stephanie Leonidas, Jason Barry, Rob Brydon, Gina McKee and Stephen Fry.

  • “Mysterious Skin,” writer-director Gregg Araki’s dark drama about the bond between a teenage hustler and a young man obsessed with alien abductions. Tartan USA release played the Venice and Toronto fests and features Brady Corbet, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Michelle Trachtenberg.

  • “Nine Lives,” written and directed by Rodrigo Garcia (“Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her”), a nine-segment pic about women’s relationships and lives, starring Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carrillo, Glenn Close, Lisa Gay Hamilton, Holly Hunter, Amanda Seyfried, Sissy Spacek and Robin Wright Penn.

  • “Reefer Madness,” a musical-comedy take on the 1936 cautionary tale about the wages of weed from director Andy Fickman and writers Kevin Murphy and Dan Studney. Showtime feature toplines Alan Cumming, Steven Weber and Neve Campbell.

  • “Rory O’Shea Was Here,” a British prize winner at the Edinburgh Film Festival directed by Damien O’Donnell and written by Jeffrey Caine, about one man’s invigorating effect on a young man with cerebral palsy at a home for the disabled. Focus will distribute domestically.

  • “Snowland,” vet German director Hans W. Geissendorfer’s first film in 12 years, an intense drama about a newly widowed writer residing in Lapland who recaptures her own life by discovering traces of a past local love story. With Thomas Kretzschmann and Maria Schrader.

  • “Upside of Anger,” a modern melodrama written and directed by Mike Binder, with Joan Allen as an alcoholic upper-class Michigan woman whose daughters help her cope with a new suitor and other dilemmas after her husband disappears. New Line release also stars Kevin Costner, Erika Christensen, Evan Rachel Wood, Keri Russell and Alicia Witt.


  • “212,” writer-director Anthony Ng’s minimalist study of three sets of New Yorkers who attempt to connect while living in tiny apartments and working dull jobs.

  • “5th World,” writer-director Blackhorse Lowe’s tale of two young Navajos falling in love while hitchhiking home across the reservation.

  • “Duane Hopwood,” writer-director Matt Mulhern’s drama about the struggles of a recently divorced alcoholic casino pit boss (David Schwimmer) to keep his children and sanity. Janeane Garofalo also stars.

  • “High School Record,” writer-director Ben Wolfinsohn’s regional comedy about four awkward 17-year-olds whose senior year vicissitudes are documented on tape by fellow classmates.

  • “Love, Ludlow,” directed by Adrienne Weiss and written by David Paterson, a small, “Marty”-style tale about a young lady (Alicia Goranson) who takes charge of her life when her eccentric brother (Brendan Sexton III) is threatened by her dating a vulnerable charmer (David Eigenberg).

  • “Mitchellville,” writer-director John D. Harkrider’s Vegas Fest hit about the bond that develops between a corporate lawyer, played by Harkrider, and an aging maestro who gives the younger man music lessons.

  • “The Motel,” writer-director Michael Kang’s story of a chubby Chinese kid’s attempt to escape his mother’s domination while working at the family’s low-rent motel.

  • “The Puffy Chair,” directed by Jay Duplass and written by Mark Duplass, former short filmmakers relating the comic tale of a young man driving cross-country to deliver a giant purple La-Z-Boy as a birthday gift to his father.

  • “Rize,” in which photographer David LaChapelle expands on his short “Krumped” with a feature look at the competitive South Los Angeles dance movement that stems from clowning and street culture.

  • “The Salon,” writer-director Mark Brown’s “Barbershop”-like comedy set in a beauty shop, in which the owner (Vivica A. Fox) finds romance while trying to save her business.

  • “Saving Face,” writer-director Alice Wu’s drama, previously seen at Toronto, about a Chinese-American lesbian and her traditional mother, both of whom are reluctant to announce secret loves that conflict with cultural norms. A Sony Classics release.

  • “Steal Me,” writer-director Melissa Painter’s drama about a 15-year-old kleptomaniac who worms his way into a small-town family. With Cara Seymour and Danny Alexander.

  • “Swimmers,” writer-director Doug Sadler’s traditional melodrama about the aftermath of an accident in a small Maryland fishing town for an 11-year-old girl. Shawn Hatosy, Cherry Jones and Tara Gallagher star.

  • “The Talent Given Us,” a high-camp youth comedy from writer-director Andrew Wagner about a retired New York couple who drive cross-country to reconnect with their reclusive son, with two unmarried daughters in tow.

  • “This Revolution,” writer-director Stephen Marshall’s unabashedly radical homage to Haskell Wexler’s “Medium Cool,” shot on the streets of Manhattan during the recent Republican National Convention. Rosario Dawson, Amy Redford, Nathan Crooker and Brendan Sexton III star.


  • “9 Songs,” Michael Winterbottom’s explicit account of a relationship based entirely on sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. The Tartan USA release features Kieran O’Brien and Margot Stilley.

  • “Dirty Love,” directed by John Asher and written by Jenny McCarthy, a bawdy comedy about a photographer, played by McCarthy, determined to get back at her wandering model boyfriend. Tartan/First Look Features pic also stars Carmen Electra.

  • “Hard Candy,” directed by David Slade and written by Brian Nelson, a dramatic thriller about sexual power trips between a 32-year-old man (Patrick Wilson) and the 14-year-old (Ellen Paige) he takes home after they meet on the Internet, and her attempt to turn the tables on him. Also with Sandra Oh.

  • “Matando Cabos,” writer-director Alejandro Lozano’s raunchy Mexican comedy about some Mexico City teens whose attempt to kidnap a well-known figure go awry.

  • “Old Boy,” Park Chan-wook’s violent Cannes prize winner about a man who, within five days, must find the person responsible for his 15-year incarceration. A Tartan USA release.

  • “Strangers With Candy,” a prequel from director Paul Dinello and fellow writers Amy Sedaris and Stephen Colbert to the late Comedy Central series about 46-year-old ex-junkie Jerri Blank, an ex-con who returns to high school to start life over.

  • “Three … Extremes,” a trilogy of short horror films directed by Takashi Miike, Fruit Chan and Park Chan-wook. A Lions Gate release.


  • “Ballet Russes,” Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller’s intimate docu about members of the legendary troupe who pioneered modern ballet.

  • “The Emperor’s Journey,” French director Luc Jacquet’s portrait of the march of Emperor penguins across hundreds of miles of Antarctic ice.

  • “The Garden,” vet documentarian Frederick Wiseman’s account of every event that took place at New York’s Madison Square Garden over the course of one year.

  • “Protocols of Zion,” Marc Levin’s examination of the growth of anti-Semitism since 9/11 and his challenge to those who believe the Jews were responsible for the attack on the World Trade Center.

  • “Reel Paradise,” in which Steve James covers the year former indie film guru John Pierson took his family to Fiji to operate the world’s most remote movie theater.

  • “Rock School,” Don Argott’s glimpse of kids at the real-life School of Rock. A Newmarket release.


  • “Film Actions V,” a performance piece by Luke Savisky.

  • “The Joy of Life,” Jenni Olson’s experimental exploration of the Golden Gate Bridge’s history as a “suicide landmark” and account of a butch lesbian’s search for self-discovery around San Francisco.

  • “Room,” Kyle Henry’s look at a Texas woman whose psychic visions drive her to New York in search of the Room.


  • “Harlan County, U.S.A.” Barbara Kopple’s Oscar-winning account of the 1973 coal miner’s strike in Harlan County, Ky.

  • “Stranger Than Paradise,” Jim Jarmusch’s breakthrough 1985 indie.

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