The Sundance Film Festival, which runs January 18 through 29 in Park City, Utah, has announced its line-up of dramatic and documentary features. Among the titles for 2007 are new films by Gregg Araki (Mysterious Skin), Luc Besson (The Fifth Element), Craig Brewer (Hustle and Flow), Nick Broomfield (Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer), Steve Buscemi (Trees Lounge), Tom DiCillo (Box of Moonlight), David Gordon Green (Undertow), Hal Hartley (Henry Fool), actor Anthony Hopkins, Tamara Jenkins (Slums of Beverly Hills), Justin Lin (Better Luck Tomorrow), Rod Lurie (The Contender), Brett Morgen (The Kid Stays in the Picture), Julien Temple (The Filth and the Fury), actor Justin Theroux, screenwriter Mike White (School of Rock), and Jessica Yu (In the Realms of the Unreal).
The festival will open with Morgen’s Chicago 10, a documentary about the conspiracy trials that followed the 1968 Democratic Convention. Other likely gossip-magnets are Jarrett Schaefer’s Chapter 27, a drama starring Jared Leto as John Lennon’s assassin, Mark David Chapman, and Waitress, the last feature by actress-writer-director Adrienne Shelly, who was allegedly murdered November 1 in her Manhattan apartment.
A comprehensive round-up by Anthony Kaufman can be found at Indiewire, while David M. Halbfinger offers a more thematic overview in the New York Times. Festival director Godfrey Gilmore told the Times, “There’s a real change that’s gone on from the insularity of a decade ago. It really brings you back to a sense of a new form of American independent film as an engaged cinema. You start to watch films gradually think about not only that sense that the world’s about to change, but how to change it.”
Maybe, but it’s worth remembering what happened to the two films singled out by the Times at Sundance 2006. Little Miss Sunshine, a glorified sitcom about a dysfunctional family driving to California for a kiddie beauty pageant, was given a blue-chip promotional campaign and has since grossed almost $59 million. Right at Your Door, a low-budget thriller about a dirty bomb going off in Los Angeles, still hasn’t been released.