15 Most Buzzworthy Films of Sundance 2014
There's so much to be psyched about at this year's Sundance Film Festival, but there are some films we just can't wait to see -- and we think you'll be seeing a lot more of them, too. Here they are: the 15 most buzzworthy films coming up at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
15. LIFE ITSELF (U.S. Documentary Premiere)
Revered film critic Roger Ebert's autobiography is turned into a documentary by director Steve James (HOOP DREAMS), who doesn't shy away from the darker and more controversial stuff. Though Ebert learned he would receive Sundance's Vanguard Award, he did not live long enough to accept the award himself; his wife, Chaz, was on hand for the announcement of the Sundance Institute scholarship in his name.
14. THE TRIP TO ITALY (U.S. Dramatic Premiere)
Hilarious Brits Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon -- and their behind-the-camera collaborator Michael Winterbottom -- are back on the road after 2010's THE TRIP with more improvised banter and competing impersonations, interspersed with glorious vistas and delicious meals.
13. I ORIGINS (U.S. Dramatic Premiere)
Filmmaker Mike Cahill, whose debut, ANOTHER EARTH, won a Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, returns with this sci-fi drama starring Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, THE DREAMERS), Brit Marling (ANOTHER EARTH) and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.
12. LISTEN UP PHILIP (NEXT)
Elisabeth Moss, Jason Schwartzman and Krysten Ritter star in this dramedy about a New York author who feels isolated from his city, his photographer girlfriend and himself.
11. PING PONG SUMMER (NEXT)
Based on his own coming-of-age summers, director Michael Tully's story of a shy teenager in 1985 stars Susan Sarandon (who is a well-known devotee of the sport), Lea Thompson and Amy Sedaris.
10. APPROPRIATE BEHAVIOR (NEXT)
Iranian-American auteur Desiree Akhavan wrote, directed and stars in this comedy about juggling family expectations with her own sexual identity as a bisexual woman. Her web series The Slope is about "superficial, homophobic lesbians."
9. DINOSAUR 13 (U.S. Documentary Competition)
Director Todd Miller digs into the vicious battle among paleontologists, museums, Native American tribes and the U.S. government over the 1990 discovery of Sue, the largest complete fossil T. rex ever found.
8. KUMIKO, THE TREASURE HUNTER (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
The tale of an isolated Japanese woman who leaves Tokyo in search of a fictional fortune buried in the wintry Minnesota landscape stars one lone actor: Rinko Kikuchi (a 2006 Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for BABEL). Oh, and that fictional fortune she's after? The ransom Steve Buscemi's character stashes in FARGO.
7. HAPPY CHRISTMAS (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Anna Kendrick stars as a woman living with her brother's family after a breakup. Costarring Girls mastermind Lena Dunham and the film's writer-director, Joe Swanberg.
6. DEAR WHITE PEOPLE (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
This satire about creating personal identity in supposedly post-racial America stars Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) as a student at a very white Ivy League school. The film's origins can be traced back to director and screenwriter Justin Simien's Twitter account of the same name.
5. FISHING WITHOUT NETS (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Winner of the Jury Prize in Short Filmmaking at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, Cutter Hodierne's riveting story about a young Somali father and husband who turns to piracy to support his family got the Sundance Institute Feature Film Program treatment.
4. CAMP X-RAY (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
Kristen Stewart takes on the complex role as a young soldier who, instead of serving in Iraq, is stationed as a guard at Guantanamo Bay, where she develops an unexpected friendship with a longtime detainee. Directed and written by Peter Sattler.
3. GOD'S POCKET (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
The directorial debut of Mad Men's John Slattery (who also co-wrote the script), GOD'S POCKET is the haunting tale of a man trying to keep a lid on the truth about his stepson's "accidental" death. Slattery's Mad Men costar Christina Hendricks is featured alongside veterans Philip Seymour Hoffman, John Turturro and Richard Jenkins.
2. LIFE AFTER BETH (U.S. Dramatic Competition)
We're dying to see this (yes, really) zombie rom-com written by I HEART HUCKABEES scribe Jeff Baena about a guy (Dane DeHaan) who keeps dating a girl (Aubrey Plaza) after she joins the ranks of the undead. The hilarious ensemble cast also includes Anna Kendrick, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines and Paul Reiser.
1. WISH I WAS HERE (U.S. Dramatic Premiere)
Zach Braff (Scrubs) co-wrote and directed this follow-up to GARDEN STATE, starring Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin and, of course, himself. Inspired by the success of the VERONICA MARS campaign, Braff raised more than $3 million (easily clearing the $2 million goal he'd set) with his own Kickstarter to fund -- and maintain creative control of -- the film.
Sundance Film Festival