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What's Going On At Sundance?

Parker Posey in "Price Check"If you're anything like me, you have trouble paying attention to Sundance unless you're actually there. It's not that it isn't a great festival. It's that it arrives during the explosion that is the Oscar Nominations. But nevertheless, a few crumbs about what's going on there, before they hand out their awards (the festival ends tomorrow). These are a few bits I found interesting from the vast amount of information that's pouring out of Park City. 

Parker Posey is baaaaack. She's starring in the dark comedy Price Check as an ambitious marketing head of a grocery store chain.  IndieWire talks to her about her various Sundance journeys which just gives me one more excuse to tell you that my fondest memory of Sundance ever was the time she danced with me on the dance floor at a party. That really happened. I sometimes think I dreamed it. She was as fun in person as she is onscreen.

Marc Webber's The End of Love is getting a lot of press by way of casting. The director -- who you'll know as an actor from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World -- cast his own two year old son Isaac as his co-star in this film about a widower and his son. Though it's based somewhat on his own life, Webber's is not a widower, he's a divorcee. Apparently people are l-o-v-i-n-g the toddler. Consider this tweet from Josh Dickey at Variety:

Awards season 2013 prediction: a viral supporting-actor campaign for 2-year old Isaac Love."

I could see that working in an Uggie for Best Supporting Actor kind of way. At the very least it's publicity.

One of TFE's favorite character actresses Melanie Lynskey (who recently shared her memories of Heavenly Creatures with TFE readers) has a lead role for once in Hello I Must Be Going. The film has been well reviewed, especially when it comes to her performance as a 30something divorcee who falls for a younger man. We'll see it the first chance we get. Go Melanie!

One comedy getting plentiful laughs and attention is the debut film Bachelorette which is a mean girls comedy starring Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan, James Marsden and Isla Fisher. I don't only bring this up because the cast sounds perfect/delicious.

I bring this up because the writer/director, first timer Lesley Headland is an old frienquaintance from here in NYC. She invited me to a workshop of one of her first plays here in NYC five years ago and I gave her one of her first quotes.

Hilarious. Forceful. Insightful. As a character (Leslye writes and acts the part) "Arden" has an infectiously raucous energy with that fascinating sexy and/or terrifying aura of a young Sandra Bernhard."

The play later opened in LA and then returned to New York. She even guest blogged for The Film Experience! And now she's directed a movie starring Kiki Dunst and I am still blogging. Oh christ. What have I done with my life?

The Surrogate is the film that's garnering the most Oscar buzz thus far but it's always hard to know with Sundance hits if they'll transfer once they're in lower altitudes. The film stars Winter's Bone Oscar nominee John Hawkes as a man with no movement below his neck (Oscar loves a disability) who loses his virginity to a sex therapist played by Helen Hunt. Fox Searchlight will distribute the film but since it's an Oscar hopeful, it might be 11 months until it's in theaters. (Sigh)

Helen Hunt and John Hawkes in "The Surrogate"

A Sample of The Deals from the Wintry Slopes of Park City
The Weinstein Co, usually a buyer, is mysteriously absent. But they have a ton of big name films already planned for 2012 including the latest from Tarantino so perhaps their schedule was already locked up. 

•Robot and Frank, "a sci-fi crowdpleaser" according to EW, stars Frank Langella as a man who develops an odd relationship with the robot his children gift him with. Sony Pictures and Samuel Goldwyn will partner on the release.
• How to Survive a Plague, an AIDS doc, purchased by Sundance Selects 
For a Good Time Call... went to Focus Features.
Beasts of the Southern Wild, a debut from Benh Zeitlin, purchased by Fox Searchlight
Red Lights, a psychological thriller, will be distributed by Millenium Entertainment.
Celeste and Jesse Forever was bought by SPC. It's a romantic comedy starring Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg.
Liberal Arts is from writer/director/star Josh Radnor following up his happythankyoumoreplease with a romantic comedy costarring Elizabeth Olsen. I'm beginning to think she'll be the Jessica Chastain of 2012 or 2013. So so so so so so so many films.
Arbitage, a financial drama starring Richard Gere that's been likened to Margin Call, jointly purchased by Roadside and Lionsgate
Wish You Were Here, an Australian thriller starring Joel Edgerton, purchased by Entertainment One
Simon Killer, from the collective that brought you After School and Martha Marcy purchased by IFC . Brady Corbet moves up to leading position after supporting roles in their other films.
The Words starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons, Olivia Wilde and Zoe Saldana is about a writer and a genius manuscript he finds. It went to CBS Films 

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Reader Comments (7)

Nathanielllll.....is your Supporting Actress ballot coming soon? I'm on pins and needles!

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSean D

The one that sounds most interesting is Beasts of the Southern Wild. Everyone I've read has been surprised by its fantasy elements and that doesnt happen often at all.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAmir

Speaking of Sundance and upcoming films... Is anyone else woking on their "Year in Advance" predictions? It's not quite that I'm bored with this season or anything - I just like the time of year when all one has are films to look forward to. Nothing has been crossed out yet, nothing has disappointed. It's very excited.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDevin D

So so excited for Bachelorette. KiKi <3 Plus, Rebel Wilson from Bridesmaids is in it. Can't wait.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

Everyone I know who has met Parker Posey says she is even more mad and adorable in real life. My love for her is boundless.

Also, a lot of these titles look promising. I was worried Bachelorette might bomb with the critics, but I've only read kind and rather excited words.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Based on the reviews, I'm super excited by the premise of Bachelorette. And also, Simon Killer--I think those guys are so brilliant. Would love to see Elizabeth reunite with them again.

January 28, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBia

I'm here at sundance and the biggest buzz here was definitely "Beasts of the Southern Wild". I didn't see it, but the adorable 7 yr old star was there and it got a standing O.

I really enjoyed "Simon Killer". It had great visual transitions and awesome music and was nicely NC-17. It was kinda "Black Swan" meets "Shame". I think it will interest readers of this blog.

"Keep the Lights On" was also pretty powerful. Far better than most queer cinema fare.

January 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTroy
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