LOS ANGELES — They may be low-budget independent films, but the premieres at next month's Sundance Film Festival are loaded with stars, including Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Kevin Spacey and Tobey Maguire.
Pacino, Holmes and Channing Tatum star in "The Son of No One," director Dito Montiel's post-9/11 New York drama that will be the closing-night film of Robert Redford's festival, which runs Jan. 20-30 in Park City, Utah.
The festival will mark the return of director Kevin Smith, whose career took off after his micro-budgeted debut film "Clerks" sold after playing Sundance in 1994. Smith will be looking for distribution for his latest Sundance premiere, "Red State," a horror tale set among Middle America fundamentalists that features John Goodman and Melissa Leo.
Among other premieres announced Thursday: George Ratliff's evangelical tale "Salvation Boulevard," with Brosnan and Connelly; JC Chandor's economic-crisis drama "Margin Call," starring Spacey; David Mackenzie's love story "Perfect Sense," with Ewan McGregor and Eva Green; Tom McCarthy's wrestling comedy "Win Win," with Paul Giamatti and Amy Ryan; Miguel Arteta's business-conference comedy "Cedar Rapids," with Ed Helms, John C. Reilly and Sigourney Weaver; and Jacob Aaron Estes' domestic romp "The Details," featuring Maguire and Elizabeth Banks.
Banks co-stars in a second Sundance premiere, Jesse Peretz's "My Idiot Brother," which also features Paul Rudd, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer in the tale of an ex-con pot peddler who moves in with his three sisters one after the other while trying to get his life in order.
"Salvation Boulevard" co-star Greg Kinnear stars in a second Sundance premiere, Jill Sprecher's "The Convincer," about an insurance salesman caught in a scheme involving a rare musical instrument. "The Convincer" also features Alan Arkin, who co-starred with Kinnear in the 2006 Sundance premiere "Little Miss Sunshine," which earned Arkin the supporting-actor Academy Award.
The Sundance lineup of about 125 films, which includes 64 dramatic and documentary features announced Wednesday that will compete for prizes, is tough to characterize this time, said festival director John Cooper.
"The diversity of story in this year's festival is very interesting. We've had years where it's one kind of dysfunctional family drama after another, or five different variations of coming-of-age stories," Cooper said. "But these films are very original. They're coming from very imaginative, creative places."
Festival organizers this year added a separate premieres category for documentaries, which will include "The Greatest Movie Ever Sold" from director Morgan Spurlock, who won Sundance's documentary directing prize for 2004's "Supersize Me." Spurlock's new film is billed as a "documentary about branding, advertising and product placement" that was "financed and made possible by branding, advertising and product placement."
Other documentary premieres include: Eugene Jarecki's "Reagan," a portrait of actor-turned-president Ronald Reagan; Liz Garbus' "Bobby Fischer Against the World," tracing the career of the chess-master; Jim Whitaker's "Rebirth," chronicling the past decade in the lives of five people deeply affected by the Sept. 11 attacks; Steve James' "The Interrupters," following the lives of ex-gang members now working to protect their communities from violence; and Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato's "Becoming Chaz," examining Chastity Bono's sex change.
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Also announced Thursday was the festival's midnight slate of horror films and extreme comedies. The films include Madeleine Olnek's sci-fi romp "Codependent Lesbian Space Alien Seeks Same"; Andre Ovredal's action fantasy "Troll Hunter'; Alex Stapleton's documentary "Corman's World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel," about indie filmmaker Roger Corman, who helped launch the career of Jack Nicholson, James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola and many others; and Jason Eisener's vigilante tale "Hobo with a Shotgun," starring Rutger Hauer.