LOS ANGELES — Here's a dream come true for cash-strapped filmmakers: A billion-dollar movie budget.
Next month's Sundance Film Festival, the top showcase for independent cinema, includes the comedy "Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie." It's the story of two filmmakers who get the most colossal budget ever, only to have it all go wrong.
The movie, one of dozens announced Thursday by Robert Redford's Sundance festival, features Will Ferrell, John C. Reilly, Zach Galifianakis. Its writer-directors are Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, a comedy duo whose credits include the TV series "Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!"
"Billion Dollar Movie" is part of the festival's popular midnight section of horror, over-the-top comedy and other high-energy films.
Among other midnight titles are director Jon Wright's horror comedy "Grabbers," starring Richard Coyle and Ruth Bradley in the tale of villagers in an Irish fishing town who learn that staying drunk might be their only protection against blood-sucking sea monsters.
They also will include Nicholas McCarthy's "The Pact," with Casper Van Dien and Caity Lotz in the story of a woman whose childhood home is beset by a mysterious presence after her mother's death; "Black Rock," with director Katie Aselton, Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth in a thriller about three friends fighting for survival during a weekend getaway; and Dylan Southern and Joe Swanberg's "Shut Up and Play the Hits," a documentary following LCD Soundsystem frontman James Murphy for two days amid the band's farewell concert in April.
Sundance programming director Trevor Groth said he aimed to rev up the midnight lineup this time, "so I did a lot of outreach into the pockets of filmmakers making the kind of films we want."
"It's actually going to be one of the most exciting collections of films in the midnight section we've ever had. Something for everyone, as long as they like it kind of crazy," Groth said. "Hopefully, it'll keep you awake. For me, it's the stuff that really pushes the envelope. The more outrageous it is for me, the better. I really want to be shocked or surprised or laugh so hard that I pass out."
Sundance announced several other film categories Thursday, including a program of micro-budgeted movies. Though the films typically are shot for only a few hundred-thousand dollars, that lineup has a few name-brand stars.
Among them are Lauren Ambrose and Carol Kane in directors Mike Birbiglia and Seth Barrish's "Sleepwalk with Me," about a standup comedian's battle with sleepwalking; and Anne Heche in Carrie Preston's "That's What She Said," about two friends and a stranger who embark on romantic misadventures in New York City.
Sundance runs Jan. 19-29 in Park City, Utah.
The festival announced its U.S. and world competition films Wednesday and will unveil its star-studded premieres Monday.
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