Will Richard Dreyfuss and/or Holly Hunter show up? Will a sleeper on the order of "sex, lies and videotape," "Metropolitan" or "House Party" be discovered among competing independents? Will a package of films shown in Salt Lake City draw the audience that doesn't usually trek up to Park City in January?
Or - most importantly - will that mucky inversion still be out there?That's right, we're talking film festival.
And it's the Sundance Film Festival now, with the "United States" part of the title being dropped because it's so cumbersome and confusing (other festivals around the country use "U.S." and "USA" in their titles).
Despite the name change, however, the 13th year of the festival will still take place largely in Park City - not at Sundance though a small selection of films will be shown in both the Sundance Institute screening room and a Salt Lake theater).
The 1991 Sundance Film Festival begins on a Thursday this year - Jan. 17 - rather than the traditional Friday, with the opening night film being shown at the Cineplex Odeon Crossroads Cinemas rather than the Capitol Theatre. And the festival runs 11 days (through Jan. 27) rather than 10, as in previous years.
The opening night premiere film is "Once Around," a romantic comedy starring Dreyfuss and Hunter (their second teaming, after "Always"), and they are both expected to attend, along with Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom (best-known for "My Life As a Dog"), producers Amy Robinson and Griffin Dunne and first-time screenwriter Malia Scotch-Marmo. (Co-stars Danny Aiello and Laura San Giacomo have been invited but have not yet responded.)
And, of course, Robert Redford will be at the opening night event and is expected to be a visible presence at the festival this year. (He was absent last year because he was shooting "Havana" in the Dominican Republic.)
Other celebrities expected to attend the festival:
- Veteran filmmaker Robert Altman, the subject of this year's "salute," who will introduce the regional premiere of his latest film, "Vincent & Theo," and host a retrospective of his work, to include "Nashville," "McCabe and Mrs. Miller," "Three Women" and others.
- "Doonesbury" cartoonist Garry Trudeau, who scripted Altman's HBO limited series "Tanner '88," which will be shown and discussed by Altman and Trudeau.
- Actress Theresa Russell and director Ken Russell, who are not related but who collaborated on the new film "Whore," which will have its world premiere at the festival, followed by a discussion of "Sex and Cinema."
- Independent filmmaker John Sayles, whose screenwriting and directing efforts range from such personal films as "Eight Men Out" and "Matewan" to such commercial ventures as "The Howling" and "Alligator," will introduce his most ambitious film, "City of Hope." Sayles will also participate with Altman and Trudeau in a seminar, "Art, Politics and the Independent Film," and will emcee the awards banquet Jan. 25.
- Actress Elizabeth Perkins, who appears in the premiere film "Enid Is Sleeping," and actor John Heard, who is in another premiere film, "Mindwalk." (Perkins and Heard co-starred with Tom Hanks in "Big.")
- Directors Donna Deitch, Penelope Spheeris and Joan Micklin Silver, each of whom helmed a segment of "Prison Stories: Women on the Inside," an HBO film that will be shown as a special screening. They will also be together on a panel, along with Nina Menkes, for the seminar titled "Women Directors."
We'll keep you posted on further developments.
For more information on festival events you can peruse a free film guide, available at various locations around town, or phone 328-FILM.
- THE 1990 TALLY has been computed and, to no one's surprise, "Ghost" is the year's biggest moneymaking movie, with more than $200 million in the coffers.
Also to no one's surprise, "Pretty Woman" came in second.
But it was a significant surprise that the sleeper of the holiday season,"Home Alone," managed to come in at No. 3 - in just seven weeks. There's little doubt that if the John Hughes family comedy had opened a few weeks earlier, it could easily have been the No. 2 hit of the year - or maybe even No. 1!
It's also worth noting that nine movies earned more than $100 million last year - the first time in history so many have reached so high. (Technically, there were 10, since "Back to the Future, Part II" cracked the $100 million mark in 1990. But that film actually earned most of its money in late 1989. On the other hand, "Driving Miss Daisy" barely opened in major urban centers in December 1989, building virtually all of its earnings in 1990. Therefore, "Driving Miss Daisy" is on the list, but "Back to the Future, Part II" is not.)
Here's the list of the most popular films of 1990, according to box-office take:
1. Ghost, $206 million
2. Pretty Woman, $1781/2 million
3. Home Alone, $152 million
4. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, $133 million
5. The Hunt for Red October, $1201/2 million
6. Total Recall, $1181/2 million
7. Die Hard 2, $1151/2 million
8. Driving Miss Daisy, $105 million
9. Dick Tracy, $1031/2 million
10. Back to the Future, Part III, $871/2 million