The 2008 Sundance Film Festival will boast documentary features about the steroids-in-sports scandal and environmental issues, profiles of a well-known "gonzo journalist" and film and music artists, as well as other nonfiction and dramatic films with big-name actors.
On Wednesday the festival announced the slate of 64 films that will play in its dramatic and documentary competitions, which include both United States and World Cinema categories. (The more star-studded premiere films and other, non-competition features will be unveiled Thursday.)
Highlighting the dramatic competition are adaptations of best-selling authors Chuck Palahniuk ("Choke") and Michael Chabon ("The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"), the Iraq War drama "American Son" and the comedy "Sunshine Cleaning."
That latter film stars Amy Adams ("Enchanted") and also features Amy Redford, the daughter of Sundance head honcho Robert Redford.
Other Sundance dramatic competition features star festival regular Paul Giamatti ("Pretty Bird"), Felicity Huffman ("Phoebe in Wonderland"), Nick Nolte ("The Mysteries of Pittsburgh"), Mary-Kate Olsen ("The Wackness"), and Ray Romano and Winona Ryder ("The Last Word").
The documentary competitions include Christopher Bell's sports expose "Bigger, Faster, Stronger*," and pieces about the late Hunter S. Thompson ("Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson"), musician Patti Smith ("Patti Smith: Dream of Life"), and controversial filmmakers Derek Jarman ("Derek") and Roman Polanski ("Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired").
Sundance's seven main programmers selected the full slate of films from more than 3,500 submissions. Festival Director Geoff Gilmore described the selection process as "extremely difficult."
"When you're got this many quality movies to choose from, it becomes even harder than before. In essence, we weren't choosing between bad and good films, we were choosing between good and good," Gilmore said from Sundance's Beverly Hills offices.
But, he termed the full slate of movies as "diverse and eclectic," and said he was "excited to see just how these films are going to play with our audiences."
Competition films are eligible for both Grand Jury and audience-voted awards, in a variety of technical and other categories.
Last week, Sundance announced the 2008 event will kick off in Park City with "In Bruges," a thriller about vacationing hit men that stars Colin Farrell and Ralph Fiennes.
The Sundance Film Festival is the premier U.S. showcase for independently produced features and short films from the United States and around the world. The event runs Jan. 17-27.
In addition to Salt Lake City and Park City, screenings and other events will also take place in Ogden and at the Sundance Resort in Provo Canyon.For a complete list of films and ticket information, go to www.sundance.org/festival. Individual ticket sales are expected to begin Jan. 5.