Abbot Genser, New Line Cinema
Jack Black stars in the comic fable "Be Kind Rewind" at the Sundance Film Festival.

You could go the Sundance Film Festival to see celebrities. Or instead, you could go up there to see movies.

I'll be doing both. But I'll be wishing I was doing more of the latter.

While Sundance-ing, I've always favored the more off-beat fare, which includes the documentaries, World Cinema features and Park City and Midnight curiosities. You're less likely to see these films pop up in theaters later.

So, here are 10 films at Sundance this year — one of them is actually playing at the competing Slamdance Film Festival — that have caught my eye:

ADVENTURES OF POWER (Jan. 20, 21 and 26 in Park City; Jan. 24 in Salt Lake City)

One of the few films at the festival with some "buzz," much of this air-drumming comedy was shot locally — in Helper.

BE KIND REWIND (Jan. 20, 21 and 22 in Park City; Jan. 24 in Ogden; Jan. 26 in Salt Lake City)

Yes, the film is opening theatrically in February. But I'm a huge fan of its director, Michel Gondry ("Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind"). His latest is a comic fable about two men (Jack Black and Mos Def) who "remake" a video store's entire library.

CHOKE (Jan. 21, 22, 24 and 25 in Park City; Jan. 25 in Salt Lake City)

It will be interesting to see what director Clark Gregg and actors Sam Rockwell and Anjelica Huston can do with this material. It's based on a Chuck Palahniuk novel.

JUST ANOTHER LOVE STORY (Jan. 20, 21 and 23 in Park City; Jan. 26 in Provo Canyon)

The description of this Danish film — imagine "While You Were Sleeping" as a thriller — sounds intriguing.

GEORGE A. ROMERO'S DIARY OF THE DEAD (Jan. 22 in Salt Lake City; Jan. 26 and 27 in Park City)

I'm a sucker for a zombie movie, especially one from the man who popularized the entire genre.

MADE IN AMERICA (Jan. 20, 22 and 25 in Park City; Jan. 26 in Salt Lake City)

Sundance regular Stacey Peralta returns, this time with a documentary about racial violence in south-central Los Angeles.

THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH (Jan. 21, 23 and 24 in Park City; Jan. 22 in Salt Lake City)

Having read the Michael Chabon novel, I want to see what director Rawson Marshall Thurber ("Dodgeball") does with it.

PARANORMAL ACTIVITY (Jan. 20 in Park City)

There's already good word of mouth about this Slamdance pseudo-documentary about a couple recording nightly poltergeist activities in their home.

MAN ON WIRE (Jan. 22, 23, 24 and 26 in Park City; Jan. 25 in Salt Lake City)

I'm fascinated by tight-wire artists, especially the notorious Frenchman Philippe Petit, who pulled off "the artistic crime of the century" when he walked between the World Trade Center in 1974.

SUNSHINE CLEANING (Jan. 20, 21, 24 and 25 in Park City)

I think I've already shared my feelings about actress Amy Adams. She stars in this dark comedy about a family that starts a crime-scene cleanup business.

If you go . . .

What: Sundance Film Festival '08

Where: Various venues in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and the Sundance resort (Provo Canyon)

When: Jan. 17-27

How much: $15 ($10 wait-list tickets)

Phone: 435-776-7878


Also . . .

What: Slamdance Film Festival 2008

Where: Treasure Mountain Inn, 255 Main St., Park City

When: Jan. 17-25

How much: $11 ($8.50 for Utah residents)

Phone: 435-649-9071


E-mail: [email protected]