Sundance 2012 Preview: Dramatic Competitions

Festivals Editor; Los Angeles, California (@RylandAldrich)
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Sundance 2012 Preview: Dramatic Competitions

Welcome to Park City Preview Week here at ScreenAnarchy. The Sundance Film Fest (not to mention Slamdance) roll out next week, and we've got a week of previews leading up to the Park City extravaganza.

To kick things off, we'll be taking a look at a few of the notable films from each of the Dramatic Competition sections. It's the nature of Sundance (especially the competition sections) to be a bit of a crapshoot guessing at which films will be the hits. Who would have guessed it would be Like Crazy not Little Birds or Another Earth instead of Another Happy Day that would get Park City buzzing last year. We'll have wall to wall coverage of everything buzzing this year. For now, here are a few films that caught our eyes.

US Dramatic Competition

With a cast that includes Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Mark Webber, Geoff Arend, and Melonie Diaz, this indie romantic comedy about love on the rebound from director Michael Mohan (One Too Many Mornings) has all the marks of a Sundance hit waiting to pop off.

To say Mark Duplass is a popular man around Park City is to sell the talented filmmaker/comedian short. At this year's festival alone, Duplass has two starring credits, three producing jobs, and one writer nod. One of those starring roles is alongside Aubrey Plaza, Kristen Bell, and Jeff Garlin in director Colin Trevorrow's feature debut about magazine employees who investigate a classified ad regarding Time Travel.

Youssef Delara (English as a Second Language) and Michael D. Olmos have teamed up to direct this story of a young Latina hip-hop artist struggling to come up in LA's Echo Park neighborhood. Newcomer Gina Rodriguez stars alongside such Latino heavyweights as Lou Diamond Phillips and Edward James Olmos (father of director Michael).

Indie sweetheart Mary Elizabeth Winstead stars as a woman trying to sober up in James Ponsoldt's relationship drama about a couple whose marriage revolves around the bottle.

Ry Russo-Young has got herself some mean Mumblecore cred after co-starring in Joe Swanberg's Hannah Takes the Stairs and Alex Ross Perry's The Color Wheel. That Tiny Furniture writer/director Lena Dunham has teamed up to co-write Russo-Young's latest directorial effort only ups the ante. The movie stars Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski, Dylan McDermott, and Rosemarie DeWitt in this tale of (get this) romance in LA's Silver Lake neighborhood.

I'm really not sure what to expect from Rick Alverson's Brooklyn hipster comedy that stars indie vet Kate Lyn Sheil (Silver Bullets, The Color Wheel, You're Next, Green) alongside Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim (yep, that Tim & Eric!).

Ben Lewin's coming of age story of a 38 year-old man confined to an iron lung has one hell of a cast led by John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, and William H. Macy.

World Dramatic Competition

Quentin Dupieux follows up his quirky hit Rubber with this story of a man searching for his lost dog, encountering a pizza-delivering nymphomaniac, a jogging-addict, a French Mexican gardener, and a pet detective along the way. Jack Plotnick, Steve Little, and William Fichtner star.

Keiichi Kobayashi directs Sundance's lone feature contribution from Japan; a black and white story of a school girl who finds a wallet loaded with yen.

Luciano Moura (Nascimento from the Elite Squad films) stars as a man traveling across Brazil in search of his runaway son.

Animal Kingdom and Warrior star Joel Edgerton stars as a man struggling to cope with a friend's disappearance in Kieran Darcy-Smith's nonlinear feature debut.

Armando Bo's feature debut tells the story of a Buenos Aires Elvis impersonator (played by real life Elvis impersonator John McInerny) coming to grips with the truth that he might not really be The King.

Sally El Hosaini directs her debut feature about two brothers struggling to find their way in London's Arab gangland.

Check back for more of our entries in our Park City Preview, soon!

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