Sundance 2007 – it’s on…

There are always so many announcements this time of year. The slate for the Independent Film and World Cinema Competions for the 2007 Sundance Film Festival came out today. See doc lists below.

From the press release:

    The 2007 Sundance Film Festival runs January 18-28, 2007, in Park City, Sundance, Salt Lake City, and Ogden, Utah. The complete list of films is available at www.sundance.org.

    For the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, 122 feature films were selected including 82 world premieres, 24 North American premieres and 10 U.S. premieres representing 25 countries with nearly 60 first or second-time feature filmmakers. These films were selected from 3,287 feature submissions composed of 1,852 U.S. feature films and 1,435 international feature films. These numbers represent an increase from 2006 when 1,764 U.S. feature films and 1,384 international films were considered.

    “We are witnessing a broadening of the traditional independent arena. In this year’s Festival there is a breadth of subject matter, vision and innovative storytelling that is transforming the old idea of the American indie film,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival. “This year’s American Competition reflects a newfound awareness and self-expression that results in an engagement by the work that is both political and personal, a collective voice fueled by a steadfast optimism and hope for the future.”

    The dramatic and documentary sections of the Independent Film and World Cinema Competitions each present 16 films, for a total of 64 films that screen in competition. The Independent Film Competition is the heart of the Sundance Film Festival program and has introduced audiences to many of the best American independent films and filmmakers of the past two decades. Launched in 2005, the World Cinema Competition reflects the shared commitment of the Festival and Sundance Institute to support international artists, to provide audiences with an opportunity to discover the most compelling work by international filmmakers.

    “In this year’s program, filmmakers are exploring different narrative techniques and devices, pushing the documentary form to new limits, and embracing a global perspective in filmmaking,” said John Cooper, Director of Programming, Sundance Film Festival. “The films in the World Cinema competition embrace complex stories and are exploring topics that transcend the confines of personal, geographic, and artistic borders.”

    INDEPENDENT FILM COMPETITION: DOCUMENTARY
    Since the inaugural Independent Film Competition in 1985, documentary films have been given the same profile at the Festival as fiction films, with the Documentary Competition becoming a focal point of the Festival. These films represent a broad section of the best new documentary films by American independent filmmakers. This year’s eclectic program features a range of films with personal, political, and global stories including current and historical examination about the effects of war, global warming, racism in America, a 50 year love story, and the personal and public role of religion in America.

    This year’s 16 films were selected from 856 submissions by American filmmakers. Each film is a world premiere.

    The films screening in Documentary Competition are:

    BANISHED (Director: Marco Williams)—This story of three U.S. towns which, in the early 20th century, forced their entire African American populations to leave, explores what—if anything—can be done to repair past racial injustice. World Premiere.

    CHASING GHOSTS (Director: Lincoln Ruchti)—Twin Galaxies Arcade, Iowa, 1982: the birthplace of mankind’s obsession with video games. The fate of this world lies in the hands (literally) of a few unlikely heroes: They are the Original Video Game World Champions and the arcade is their battleground.
    World Premiere.

    CRAZY LOVE (Director: Dan Klores)—An unsettling true story about an obsessive relationship between a married man and a beautiful, single 20-year-old woman, which began in 1957 and continues today.
    World Premiere.

    EVERYTHING’S COOL (Directors: Judith Helfand, Daniel B. Gold)—A group of self-appointed global warming messengers are on a high stakes quest to find the iconic image, proper language, and points of leverage to help the public go from embracing the urgency of the problem to creating the political will necessary to move to an alternative energy economy. World Premiere.

    FOR THE BIBLE TELLS ME SO (Director: Daniel Karslake)—Grounded by the stories of five conservative Christian families, the film explores how the religious right has used its interpretation of the Bible to support its agenda of stigmatizing the gay community and eroding the separation between church and state. World Premiere.

    GHOSTS OF ABU GHRAIB (Director: Rory Kennedy)—This inside look at the abuses that occurred at the infamous Iraqi prison in the fall of 2003 uses direct, personal narratives of perpetrators, witnesses, and victims to probe the effects of the abuses on all involved. World Premiere.

    GIRL 27 (Director: David Stenn)—When underage dancer Patricia Douglas is raped at a wild MGM stag party in 1937, she makes headlines and legal history, and then disappears. GIRL 27 follows author-screenwriter David Stenn as he investigates one of Hollywood’s most notorious scandals. World Premiere.

    HEAR AND NOW (Director: Irene Taylor Brodsky)—Filmmaker Irene Taylor Brodsky tells a deeply personal story about her deaf parents, and their radical decision—after 65 years of silence—to undergo cochlear implant surgery, a complex procedure that could give them the ability to hear. World Premiere.

    MANDA BALA (SEND A BULLET) (Director: Jason Kohn)—In Brazil, known as one of the world’s most corrupt and violent countries, MANDA BALA follows a politician who uses a frog farm to steal billions of dollars, a wealthy businessman who spends a small fortune bulletproofing his cars, and a plastic surgeon who reconstructs the ears of mutilated kidnapping victims. World Premiere.

    MY KID COULD PAINT THAT (Director: Amir Bar-Lev)—A 4-year-old girl whose paintings are compared to Kandinsky, Pollock and even Picasso, has sold $300,000 dollars worth of paintings. Is she a genius of abstract expressionism, a tiny charlatan, or an exploited child whose parents have sold her out for the glare of the media and the lure of the almighty dollar? World Premiere.

    NANKING (Director: Bill Guttentag, Dan Sturman)—A powerful and haunting depiction of the atrocities suffered by the Chinese at the hands of the invading Japanese army during “The Rape of Nanking”, one of the most tragic events of WWII. While more than 200,000 Chinese were murdered and ten of thousands raped, a handful of Westerners performed extraordinary acts of heroism, saving over 250,000 lives in the midst of the horror. World Premiere.

    NO END IN SIGHT (Director: Charles Ferguson)—A comprehensive examination of the Bush Administration’s conduct of the Iraq war and occupation. Featuring first-time interviews with key participants, the film creates a startlingly clear reconstruction of key decisions that led to the current state of affairs in this war-torn country. World Premiere.

    PROTAGONIST (Director: Jessica Yu)—PROTAGONIST explores the organic relationship between human life and Euripidean dramatic structure by weaving together the stories of four men—a German terrorist, a bank robber, an “ex-gay” evangelist, and a martial arts student. World Premiere.

    CHASING GHOSTS (Director: Lincoln Ruchti)—Twin Galaxies Arcade, Iowa, 1982: the birthplace of mankind’s obsession with video games. The fate of this world lies in the hands (literally) of a few unlikely heroes: They are the Original Video Game World Champions and the arcade is their battleground.
    World Premiere.

    WAR DANCE (Director: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix Fine)—Devastated by the long civil war in Uganda, three young girls and their school in the Patongo refugee camp find hope as they make a historic journey to compete in their country’s national music and dance festival. World Premiere.

    WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN: THE DESTRUCTION OF HIROSHIMA AND NAGASAKI
    (Director: Steven Okazaki)—WHITE LIGHT/BLACK RAIN offers a visceral, topical and moving portrait of the human cost of atomic warfare. World Premiere.

    ZOO (Director: Robinson Devor)—A humanizing look at the life and bizarre death of a seemingly normal Seattle family man who met his untimely end after an unusual encounter with a horse. World Premiere.

    WORLD CINEMA COMPETITION: DOCUMENTARY
    The last decade has seen an explosion of interest in American documentaries, yet American audiences enjoy few opportunities to view documentaries from beyond their own borders. The 16 films represent 13 countries including Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, the Netherlands, Tunisia, and the United Kingdom. The films in this year’s competition are an eclectic mix exploring topics in ways that transcend geographic, political and cultural boundaries. The subjects include explorations of life’s struggles and tragedies, human space exploration, the impact of the war on drugs, women’s role in the government of Afghanistan, the life of a U.S. defector during the Cold War, the effects of Israel’s incarceration of Palestinians, a British gangster’s trials and tribulations, and the creative and uniting power of cinema. With their thematic and aesthetic range, these films invite us to glimpse the astounding breadth and complexity of the human experience.

    The 16 films were selected from 506 submissions. The films screening in World Cinema Documentary Competition are:

    ACIDENTE / Brazil (Director: Cao Guimarães and Pablo Lobato)—Experimental in form, this lush cinematic poem weaves together stories and images from twenty different cities in the state of Menas Gerais, Brazil, to reveal the fundamental role the accidental and the unpredictable play in everyday human life. North American Premiere.

    BAJO JUAREZ, THE CITY DEVOURING ITS DAUGHTERS / Mexico (Director: Alejandra Sanchez)—In an industrial town in Mexico near the US border, hundreds of women have been sexually abused and murdered. As the body count continues to rise, a web of corruption unfolds that reaches the highest levels of Mexican society. U.S. Premiere.

    COCALERO / Bolivia (Director: Alejandro Landes)—Set against the backdrop of the Bolivian government’s attempted eradication of the coca crop and oppression of the indigenous groups that cultivate it and the American war on drugs, an Aymara Indian named Evo Morales travels through the Andes and the Amazon in jeans and sneakers, leading a historic campaign to become the first indigenous president of Bolivia. World Premiere.

    COMRADES IN DREAMS / Germany (Director: Uli Gaulke)—From the far ends of the globe, four lives that could not be more different are united by a single passion—their unconditional love of cinema and their quest to bring the magic of the silver screen to everyday lives to those who need it most.
    North American Premiere.

    CROSSING THE LINE / UK (Director: Daniel Gordon)—CROSSING THE LINE reveals the clandestine life of Joseph Dresnok who, at the height of the Cold War was one of the few Americans who defected to North Korea, one of the least understood countries in the world.
    North American Premiere.

    ENEMIES OF HAPPINESS (VORES LYKKES FJENDER) / Denmark (Director: Eva Mulvad and Anja Al Erhayem )—Malalai Joya, a 28-year-old Afghani woman, redefines the role of women and elected officials in her county with her historic 2005 victory in Afghanistan’s first democratic parliamentary election in over 30 years. North American Premiere.

    THE FUTURE IS UNWRITTEN / Ireland/UK ( Director: Julien Temple)—An invitation from Joe Strummer, the Punk Rock Warlord himself, to journey beyond the myth to the heart and voice of a generation. His life, our times, his music. World Premiere.

    HOT HOUSE / Israel (Director: Shimon Dotan)—At once chilling and humanizing, HOT HOUSE provides an unprecedented look at how Israeli prisons have become the breeding ground for the next generation of Palestinian leaders as well as the birth place of future terrorist threats.
    North American Premiere.

    IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON
    / UK (Director: David Sington)—One of the defining passages of American history, the Apollo Space Program literally brought the aspirations of a nation to another world. Awe-inspiring footage and candid interviews with the astronauts who visited the moon provide an unparalleled perspective on the precious state of our planet. World Premiere.

    MANUFACTURED LANDSCAPES / Canada (Director: Jennifer Baichwal)—This stunningly visual work provides the unique perspective of photographer Edward Burtynsky, who chronicles the transforming landscape of the world due to industrial work and manufacturing. U.S. Premiere.

    THE MONASTERY: MR. VIG AND THE NUN / Denmark ( Director: Pernille Rose Grønkjær)— Worlds collide, tempers flare and dreams are realized when Mr. Vig, an 82-year-old virgin from Denmark and Sister Ambrosija, a headstrong Russian nun, join forces to transform Mr. Vig’s run-down castle into an Orthodox Russian monastery. North American Premiere.

    ON A TIGHTROPE / Norway, Canada (Director: Petr Lom)—The daily lives of four children living in an orphanage who are learning the ancient art of tightrope walking becomes a metaphor for the struggle of the Uighur’s, China’s largest Muslim minority, who are torn between religion and the teachings of communism. North American Premiere.

    THREE COMRADES (DRIE KAMERADEN) / Netherlands (Director: Masha Novikova)—In this intimate film we witness the lives of three lifelong friends who’s worlds are torn apart by war in Chechnya’s bloody struggle for independence. North American Premiere.

    A VERY BRITISH GANGSTER / UK (Director: Donal MacIntyre)—Given his many contradictions, Dominic Noonan, head of one of Britain’s biggest crime families, is a man who defies stereotypes. This close up look at his life, from gun trials to the murder of his brother on the streets of Manchester, reveals a community struggling with poverty, violence and drugs. World Premiere.

    VHS—KAHLOUCHA / Tunisia (Director: Nejib Belkadhi)—In a poor district of Tunisia, self-made auteur, Moncef Kahloucha, a guerilla filmmaker in the purest sense, demonstrates that it takes a village to make fun movies as he brings the power of cinema to the people.
    North American Premiere.

    WELCOME EUROPA / France (Director: Bruno Ulmer)—Kurdish, Moroccan and Romanian young men migrate to Europe for a better life only to face the harsh realities and the laws of survival on the streets of a foreign land. North American Premiere.

    Festival films screen in nine sections: Documentary Competition, Dramatic Competition, World Cinema Documentary Competition, World Cinema Dramatic Competition, Spectrum, New Frontier, Park City at Midnight, From the Sundance Collection and Premieres. Feature films selected for the Premieres, Spectrum, Park City at Midnight, New Frontier and From The Sundance Collection categories will be announced tomorrow, Thursday, November 30. The Short Film program will be announced on Wednesday, December 6.

    American films selected to screen in Dramatic and Documentary Competition are eligible for a number of jury awards including Grand Jury Prizes, Cinematography Awards and Directing Awards. Other jury awards include the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award sponsored by Utah Film Commission and presented to a film in Dramatic Competition, and the Documentary Editing Award which is presented to the editor of a film in Documentary Competition. The Alfred P. Sloan Prize is presented to an outstanding dramatic feature film for the quality of its presentation of science or technology themes. Films in the Independent Film Competition are also eligible for the Dramatic and Documentary Audience Awards. Films screening in the World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competition are eligible for the World Cinema Jury Prizes and World Cinema Audience Awards.

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