One more article today in our preview of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, I promise. In this final article we are going to take a brief look at this year’s Frontier and Spectrum films. Have a look at the complete lineups below with pictures (click to enlarge).

SPECTRUM
A tribute to the abundance of compelling new voices and the creative spirit in independent filmmaking, the Spectrum program presents out-of-competition dramatic and documentary films from some of the most promising filmmakers in the world today.

Dramatic films screening in Spectrum are:

Against the Current / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Peter Callahan)—Facing the anniversary of his pregnant wife’s tragic death, thirty-five-year old Paul Thompson enlists the help of two friends to help him swim the length of the Hudson River. Cast: Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk, Elizabeth Reaser, Mary Tyler Moore, Michelle Trachtenberg. World Premiere

The Anarchist’s Wife (La Mujer del Anarquista) / Germany/Spain (Directors: Marie Noelle and Peter Sehr; Screenwriters: Marie Noelle and Ray Loriga)—During the Spanish Civil War an idealistic young lawyer combating Franco’s Fascist troops is separated from his wife and children. Cast: Maria Valverde, Juan Diego Botto, Nina Hoss, Ivana Baquero, Jean-Marc Barr. North American Premiere

Barking Water / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Sterlin Harjo)—Irene and Frankie have had a tumultuous relationship for forty years. As Frankie lies on his deathbed, Irene comes back to him one last time to break him from the hospital and take him home. Cast: Richard Ray Whitman, Casey Camp-Horenik. World Premiere

Children of Invention / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Tze Chun)—Two young children are left to fend for themselves when their mother is arrested for unwittingly taking part in an illegal pyramid scheme. Cast: Cindy Cheung, Michael Chen, Crystal Chiu. World Premiere

Everything Strange and New / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Frazer Bradshaw)—Trapped by a life he never intended, a man struggles to navigate family, sexuality and drug addiction. Cast: Jerry McDaniel, Beth Lisick, Rigo Chacon Jr., Luis Saguar. World Premiere

Helen / Canada/Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Sandra Nettelbeck)—A successful psychiatrist fights her own clinical depression. Cast: Ashley Judd, Goran Visnijic. World Premiere

The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle / USA (Director and Screenwriter: David Russo)—After losing his high-paying job, Dory takes a gig as a night janitor in order to pay rent. Alone late at night inside a market research firm, he discovers something worse than his new job cleaning toilets – a conniving corporate executive has made him the subject of a bizarre experiment. Cast: Marshall Allman, Vince Vieluf, Natasha Lyonne, Tania Raymonde, Tygh Runyan. World Premiere

Johnny Mad Dog / France (Director: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire; Screenwriters: Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire and Jacques Fieschi)—A fifteen-year-old kid-soldier fighting in Africa is armed to the hilt and inhabited by the mad dog he dreams of becoming. Cast: Christophe Minie, Daisy Victoria Vandy. North American Premiere

La Mission / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Peter Bratt)—A traditional, Latino father in San Francisco’s Mission District struggles to come to terms with his teenage son’s homosexuality. Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Talisa Soto Bratt, Jesse Borrego. World Premiere

Lymelife / USA. (Director: Derick Martini; Screenwriters: Derick Martini and Steven Martini)—Set in the 1970s, a unique take on the dangers of the American dream seen through the innocent eyes of a fifteen-year-old boy. Cast: Alec Baldwin, Kieran Culkin, Timothy Hutton, Cynthia Nixon, Emma Roberts. U.S. Premiere

The Missing Person / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Noah Buschel)—Private detective John Rosow is hired to tail a man on a train from Chicago to Los Angeles. En route, Rosow uncovers that the man’s identity is one of the thousands presumed dead after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Cast: Michael Shannon, Amy Ryan, Frank Wood. World Premiere

Once More with Feeling / USA (Director: Jeff Lipsky; Screenwriter: Gina O’Brien)—A comedy about a psychiatrist who undergoes a midlife crisis and pursues his long-lost ambition of becoming a singer through karaoke. Cast: Drea de Matteo, Linda Fiorentino, Chazz Palminteri, Susan Miser, Lauren Bittner. World Premiere

The Only Good Indian / USA (Director: Kevin Willmott; Screenwriter: Tom Carmody)—Set in early 1900s Kansas, a teenage Native American boy is taken from his family and forced to attend an Indian ‘training’ school to assimilate into White society. Cast: Wes Studi, Winter Fox Frank, J. Kenneth Campbell. World Premiere

Pomegranates and Myrrh (Al Mor wa al Rumman) / Palestinian Territories (Director and Screenwriter: Najwa Najjar)—The wife of a Palestinian prisoner searches for freedom. Cast: Ali Suliman, Yasmine Al Massri, Ashraf Farah, Hiam Abbass. North American Premiere

The Vicious Kind / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Lee Toland Krieger)—Suffering insomnia and testy by nature, Caleb Sinclaire reluctantly picks up his brother Peter at college and brings him and his new girlfriend Emma home to his estranged father’s house for Thanksgiving. Cast: Brittany Snow, Adam Scott, J.K. Simmons, Alex Frost. World Premiere

World’s Greatest Dad / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait)—A comedy about a high school poetry teacher who learns that the things you want most may not be the things that make you happy. Cast: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson. World Premiere

The films screening in Spectrum: Documentary Spotlight are:

It Might Get Loud / USA (Director: Davis Guggenheim)—The history of the electric guitar from the point of view of three legendary rock musicians. Cast: The Edge, Jimmy Page, Jack White. U.S. Premiere

No Impact Man / USA (Directors: Laura Gabbert and Justin Schein)—The documentary follows the Beavan family as they abandon their high consumption Fifth Avenue lifestyle in an attempt to make a no-net environmental impact for the course of one year. Cast: Michelle Conlin, Colin Beavan. World Premiere

Passing Strange / USA (Director: Spike Lee; Lyrics: Stew; Music: Stew and Heidi Rodewald)—A musical documentary about the international exploits of a young man from Los Angeles who leaves home to find himself and ‘the real’. A theatrical stage production of the original Tony-Award winning book by Stew. Cast: De’Adre Aziza, Daniel Breaker, Eisa Davis, Colman Domingo, Stew. World Premiere

Tyson / USA (Director: James Toback)—An intimate look at the complex life of former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson. Cast: Mike Tyson. North American Premiere

Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy / USA (Director: Robert Townsend)—Using rare archival clips along with provocative interviews with many of today’s leading comedians and social critics, Why We Laugh celebrates the incredible cultural influence and social impact black comedy has wielded over the past 400 years. Cast: Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Steve Harvey, Dick Gregory. World Premiere

Wounded Knee / USA (Director: Stanley Nelson; Screenwriter: Marcia Smith)—In 1973, American Indian groups took over the town of Wounded Knee, South Dakota to draw attention the 1890 massacre. Though the federal government failed to keep many of the promises that ended the siege, the event succeeded in bringing to the world’s attention the desperate conditions of Indian reservation life. World Premiere

The Yes Men Fix the World / France/ USA (Directors: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno and Kurt Engfehr)—A pair of notorious troublemakers sneak into corporate events disguised as captains of industry, then use their momentary authority to expose the biggest criminals on the planet. Cast: Andy Bichlbaum, Mike Bonanno. World Premiere


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