If there is one thing that I love about the coming of the cold and the snow in the late fall here in Ohio, it is that it reminds me that the Sundance Film Festival is just around the corner. Time to break out the winter jacket and pickup my plane tickets as a week in Park City is just what the doctor will be ordering following the Holiday season. This week the Sundance Institute announced that Adam Eliot’s clay animation film Mary and Max, which features the voices of Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette, will open the festival on January 15th.
Mary and Max is the tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. The story is based on the director’s own pen-friendship that has also lasted over twenty years.
“This portrait of a global friendship between two marvelously dysfunctional people is an exceptionally moving, funny and thought-provoking work,” said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival in an official press release. “Mary and Max is the first film of its kind to open the Festival and we anticipate audiences will embrace Adam Elliot’s feature-length directorial debut for its poignant story, exceptional voice talent and technological creativity.”
The Sundance Film Festival will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in 2009, making this year’s trip even more exciting than my first trek out to Park City in ’08. As well, political tension will be in the air on the heels of gay rights activists calling for a boycott of some Sundance venues in response to the Mormon ownership’s involvement in funding the campaign to pass Prop. 8, the gay marriage ban, in California this past month. Nothing like great independent film mixed with protests and snow, I always say.
Our coverage of the 2009 Sundance Film Festival will kick off in January with a full preview of the films we expect to see, followed by our live coverage throughout the festival. So be sure to stay with us.
Along with the opening night announcement, the Sundance Institute also released the first teaser poster for Mary and Max, which can be seen below.