Sundance announced the competition films for 2008's festival this afternoon, and let me just say: I am stoked.
This will be my ninth year at the fest, and I don't think I've ever been so excited by so many titles in the lineup. For example, my two favorite novelists are Michael Chabon and Chuck Palahniuk -- and they both have adaptations in the Dramatic Competition category. Chabon's The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is being adapted and directed by Rawson Marshall Thurber (Dodgeball), while Palahniuk's wicked Choke comes to us courtesy of actor Clark Gregg (TV's The New Adventures of Old Christine).
Speaking of actors-turned-filmmakers, Paul Schneider (Lars and the Real Girl, Elizabethtown) makes his debut as a writer/director with Pretty Bird, a comedy about three entrepreneurs competing to invent a rocket belt. It stars Paul Giamatti, Billy Crudup, and Kristen Wiig. How can I not look forward to this?!
While distributors futz around with release dates for All the Boys Love Mandy Lane, a fine horror film that was one of the highlights of South By Southwest this year, its director Jonathan Levine is premiering his next film, The Wackness, at Sundance. It's a comedy about a teenage drug dealer who falls for his psychiatrist's daughter. Again, what's not to like?
The documentary lineup, meanwhile, addresses such weighty topics as steroid use, the oil crisis, the water crisis, rape in the Congo, America's debt situation, government secrecy, the slave trade, and New Orleans. Oh! But there are also docs about Hunter S. Thompson, Roman Polanski, and Patti Smith! So it all kind of balances out, you know?
Sundance will announce the rest of its lineup on Thursday, so check back here for that. In the meantime, we've got everything they revealed today after the jump.... Here are the films that will compete at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, along with their directors' names. Of the 64 titles, 44 are world premieres, while the others are U.S. premieres. Visit Sundance's website for more info on each of the films.
An American Soldier, directed by Edet Belzberg.
American Teen, Nanette Burnstein.
Bigger, Stronger, Faster, Christopher Bell.
Fields of Fuel, Josh Tickell.
Flow: For Love of Water, Irena Salina.
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, Alex Gibney.
The Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, Lisa F. Jackson.
I.O.U.S.A., Patrick Creadon.
Nerakhoon (The Betrayal), Ellen Kuras.
The Order of Myths, Margaret Brown.
Patti Smith: Dream of Life, Steven Sebring.
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Marina Zenovich.
Secrecy, Peter Galison and Robb Moss.
Slingshot Hip Hop, Jackie Reem Salloum.
Traces of the Trade: A Story from the Deep North, Katrina Browne.
Trouble the Water, Tia Lessin and Carl Deal.
American Son, Neil Abramson.
Anywhere, U.S.A., Anthony Haney-Jardine.
Ballast, Lance Hammer.
Choke, Clark Gregg.
Downloading Nancy, Johan Renck.
Frozen River, Courtney Hunt.
Good Dick, Marianna Palka.
The Last Word, Geoff Haley.
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Rawson Marshall Thurber.
North Starr, Matthew Stanton.
Phoebe in Wonderland, Daniel Barnz.
Pretty Bird, Paul Schneider.
Sleep Dealer, Alex Rivera.
Sugar, Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.
Sunshine Cleaning, Christine Jeffs.
The Wackness, Jonathan Levine.
World Cinema Documentary Competition
Alone in Four Walls (Allein in vier wänden), Alexandra Westmeier, Germany.
The Art Star and the Sudanese Twins, Pietra Brettkelly, New Zealand.
Be Like Others, Tanaz Eshaghian, U.K.
A Complete History of My Sexual Failures, Chris Waitt, U.K.
Derek, Isaac Julien, U.K.
Dinner with the President, Sabiha Sumar and Sachithanandam Sathananthan, Pakistan.
Durakovo: The Village of Fools (Durakovo: Le village des fous), Nino Kirtadze, France.
In Prison My Whole Life, Marc Evans, U.K.
Man on Wire, James Marsh, U.K.
Puujee, Kazuya Yamada, Japan.
Recycle, Al Massad, Jordan.
Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains, Gonzalo Arijon, France.
Triage: Dr. James Orbinski's Humanitarian Dilemma, Patrick Reed, Canada.
Up the Yangtze, Yung Chang, Canada.
The Women of Brukman (Les femmes de la Brukman), Isaac Isitan, Canada.
Yasukuni, Li Ying, Japan.
World Cinema Dramatic Competition
Absurdistan, Veit Helmer, Germany.
Blue Eyelids (Párpados azules), Ernesto Contreras, Mexico.
Captain Abu Raed, Amin Matalqa, Jordan.
The Drummer (Jin gwu), Kenneth Bi, Hong Kong/Taiwan/Germany.
I Always Wanted to be a Gangster (J'ai toujours rêvé d'être un gangster), Samuel Benchetrit, France.
Just Another Love Story (Kaerlighed pa film), Ole Borendal, Denmark.
King of Ping Pong (Ping pongkingen), Jens Jonsson, Sweden.
Máncora, Ricardo de Montreuil, Spain/Peru.
Megane (Glasses), Naoko Ogigami, Japan.
Mermaid (Rusalka), Anna Melikyan, Russia.
Perro come perro (Dog Eat Dog), Carlos Moreno, Colombia.
Riprendimi (Good Morning Heartache), Anna Negri, Italy.
Strangers, Erez Tadmor and Guy Nattiv, Israel.
Under the Bombs (Sous les bombes), Philippe Aractingi, Lebanon.
The Wave (Die Welle), Dennis Gansel, Germany.
The Wind and the Water (Burwa dii ego), collective collaboration, Panama.