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First wave of Sundance 2014 films announced; check out the genre highlights

12.05.2013by: Kevin Woods

The 2014 Sundance Film Festival is right around the corner, coming at us January 16-26 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah, and the first wave of films have been announced. Today we have a look at the genre films selected for U.S. and NEXT<=> competition below.

For the 2014 fest 118 feature-length films were selected, representing 37 countries and 54 first-time filmmakers, including 34 in competition. These films were selected from 12,218 submissions (72 more than for 2013), including 4,057 feature-length films and 8,161 short films. Of the feature film submissions, 2,014 were from the U.S. and 2,043 were international. 97 Feature films at the Festival will be world premieres.

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

COLD IN JULY / U.S.A. (Director: Jim Mickle, Screenwriters: Jim Mickle, Nick Damici)

After killing a home intruder, a small town Texas man's life unravels into a dark underworld of corruption and violence.

Cast: Michael C. Hall, Don Johnson, Sam Shepard, Vinessa Shaw, Nick Damici, Wyatt Russell.

JAMIE MARKS IS DEAD / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Carter Smith) 

No one seemed to care about Jamie Marks until after his death. Hoping to find the love and friendship he never had in life, Jamie’s ghost visits former classmate Adam McCormick, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead.

Cast: Cameron Monaghan, Noah Silver, Morgan Saylor, Judy Greer, Madisen Beaty, Liv Tyler.

LIFE AFTER BETH / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jeff Baena) 

Zach is devastated by the unexpected death of his girlfriend, Beth. When she mysteriously returns, he gets a second chance at love. Soon his whole world turns upside down...

Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Dane DeHaan, John C. Reilly, Molly Shannon, Cheryl Hines, Paul Reiser.

THE SLEEPWALKER / U.S.A., Norway (Director: Mona Fastvold, Screenwriters: Mona Fastvold, Brady Corbet)

A young couple, Kaia and Andrew, are renovating Kaia´s secluded family estate. Their lives are violently interrupted when unexpected guests arrive. The Sleepwalker chronicles the unraveling of the lives of four disparate characters as it transcends genre conventions and narrative contrivance to reveal something much more disturbing.

Cast: Gitte Witt, Christopher Abbott, Brady Corbet, Stephanie Ellis.

NEXT <=>

Pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling populate this program. Digital technology paired with unfettered creativity promises that the films in this section will shape a “greater” next wave in American cinema.

A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ana Lily Amirpour) 

In the Iranian ghost town Bad City, a place that reeks of death and loneliness, depraved denizens are unaware they are being stalked by a lonesome vampire

Cast: Sheila Vand, Arash Marandi, Dominic Rains, Marshall Manesh, Mozhan Marnó, Milad Eghbali. World Premiere

WORLD CINEMA DRAMATIC COMPETITION

BLIND / Norway, Netherlands (Director and screenwriter: Eskil Vogt) 

Having recently lost her sight, Ingrid retreats to the safety of her home—a place she can feel in control, alone with her husband and her thoughts. But Ingrid's real problems lie within, not beyond the walls of her apartment, and her deepest fears and repressed fantasies soon take over.

Cast: Ellen Dorrit Petersen, Henrik Rafaelsen, Vera Vitali, Marius Kolbenstvedt. World Premiere

LOCK CHARMER (EL CERRAJERO)  / Argentina (Director and screenwriter: Natalia Smirnoff) 

Upon learning that his girlfriend is pregnant, 33-year-old locksmith Sebastian begins to have strange visions about his clients. With the help of an unlikely assistant, he sets out to use his newfound talent for his own good.

Cast: Esteban Lamothe, Erica Rivas, Yosiria Huaripata. World Premiere

TO KILL A MAN / Chile, France (Director and screenwriter: Alejandro Fernandez Almendras) 

When Jorge, a hardworking family man who's barely making ends meet, gets mugged by Kalule, a neighborhood delinquent, Jorge's son decides to confront the attacker, only to get himself shot. Even though Jorge's son nearly dies, Kalule's sentence is minimal, heightening the friction.

Cast: Daniel Candia, Daniel Antivilo, Alejandra Yañez, Ariel Mateluna. World Premiere

Extra Tidbit: Which of these selections are you most looking forward to checking out?

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