2010 Sundance Film Festival Out-of-Competition Films: Spotlight

     December 3, 2009


Yesterday we gave you a list of all the films playing in-competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival.  We now have the list of the films playing out-of-competition and they’re divided up into four categories: Premieres, Next, Spotlight, and Park City at Midnight. Since combining these lists would be a lot to read for just one article, we’ve broken it up to make it easier on your eyes.  You’re welcome.

Films in the Spotlight category include Louis C.K.: Hilarious; Rodrigo Garcia’s Mother & Child starring Naomi Watts, Annette Benning, and Kerry Washington; the great-sounding documentary Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks; and Enter the Void, the new film from Gaspar Noé (Irreversible).  Films in the Park City at Midnight category include HIGH School starring Adrien Brody; and Buried starring Ryan Reynolds.

Hit the jump to check out synopses for all of the films playing in these categories.  The 2010 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 21-31st.


New for 2010, the Spotlight section is a tribute to the cinema we love. Regardless of where these impressive films have played throughout the world, the Sundance Film Festival is thrilled to light a marquee for them.

Narrative films screening in the Festival’s Spotlight are:

Bran Nue Dae/ Australia (Director: Rachel Perkins; Screenwriters: Reg Cribb, Rachel Perkins, and Jimmy Chi) – In the summer of 1965, a young man is filled with the life of the idyllic old pearling port Broome – fishing, hanging out with his mates and his girl. Cast: Rocky McKenzie, Jessica Mauboy, Geoffrey Rush, Ernie Dingo.

Daddy Longlegs / USA (Directors and Screenwriters: Benny Safdie and Josh Safdie) – A swan song to excuses and responsibilities, to fatherhood and self-created experiences, and to what it’s like to be truly torn between being a child and being an adult. Cast: Ronald Bronstein, Sage Ranaldo, Frey Ranaldo.

Enter the Void / France (Director and Screenwriter: Gaspar Noé) – A drug-dealing teen is killed in Japan, after which he reappears as a ghost to watch over his sister. Cast: Nathaniel Brown, Paz de la Huerta, Cyril Roy, Emily Alyn Lind, Jesse Kuhn.

I Am Love (Io Sono L’amore) / Italy (Director and Screenwriter: Luca Guadagnino) – A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium in Milan. Cast: Tilda Swinton, Edoardo Gabbriellini, Pippo Delbono, Alba Rohrwacher, Marisa Berenson.

Louis C.K.: Hilarious / USA (Director: Louis C.K.) – Sharp-tongued comedian Louis C.K. pulls no punches in this visceral concert experience.

Lourdes / Austria, France, Germany (Director and Screenwriter: Jessica Hausner) – A woman in a wheelchair travels to Lourdes in an attempt to escape her isolation. Cast: Sylvie Testud, Léa Seydoux, Bruno Todeschini, Gilette Barbier, Gerhard Liebmann, Irma Wagner.

Mother & Child / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Rodrigo García) – The lives of three women – a physical therapist, the daughter she gave up at birth three decades ago, and an African American woman seeking to adopt a child of her own – intersect in surprising ways. Cast: Naomi Watts, Annette Bening, Kerry Washington, Jimmy Smits, Samuel L. Jackson.

New African Cinema – A collection of short films from multiple countries.

A Prophet (Un Prophète) / France (Director: Jacques Audiard; Screenwriters: Thomas Bidegain and Jacques Audiard) – An engaging examination of a seedy, gangster-driven underworld set in a French prison. Cast: Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup, Adel Bencherif, Hichem Yacoubi, Reda Kateb.

Women Without Men (Zanan-e bedun-e mardan)/ Germany, Austria, France (Directors and Screenwriters: Shirin Neshat and Shoja Azari) – A dissection of Iranian society at the time of the 1953 CIA-backed coup that overturned the nationalist government of Mohammed Mossadegh and installed the shah in power. Cast: Pegah Ferydoni, Arita Shahrzad, Shabnam Tolouei, Orsi Tóth.

Documentary films screening in the Festival’s Spotlight are:

8: The Mormon Proposition / USA (Director: Reed Cowan) – An examination of the relationship between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the promotion and passage of California’s Proposition 8 denying marriage rights for Gay and Lesbian couples.

Catfish / USA (Directors: Henry Joost and Ariel Schulman) – When a young New York City photographer is contacted on Facebook by an 8-year-old painting prodigy from rural Michigan, he becomes deeply enmeshed in her life, even falling in love with her older sister-that is, until a crack appears in her story.

Climate Refugees / USA (Director: Michael Nash) – An over-consuming, crowded world, with depleting resources and a changing climate is giving birth to 25 million climate refugees resulting in a mass global migration and border conflicts.

Countdown to Zero / USA (Director: Lucy Walker) – A fascinating and frightening exploration of the dangers of nuclear weapons, exposing a variety of present day threats and featuring insights from a host of international experts and world leaders who advocate total global disarmament.

Life 2.0 / USA (Director: Jason Spingarn-Koff) – More than an examination of new technology, the film is foremost an intimate, character-based drama about people whose lives are dramatically transformed by the virtual world called Second Life.

Teenage Paparazzo / USA (Director: Adrian Grenier) – A 13-year-old paparazzi boy snaps a photo of actor Adrian Grenier, leading Grenier to explore the effects of celebrity on culture.

To Catch a Dollar: Muhammad Yunus Banks on America / Bangladesh, USA (Director: Gayle Ferraro) – Tapping into the success of Muhammad Yunus after winning the Nobel Peace Prize (2006), Grameen America has opened in Queens, NY replicating the banking model program Yunus first started in Bangladesh.

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks / USA (Director: Dan Klores) – Reggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals that solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City.


Home to horror films and crazy comedies, Black Dynamite, The Blair Witch Project and Saw are among the films that have screened here.

7 Days / Canada (Director: Daniel Grou; Screenwriter: Patrick Senecal) – A doctor seeks revenge by kidnapping, torturing and killing the man who murdered his young daughter. Cast: Rémy Girard, Claude Legault, Fanny Mallette, Martin Dubreuil, Rose-Marie Coallier.

Buried / Spain, USA (Director: Rodrigo Cortes; Screenwriter: Chris Sparling) – A U.S. contractor working in Iraq awakes to find he is buried alive inside a coffin. With only a lighter and a cell phone it’s a race against time to escape this claustrophobic death trap. Cast: Ryan Reynolds.

Frozen / USA (Director and Screenwriter: Adam Green) – Three skiers are mistakenly stranded on a chairlift, forced to make life-or-death choices that prove more perilous than staying put and freezing to death. Cast: Emma Bell, Shawn Ashmore, Kevin Zegers.

HIGH School / USA (Director: John Stalberg, Jr.; Screenwriters: Erik Linthorst, John Stalberg, Jr., and Stephen Susco) – A random drug test coincides with a high school valedictorian’s first hit of pot. Cast: Sean Marquette, Matt Bush, Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Mykelti Williamson, Andrew Wilson, Yeardley Smith, Michael Vartan, Curtis Armstrong, Erica Phillips, Adhir Kaylan.

The Perfect Host / USA (Director: Nick Tomnay; Screenwriters: Nick Tomnay and Krishna Jones) – A criminal on the run cons his way into the wrong dinner party where the host is anything but ordinary. Cast: David Hyde Pierce, Clayne Crawford, Helen Reddy, Nathaniel Parker.

Splice / France, Canada (Director: Vincenzo Natali; Screenwriters: Vincenzo Natali, Antoinette Terry Bryant, and Doug Taylor) – Clive and Elsa are young, brilliant, and ambitious. The new animal species they engineered has made them rebel superstars of the scientific world. In secret, they introduce human DNA into the experiment. Cast: Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, Delphine Chaneac, David Hewlett.

Tucker & Dale vs. Evil / Canada (Director: Eli Craig; Screenwriters: Eli Craig and Morgan Jurgenson) – Two West Virginian hillbillies go on vacation at their dilapidated mountain cabin, but their peaceful trip goes horribly awry. Cast: Tyler Labine, Alan Tudyk, Katrina Bowden, Jesse Moss.

The Violent Kind / USA (Directors and Screenwriters: The Butcher Brothers) – A group of rowdy young bikers party it up at a secluded farmhouse when, tormented by a mysterious force, things take a turn for the worst. Cast: Taylor Cole, Christina Prousalis, Tiffany Shepis, David Fine, Joseph McKelheer.

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