Sundance 2012: Our picks of the festival

Ben Skipper
Yahoo UK Movies Features

Sundance is the first major film festival of 2012 and it’s always a good chance to catch a glimpse of some of the independent films that will be making waves for the rest of the year.

In 2011 the films that won the backing of studios and went on to success were esoteric sci-fi flick ‘Another Earth’ and romantic drama ‘Like Crazy’.

As usual the festival will be host to the premiers of dozens of independent films, and among them are a few destined to make waves. We’ve had a look and picked out our picks of the festival.

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President of the Sundance Institute, Robert Redford said, “We are, and always have been, a festival about the filmmakers. So what are they doing? What are they saying? They are making statements about the changing world we are living in.

“Some are straight-forward, some novel and some offbeat but always interesting. One can never predict. We know only at the end, and I love that.”

Among the festival’s selection are the likes of ‘The End of Love’ starring Michael Cera , Amanda Seyried and writer-director Mark Webber about a young father coming to terms with the loss of his child’s mother.

‘Smashed’ stars ‘Scott Piglrim’ and ‘The Thing’ actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead as one half of a young couple brought together over shared loves of music, laughter and... drinking, who are torn apart from Kate (Winstead) decides to get sober.

Finally ‘The Comedy’ is the hotly tipped film about a man indifferent to inheriting his father’s estate who wastes his days with a group of aging hipsters from Brooklyn.

More mainstream fare (but not part of the Sundance selection) comes with a lighter tone. ‘Celeste and Jesse Forever’ stars rising stars Rashida Jones and Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg as a divorced couple  trying to discover if they can still be friends.

Elsewhere Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan and Isla Fisher star in ‘Bachelorette’ as a trio of friends who discover the girl who they bullied in high school is getting married before them, and that they have been asked to be the bridesmaids. Bridesmaids being the big clue as to what audience this will be aiming at.

Oscar King Colin Firth takes the lead in ‘Arthur Newman: Golf Pro’ a story of a miserable suburban man who fakes his death, pretends to be the titular sports star and with a newfound friend (Emily Blunt) lives a life of breaking into houses and pretending to be the owners. This is definitely not ‘The King’s Speech’.

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Of course Sundance also showcases a lot of documentaries, a genre that finds it more difficult to be picked up by studios then regular Indies.

Highlights of this year’s crop include Peter Jackson’s (he’s producer) ‘West of Memphis’, which tells the story of the police investigation into the deaths of three young boys in West Memphis which lead to the wrongful arrests of three teens who spent 18 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.

‘Shut Up and Play the Hits’ follows the final 48 hours of electro-disco band LCD Soundsystem and its front man James Murphy as they prepare for their enormous farewell show, a three hour epic at Madison Square Garden.

On the festival’s shortlist is ‘How to Survive a Plague’ which details the unbelievable struggle and incredible efforts that turned AIDS into a manageable condition. Also there is ‘Me at the Zoo’ which follows the life of Chris Crocker, who became an internet sensation after his “Leave Britney Alone” video, and the whirlwind of fame/infamy that followed.

The Sundance Film Festival takes place across the pond but expect a fair few of these films to be making waves in the industry over the coming months. Maybe originality isn’t dead?