The 2008 Sundance Film Festival lineup, or 13 reasons to visit Utah in January


I have a really long to-do list in a notebook somewhere. I call it my things-to-do-before-I-croak list. It includes stuff like places I want to see, books I want to read and things I’d like to accomplish. Thanks to, I can sort of cross off one of those items. No. 67: Get published. Sure, the Internet wasn’t what I had in mind when I added that particular item to my list, but it counts in my world.

Another thing on my to-do list is attend the Sundance Film Festival. If I could manage to squeeze in the time off and barter my way to Utah, I’d make 2008 the year to get that one crossed off the list. The complete list of films screening at next year’s festival was released over the course of the past couple of weeks. Not only do some of the films sound intriguing, but the list of who’s in those films should make the red carpet a true treat. In last week’s Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. we told you about one reason to head for the Utah mountains, a reason named Saffron Burrows. Here are a few more reasons to make the trek.

One of the people I would expect to see strutting about town is Lena Headey. Not only would I love to drool over her in person, but I’d also like to see the movie she’s in that’s screening at Park City at Midnight. It’s called The Broken and tells the tale of a woman who sees herself drive by in her own car while on a busy London street. She follows the mystery double into "a living nightmare." Lena Headey in what sounds like an eerie psychological thriller? Count me in.

Kirsten Dunst will likely be there as well, along with Winona Ryder. Dunst directed one of the short films being screened in competition. The film is called Welcome and stars Ryder, who’s got not one but two films on the Sundance screening list.

The Year of Getting to Know Us, a film about a man afraid of commitment and starring Jimmy Fallon, is getting its world premiere at Sundance. What’s so special about a movie telling such a tale? The cast also boasts Lucy Liu, that’s what.

For some really bizarre fare, I’d like to check out the short film submitted for competition by Isabella Rossellini. The film is called Green Porno. According to the Sundance website, it’s "a series about the sex lives of bugs, insects, and various creatures. The films are a comical, but insightful study of the curious ways ‘bugs’ make love." Um, OK then.

Second on my list of must-sees, right behind The Broken, would be Assassination of a High School President. The film is described as classic film noir and revolves around the class president, a high school journalist, drugs and stolen test scores. All this is set in a Catholic high school and features a cast that includes Mischa Barton and Kathryn Morris. Amen.

I don’t know what it is about her, but I have been fascinated by Melissa Leo since her days in Homicide: Life on the Street. Turns out she’ll probably be prowling the Utah streets this coming January. Her film about a desperate mom forced into smuggling illegal immigrants into the U.S. via Canada, Frozen River, is screening in competition.

For you theater buffs out there, the new big-screen adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun is getting its world premiere too. And the cast includes the one and only Phylicia Rashad, who remains as beautiful as ever.

Sunshine Cleaning, a tale of two sisters who start a biohazard removal company that does crime scene cleanups, is looking to clean up during the dramatic competition. The film stars Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

And if all of that is still not enough for you, there’s a biopic in the documentary competition about the brilliance that is Patti Smith. Yes, Virginia. There is a Santa Claus.

Whew. So many things to see, so little time. And really, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. There are gay films, lesbian films, Eliza Dushku in a film about wine called Bottle Shock, and an animated tale of sex told exclusively from a woman’s perspective, called Teat Beat of Sex. Check out the official festival site for even more details, and be sure to check this week’s edition of Best. Lesbian. Week. Ever. for more interesting Sundance tidbits. The festival runs January 17–27, 2008.

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