Sundance Unveils Part of 2004 Slate

Sundance Film Festival officials have announced entries for dramatic, documentary and “American Spectrum” categories of the 2004 festival, which runs Jan. 15 through Jan. 25 in Park City, Utah.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the competitive categories at this year’s festival include big-name actors appearing in films by relatively unknown directors, and a record-breaking number of projects from black filmmakers and projects influenced by Sept. 11:

Actor Kevin Bacon and his wife, Kyra Sedgwick, star alongside hip-hop artist Mos Def in The Woodsman, directed by Nicole Kassel. It revolves around a convicted pedophile who returns to his hometown after 12 years in prison and tries to start a new life.

Courteney Cox Arquette stars in November, directed by Greg Harrison, about a Los Angeles photographer who struggles to put the tragic circumstances of her boyfriend’s death behind her.

John Curran‘s Adultery, starring Mark Ruffalo, Laura Dern, Peter Krause and Naomi Watts, follows two couples who are friends and whose relationships are intertwined.

Writer/director Rodney EvansBrother to Brother is about an 18-year-old, gay, black artist who discovers the hidden legacies of gay and lesbian subcultures within the Harlem Renaissance. The film is one of a dozen projects that center on the black experience or are by black filmmakers–the most ever on a Sundance roster, according to the Reporter.

“We have 12 features that are either about, produced by or directed by African-American filmmakers,” Festival director Geoff Gilmore said. “What’s good is that it indicates that there are a lot of African-American filmmakers working in the independent arena because these are works that would not have been made for studios. It’s really of interest to me to see a whole range of people now trying to produce independent work.”

Gilmore added that some of the entries in this year’s festival are the first generation of post-Sept. 11 films. “These are films by filmmakers that were entirely conceived, developed and then produced following those events,” Gilmore told the Reporter. “The insularity of America pre-Sept. 11 and the assuredness that existed in the world at that time followed by the anxiety that exists in the world we are in now. These are films about trying to find things out.”

The lineup for the festival’s remaining categories and the opening night film are expected to be announced later today. Short films appearing at the festival will be announced Dec. 8.

Dramatic Competition

The Best Thief in the World, Jacob Kornbluth

Book of Love, Alan Brown

Brother to Brother, Rodney Evans

Chrystal, Ray McKinnon

Down to the Bone, Debra Granik

Easy, Jane Weinstock

Evergreen, Enid Zentelis

Garden State, Zach Braff

Harry and Max, Christopher Munch

Maria Full of Grace, Joshua Marston

Napoleon Dynamite, Jared Hess

November, Greg Harrison

One Point O, Jeff Renfroe, MarteinnThorsson

Primer, Shane Carruth

Adultery, John Curran

The Woodsman, Nicole Kassell

Documentary Competition

A Place of Our Own, Stanley Nelson

Born Into Brothels, Ross Kauffman, ZanaBriksi

Chisholm ’72 — Unbought & Unbossed, Shola Lynch

Dig, Ondi Timoner

Farmingville, Catherine Tambini, Carlos Sandoval

The Fight, Barak Goodman

Heir to an Execution, Ivy Meeropol

Home of the Brave, Paola di Florio

I Like Killing Flies, Matt Mahurin

Imelda, Ramona S. Diaz

In the Realms of the Unreal, Jessica Yu

Deadline, Katy Chevigny, Kirsten Johnson

Neverland: The Rise and Fall of the Symbionese Liberation Army, Robert Stone

Persons of Interest, Alison Maclean, Tobias Perse

Super Size Me, Morgan Spurlock

Word Wars, Julian Petrillo

American Spectrum

CSA: Confederate States of America, Kevin Willmott

Dandelion, Mark Milgard

Dirty Work, David Sampliner

Everyday People, Jim McKay

Lbs., Matthew Bonifacio

Let the Church Say Amen, David Petersen

Mean Creek, Jacob Aaron Estes

Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, Joe Berlinger & Bruce Sinofsky

MVP, Harry Davis

Open Water, Chris Kentis

Second Best, Eric Weber

September Tapes, Christian Johnston

Speak, Jessica Sharzer