Sundance Film Festival Announces 2015 Premieres Lineup
Variety / 8 December 2014 Back to News
Viola Davis, Jennifer Lopez, James Franco, Ewan McGregor, Greta Gerwig, Jesse Eisenberg, Saoirse Ronan, Ryan Reynolds, Peter Sarsgaard and Lily Tomlin — as well as directors Noah Baumbach, Michael Almereyda, Rodrigo Garcia, James Ponsoldt, Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman — are among the big names in the Premieres lineup at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, unveiled today along with Documentary Premieres and a new Special Events section.
Festival director John Cooper noted that while this year’s 16 Premieres selections will be among the buzziest, most commercial titles in Park City, “they’re not without an independent feel to them, and that’s what I’m always looking for. There is a very independent spirit behind these films.”
By way of example, Cooper cited “Last Days in the Desert,” a description-resistant foray into father-son territory from Garcia, a director known for his stories about women (“Nine Lives,” “Mother and Child”); John Crowley’s “Brooklyn,” an unusually romantic drama starring Ronan as an Irish-American immigrant; and “Ten Thousand Saints,” Pulcini and Springer Berman’s ’80s-set drama about the challenges of parenting in the modern world, a particularly common theme for today’s independent filmmakers.
A particularly provocative-sounding entry is “I Am Michael,” Justin Kelly’s drama starring James Franco as Michael Glatze, a former journalist and gay-rights advocate who renounced his homosexuality and became a conservative Christian minister. It’s joined in Premieres by another film that tackles evangelical Christianity, Jared Hess’ Utah-set comedy, “Don Verdean.”
Hess, who came to prominence as writer-director of the 2004 Sundance hit “Napoleon Dynamite,” is not the only Park City alum in Premieres. Other returning filmmakers include Joe Swanberg (of last year’s dramatic competition entry “Happy Christmas”), back with the 35mm-lensed “Digging for Fire”; Leslye Headland (“Bachelorette”), bringing “Sleeping With Other People,” starring Jason Sudeikis and Alison Brie as serial cheaters; James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now,” “Smashed”), bringing “The End of the Tour,” starring Jesse Eisenberg and Jason Segel as David Lipsky and David Foster Wallace, respectively; Michael Almereyda (“Hamlet”), back with “Experimenter,” a dramatic account of social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s radical 1961 behavior experiments; Noah Baumbach (“The Squid and the Whale”), bringing his latest collaboration with Greta Gerwig, “Mistress America”; and Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (“Half Nelson,” “Sugar”), a poker movie starring Ryan Reynolds and Ben Mendelsohn.
Other Premieres titles include Paul Weitz’s “Grandma,” with Lily Tomlin and Julia Garner as a grandmother-granddaughter duo; Brett Haley’s “I’ll See You in My Dreams,” starring Blythe Danner as a woman who starts dating again after 20 years; Charles Stone III’s “Lila & Eve,” a drama of grief and retribution starring Viola Davis and Jennifer Lopez; Mora Stephens’ “Zipper,” starring Patrick Wilson as a politician who has trouble keeping it in his pants; and Benson Lee’s “Seoul Searching,” an ’80s-set comedy about three foreign-born Korean teenagers.