With regard to their dramatic competition, Sundance state: "One of the most recognisable sections of the Festival, the films in this year's Dramatic Competition employ a range of aesthetic invention and reinvention of genre. From the light-hearted exploration of the darker side of human nature and relationships to stories that address serious issues of class and race, the 2008 Dramatic Competition represents a range of distinctive voices and unique storytelling. This year’s 16 films were selected from 1,068 submissions. Each film is a world premiere."
Choke and The Last Word
(Year: 2007; Director: Neil Abramson; Stars: Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz, Matt O'Leary, Jay Hernandez, Tom Sizemore, Chi McBride)
Before being deployed for active duty, a young Marine takes a four-day Thanksgiving leave to return home to Bakersfield, California. There he meets a young woman, tries to connect with old friends and confronts his volatile home life.
(Year: 2007; Director: Anthony Haney-Jardine; Stars: Perla Haney-Jardine)
Told in three segments, ranging from satirical to tragic, the film is a wildly original look at American manners, prejudices, and family dynamics.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Lance Hammer; Writer: Lance Hammer; Stars: Michael J Smith Sr, Jim Myron Ross, Tarra Riggs, Johnny McPhail), Official Site
An emotionally frayed family find their lives torn apart in a small Mississippi Delta town.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Clark Gregg; Writer: Clark Gregg, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk; Stars: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henk), Official Site
A sex-addicted med school dropout pays his mum's hopital bills by running a restaurant scam... but with her memory fading fast, will he ever find out the truth about his dad?
(Year: 2007; Director: Johan Renck; Stars: Maria Bello, Jason Patric, Rufus Sewell, Amy Brenneman)
The tale of an unhappy wife whose online search for someone to put her out of her misery results in a torturous love affair.
The Wackness and Sunshine Cleaning
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Courtney Hunt; Writer: Courtney Hunt; Stars: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham, Charlie McDermott, Michael O'Keefe, Mark Boone Junior, James Reilly, Jay Klaitz, John Canoe, Dylan Carusona, Michael Skye, Gargi Shinde, Rajesh Bose, Azin Jahanbakhsh, Jack Phillips, James Phillips), Official Site
Two women enter an uneasy partnership to smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada to the US.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Marianna Palka; Stars: Marianna Palka, Jason Ritter, Eric Edelstein, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Charles Durning, Tom Arnold, Jesse Garcia, Katherine Waterston, Elisabeth Waterston), Trailer
Offbeat romance between a damaged young woman and exclusive interview
with Marianna Palka and Jason Ritter.
The Last Word
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Geoffrey Haley; Writer: Geoffrey Haley; Stars: Wes Bentley, Winona Ryder, Ray Romano, Brent Miller, Alison Moir, Jill Sayre, Allan Rich, Kurt Caceres, Mickey Mickey)
The love life of a man with a morbid calling.
The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh
(Year: 2007; Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber; Stars: Jon Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Sienna Miller, Mena Suvari, Nick Nolte)
Based on Michael Chabon's novel, the film chronicles the defining summer of a recent college graduate who crosses his gangster father and explores love, sexuality and the enigmas surrounding his life and his city.
(Year: 2007; Director: Matthew Stanton; Stars: Jerome Hawkins, Matthew Stanton, Chris Sullivan, Isaac Lamb, Zach Johnson, Wayne Campbell)
After witnessing the brutal murder of his best friend, a young African American man flees the badlands of Houston and finds himself in Trublin, a backward, racially intolerant town where he meets an unlikely kindred spirit who takes him under his wing.
Ballast and Good Dick
Phoebe In Wonderland
(Year: 2007; Director: Daniel Barnz; Stars: Elle Fanning, Felicity Huffman, Patricia Clarkson, Bill Pullman, Campbell Scott, Peter Gerety)
Confounded by her clashes with the seemingly rule-obsessed world, a little girl takes her already dysfunctional family down the rabbit hole when she seeks enlightenment from her unconventional drama teacher.
(Year: 2007; Director: Paul Schneider; Stars: Billy Crudup, Paul Giamatti, Kristen Wiig, David Hornsby)
A comic tale of three would-be entrepreneurs who set out to invent a rocket belt. The clash of their mismatched personalities soon dissolves the business into a morass of recriminations, retaliations, kidnapping and murder in this parable of American dreams and delusions.
(Country: US, Mexico; Year: 2008; Director: Alex Rivera; Writer: Alex Rivera, David Riker; Stars: Luis Fernando Peña, Leonor Varela, Jacob Vargas)
Node Runner - if they catch you you're through!
(Year: 2008; Director: Anna Boden, Ryan Fleck; Stars: Algenis Perez Soto)
Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, who last teamed up for Half Nelson, chronicle the journey of Dominican baseball star Miguel "Sugar" Santos recruited from his native country to play in the US minor leagues.
(Country: US; Year: 2008; Director: Christine Jeffs; Writer: Megan Holley; Stars: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Steve Zahn, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins Jr)
Two sisters try to forge a career in crime scene clean-up.
Sleep Dealer and Frozen River
(Country: US; Year: 2007; Director: Jonathan Levine; Writer: Jonathan Levine; Stars: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, Method Man), Official Site
A teen drug dealer swaps spliffs for psychiatry in the long, hot New York summer of 1994.