Sundance Film Fest 2008: Films With a California Connection

THE ADVENTURES OF BAXTER & MCGUIRE: THE BOSS (Director: Mike Blum; Screenwriters: Michael Weithorn, Nick Bakay) This animated buddy-comedy chronicles the adventures of Baxter and McGuire, the closest of pals who never leave each other's side. They also just happen to be testicles.

Mike Blum lives in Van Nuys, CA

ADVENTURES OF POWER/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Ari Gold)In his quest to become the world's greatest air-drummer, a small-town dreamer must overcome obstacles and ridicule to save the day. Cast: Adrian Grenier, Jane Lynch, Jimmy Jean-Louis. World Premiere

Ari Gold lives in San Francisco.

AMERICAN SON (Director: Neil Abramson; Screenwriter: Eric Schmid) 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. Cast: Nick Cannon, Melonie Diaz, Matt O'Leary, Jay Hernandez, Tom Sizemore, Chi McBride. World Premiere

Filmed Bakersfield and Pismo Beach, CA.

ASSASSINATION OF A HIGH SCHOOL PRESIDENT/ U.S.A. (Director: Brett Simon;
Screenwriter: Kevin Jakubowski)A rookie journalist for the school paper unravels a mysterious plot involving the class president, drugs, and a ring of stolen test scores in this noir caper set at a quirky Catholic High School. Cast: Reece Thompson, Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Michael Rapaport, Kathryn Morris, Josh Pais. World Premiere

Brett Simon lives in Los Angeles and he attended UC Berkeley.

BIGGER, STRONGER, FASTER* (Director: Christopher Bell; Screenwriters: Christopher Bell, Alexander Buono, Tamsin Rawady) A filmmaker explores Americas win-at-all-cost culture by examining his two brothers' steroids use…and his own. World Premiere

Christopher Bell attended USC and Venice, California is a filming location.

THE BLACK LIST/ U.S.A. (Director: Timothy Greenfield-Sanders; Screenwriter: Elvis Mitchell)Journalist Elvis Mitchell interviews twenty African American leaders, ranging from athletes and academics to politicians, social activists, and artists, providing a series of living portraitsa unique glimpse into the zeitgeist of black Americaand redefining traditional notions of a “blacklist.” World Premiere

Timothy Greenfield – Sanders attended AFI Film School

BOTTLE SHOCK/ U.S.A. (Director: Randall Miller; Screenwriters: Jody Savin, Randall Miller)The story of the early days of California wine making featuring the now infamous, blind Paris wine tasting of 1976 that has come to be known as “Judgment of Paris.” Cast: Alan Rickman, Bill Pullman, Chris Pine, Rachael Taylor, Freddy Rodrguez, Eliza Dushku. World Premiere

Randall Miller resides in Pasadena and he attended USC and AFI Film School. Filmed in Napa, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, and Calistoga, CA.

BY MODERN MEASURE (Director: Matthew Lessner) As part of an ongoing, unaired TV series, an amateur French sociologist presents his observations on a day in the life of two young Americans who meet by chance outside a Taco Bell on October 8, 2006.

Matthew Lessner was born in Walnut Creek, CA and he attended Chapman University. Filmed in Fontana, Joshua Tree, Santa Clarita, Los Angeles and Santa Monica, CA

CAPTAIN ABU RAED/ Jordan (Director and Screenwriter: Amin Matalqa) An aging airport
janitor who is mistaken for an airline pilot by a group of poor neighborhood children weaves
fantastical stories to offer hope for a sad, and sometimes unchangeable, reality. Cast: Nadim
Sawalha, Hussein Al-Sous, Rana Sultan, Uday Al-Qiddissi, Ghandi Saber . North American Premiere
Amin Matalqa resides in Los Angeles.

CHOKE (Director and Screenwriter: Clark Gregg) An adaptation of Chuck Palahniuks (Fight Club) novel, CHOKE is the sardonic story about mother and son relationship, fear of aging, sexual addiction, and the dark side of historical theme parks. Cast: Sam Rockwell, Anjelica Huston, Kelly MacDonald, Brad Henke. World Premiere

Clark Gregg lives in Los Angeles.

CHONTO (Director: Carson Mell)Wilted rock idol Bobby Bird literally tries to buy a friend when he adopts a monkey from a zoo in South America.

Carson Mell lives in Los Angeles. Filmed Los Angeles, CA.

CHRONIC TOWN/ U.S.A. (Director: Tom Hines; Screenwriter: Michael Kamsky)A bittersweet slice-of-life comedy about a cab driver with substance abuse problems who weathers a cold Alaskan winter with his cadre of friends and lovers. Cast: JR Bourne, Emily Wagner, Dan Butler. World Premiere

Partly filmed in Los Angeles.

LA CORONA (THE CROWN) (Directors: Amanda Micheli, Isabel Vega) The contestants are
murderers, guerillas, and thieves. The winner will be crowned Queen, but she won't be invited on a press tour as a role model for young girls. Instead, she will be escorted back to her cell.

Amanda Micheli resides in San Francisco.

THE DEAL/ Canada (Director: Steven Schachter; Screenwriters: William H. Macy, Steven
Schachter)A long-time Hollywood producer on the verge of suicide cons a major studio into financing a $100-million film based on a non-existent script, starring a black action star who has converted to Judaism. Cast: William H. Macy, Meg Ryan, LL Cool J. World Premiere

Steven Schachter lives in Los Angeles.

DEATH IN LOVE/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Boaz Yakin)A self-assured but neurotic 40-year-old bachelor attempts to make sense of his complicated life as he negotiates his sexual relationships in the shadow of his mothers concentration camp experience. Cast: Josh Lucas, Jacqueline Bisset, Adam Brody, Lukas Haas. World Premiere

Boaz Yakin lives in Los Angeles and he attended AFI Film School.

DOG LOVERS (Director: Danny Roew, Screenwriters: Tonya Cornelisse, Graham Sibley) Two potential lovers meet to talk about their affection for dogs.

Danny Roew attended Chapman University. Filmed in Hollywood, CA.

THE DRIFT (Director: Kelly Sears) A 1960s space mission goes awry, resulting in a strange
disappearance and cosmic transmissions. The fall-out of this journey forever changes life back on Earth and launches a counter-culture revolution.

Kelly Sears lives in Glendale, CA and attended UCSD.

GAS ZAPPERS (Director: Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung) A short animation about climate change, where an ironically over-appropriated and fuzzy polar bear, abruptly finds itself in a position to save its home.

Kenneth Tin-Kin Hung attended SF State and lives part time in San Francisco.

GONZO: THE LIFE AND WORK OF DR. HUNTER S. THOMPSON (Director: Alex Gibney)
Fueled by a raging libido, Wild Turkey, and superhuman doses of drugs, Thompson was a true “freelance,” goring sacred cows with impunity, hilarity, and a steel-eyed conviction for writing wrongs. Focusing on the good doctor's heyday, 1965 to 1975, the film includes clips of never-before-seen (nor heard) home movies, audiotapes, and passages from unpublished manuscripts. World Premiere

Alex Gibney attended UCLA.

A GOOD DAY TO BE BLACK & SEXY/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Dennis Dortch) Six progressive vignettes explore sexuality and relationships in the black community of Los Angeles. Cast: Kathryn Taylor, Valley Jones, Chonte' Harris. World Premiere

Filmed in Los Angeles.

GOOD DICK (Director and Screenwriter: Marianna Palka) The tale of a lonely girl drawn from her isolated life and solitary apartment by a doting young video store clerk who strives to capture her affections. Cast: Jason Ritter, Marianna Palka, Tom Arnold, Mark Webber, Martin Starr, Eric Edelstein. World Premiere

Filmed in Los Angeles, Culver City and Beverly Hills, CA.

THE GREAT BUCK HOWARD/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Sean McGinly)When a law school dropout answers an advertisement to be a personal assistant he unknowingly signs on to work for a belligerent has-been magician struggling to resurrect his career. This leads to a journey across the country staging the comeback of a lifetime. Cast: Colin Hanks, John Malkovich, Emily Blunt, Tom Hanks, Steve Zahn. World Premiere, Salt Lake City Gala

Filmed in Los Angeles. Sean McGinly attended USC Film School.

THE GREATEST SILENCE: RAPE IN THE CONGO (Director and Screenwriter: Lisa F. Jackson) Jackson travels to remote villages in the war zones of the Congo to meet rape survivors, providing a piercing, intimate look into the struggle of their lives. World Premiere

Lisa F. Jackson lives in San Francisco.

HALF-LIFE/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Jennifer Phang) As troubling signs of global cataclysms accelerate, a brother and sister react to their father's desertion and the powerful presence of their mother's new boyfriend. World Premiere

Set in Northern California.

HAMLET 2/ U.S.A. (Director: Andrew Fleming; Screenwriters: Pam Brady, Andrew
Fleming)In this rambunctious comedy, a high school drama teacher injects love and
passion for theatre into his students by creating a musical sequel to Shakespeare's “Hamlet.”
Cast: Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Elizabeth Shue, Amy Poehler, David Arquette,
Melonie Diaz. World Premiere
Andy Fleming lives in and was born in Los Angeles.

HENRY POOLE IS HERE/ U.S.A. (Director: Mark Pellington; Screenwriter: Albert Torres) Henry Poole abandons his fiance and family business to spend what he believes are his remaining days alone. The discovery of a “miracle” by a nosy neighbor ruptures his solitude and restores his faith in life. Cast: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Cheryl Hines, Adriana Barraza. World Premiere

Filmed La Miranda and Los Angeles, CA.

IGNITE (Director: Shawn Bannon)The 2007 fires of Griffith Park. Shot with seven time-lapse cameras. An experimental perspective that is beautiful, eerie, and captivating.

Shawn Bannon lives in Los Angeles and he attended Cal Arts. Filmed in Los Angeles.

THE LAST WORD (Director and Screenwriter: Geoff Haley) An off-beat romantic comedy about a solitary writer who makes his living composing other people's suicide notes. After meeting the sister of a recently deceased client, he finds his reclusive life and secret career upended by an unusual romance. Cast: Winona Ryder, Wes Bentley, Ray Romano. World Premiere

Filmed in Los Angeles.

LOVE COMES LATELY/ Germany/ Austria (Director and Screenwriter: Jan Schtte)An 80-yearold man continues to pursue his love life with youthful vigor, risking his relationship with the woman he loves. Based on the short stories by Isaac Bashevis Singer. Cast: Otto Tausig, Rhea Perlman, Tovah Feldshuh. U.S. Premiere

Partly filmed in Long Beach, CA.

MADE IN AMERICA/ U.S.A. (Director: Stacy Peralta; Screenwriters: Stacy Peralta, Sam George)With a first-person look at the notorious Crips and Bloods, this film examines the conditions that have led to decades of devastating gang violence among young African Americans growing up in South Los Angeles. World Premiere

Stacy Peralta was born Los Angeles and lives in Los Angeles. Filmed in South Los Angeles.

THE MERRY GENTLEMAN/ U.S.A. (Director: Michael Keaton; Screenwriter: Ron Lazzeretti)After fleeing an abusive marriage, a young woman sets off to start a new life. When she finds herself an unwitting witness to a murder she stumbles into a curious friendship with a depressed hit man. Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Michael Keaton. World Premiere

Michael Keaton lives in Los Angeles.

MOMMA'S MAN/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Azazel Jacobs) A man who has avoided his wife and child at home has a change of heart after an imposed stay in his own parents' loft. Cast: Flo Jacobs, Ken Jacobs, Dana Varon. World Premiere

Azazel Jacobs attended AFI Film School. Partly filmed in Los Angeles.

my olympic summer (Director: Daniel Robin; Screenwriters: Daniel Robin,M.R. Dhar)After his marriage fails, the filmmaker looks at home video footage of his parents when they were young in hopes to understand how they kept the magic. This film is set against the historical backdrop of the hostage crisis at the Munich Olympic games of 1972.

Daniel Robin lives in San Francisco and he attended SF State.

THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH (Director and Screenwriter: Rawson Marshall Thurber) 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. Cast: Jon Foster, Peter Sarsgaard, Rawson Marshall Thurber, Sienna Miller, Mena Suvari, Nick Nolte. World Premiere

Rawson Marshall Thurber lives in San Francisco and Orinda and he attended USC Film School.

NERAKHOON (THE BETRAYAL) (Director: Ellen Kuras; Co-Director: Thavisouk Phrasavath; Screenwriters: Ellen Kuras, Thavisouk Phrasavath) The epic story of a family forced to emigrate from Laos after the chaos of the secret air war waged by the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Kuras has spent the last 23 years chronicling the family's extraordinary journey in this deeply personal, poetic, and emotional film. World Premiere

Partly filmed in Stockton, CA.

NORTH STARR (Director and Screenwriter: Matthew Stanton) 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. Cast: Jerome Hawkins, Matthew Stanton, Chris Sullivan, Isaac Lamb,Zach Johnson, Wayne Campbell. World Premiere

Matthew Stanton attended Loyola Marymount .

PARIAH (Director: Dee Rees) A Bronx lesbian teenager juggles multiple identities to avoid rejection from friends and family, but pressures from home, school, and within corrode the line between her dual personas with an explosive consequence.

Dee Rees lives in Long Beach, CA.

PILGRIMAGE (Director: Tadashi Nakamura; Screenwriter: Karen Ishizuka) A tribute to the small group of Japanese Americans in the late 1960s who transformed an abandoned WWII concentration camp into a symbol of retrospection and solidarity for people of all ages, races, and nations.

Tadashi Nakamura was born in Los Angeles, lives in Culver City and attended UCLA. Filmed in Los Angeles, Manzanar, Culver City and San Francisco, CA.

QUENTIN TARANTINO PRESENTS HELL RIDE/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Larry Bishop) Quentin Tarantino presents this bloody, sexy tale of motorcycle revenge. It's a modern-day take on 1960s motorcycle flicks, with bikers who hit the road to avenge the death of one of their “old ladies” at the hands of a rival motorcycle gang. Cast: Larry Bishop, Dennis Hopper, Michael Madsen. World Premiere

Larry Bishop attended UCLA Theater Arts College. Filmed in Lancaster, CA.

QUID PRO QUO/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Carlos Brooks)A paraplegic New York public radio reporter becomes involved with a mysterious woman while researching a story about able bodied people who secretly yearn to be paralyzed. Cast: Nick Stahl, Vera Farmiga, Kate Burton. World Premiere

Carlos Brooks attended film school at USC. Partly filmed in Los Angeles.

THE RAMBLER (Director: Calvin Reeder) A stranger takes to the lonely highway with his guitar and traveling sack.
Calvin Reeder lives in Los Angeles.

RED/ U.S.A. (Director: Trygve Diesen; Co-Director: Lucky McKee; Screenwriter: Stephen Susco)An older, reclusive man's best friend and inspiration for living is his 14-year-old dog named “Red.” When three troublesome teens kill the dog for no good reason, the grieving man sets out for justice and redemption by whatever means available to him. Cast: Brian Cox, Tom Sizemore, Kim Dickens. World Premiere

Trygve Allister Deesin attended USC Film School. Partly filmed in Northern California.

A RELATIONSHIP IN FOUR DAYS (Director: Peter Glanz) Coming from a wealthy family, Paul recently turned 30 and has never had, or needed a real job. Lost in his own imagination, he often preaches his grand ideas, but in reality never does much… until he meets Sabine.

Peter Glanz lives in LA and attended film school at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena
Partially filmed in California.

SALIM BABA (Director: Tim Sternberg)Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old man who lives in North Kolkata with his wife and five children. Since the age of ten he has made a living using a hand-cranked projector to screen discarded film scraps for the kids in his surrounding neighborhoods.

Tim Sternberg lives in San Francisco.

SUNLIT SHADOWS (Director: Benjamin M. Piety)A visual mix tape highlighting the simultaneous holding on toand letting go oflost love. Told through the songs and moments of a simple lazy morning.

lives in LA, CA
Benjamin M. Piety lives in Los Angeles. Filmed in Los Angeles.

TOWELHEAD (F.K.A. NOTHING IS PRIVATE)/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Alan Ball)The life of a 13-year-old Arab-American girl is illuminated as she navigates her way through the confusing and frightening path of adolescence and sexual awakening. Cast: Aaron Eckhart, Maria Bello, Toni Collette, Summer Bishil. U.S. Premiere

Filmed in Los Angeles, Chino, West Hollywood and Torrance, CA.

UNTITLED #1 (from the series EARTH PEOPLE 2507) (Director: Nao Bustamente) An enchanting meditation on an ancient species from the future using found footage, cell phone video, and crude chroma key effects to create a coherent and petite spell. The rendition of buffalos made from a “herd” of toy poodles tweaks at our understanding of the symbolic world.

Nao Bustamante resides in San Francisco and was born in San Joaquin, CA.

THE WACKNESS (Director and Screenwriter: Jonathan Levine) During a sweltering New York summer, a troubled teenage drug dealer trades pot for therapy sessions with a drug-addled psychiatrist, and in the process falls for the doctor's daughter. Cast: Josh Peck, Ben Kingsley, Famke Janssen, Olivia Thirlby, Mary Kate Olsen, Method Man. World Premiere

Jonathan Levine attended AFI film school.

WELCOME (Director: Kirsten Dunst) A frightened Cynthia and her family encounter a ghost when moving into a house. What seems to be a threat soon becomes someone with whom to share their home.

Cast: Winona Rider
Filmed in Los Angeles.

THE YEAR OF GETTING TO KNOW US/ U.S.A. (Director and Screenwriter: Patrick Sisam)A commitment-phobic man reunites with his estranged, ailing father and comes to terms with his own childhood. Cast: Jimmy Fallon, Chase Ellison, Lucy Liu, Sharon Stone, Tom Arnold. World Premiere

Partially filmed in Los Angeles.