Because this year’s movies are so last year, the programmers of the Sundance Film Festival have interrupted the seasonal onslaught of award-giving to announce a bunch of movies that may be up for awards next year. At a glance, the fest’s initial lineup is a bit less enticing than the one announced around this same time in 2012. (In other words, there’s nothing as immediately stop-the-presses exciting as a new film from the dude who made Primer.) Then again, Sundance has always been a breeding ground for new talent, and many of the breakout hits of this past year’s lineup—like Fruitvale Station, or 2013’s most successful documentary, 20 Feet From Stardom—had little advance buzz. Predicting what will go over big is harder than finding an affordable hotel room in Park City.
Insanely prolific, Chicago-based filmmaker Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) returns to the festival with Happy Christmas, a movie starring Anna Kendrick and Girls creator Lena Dunham. It will compete for the U.S. Dramatic prize against Cold In July, a thriller by Jim Mickle (We Are What We Are), and God’s Pocket, directed by Mad Men’s John Slattery and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Documentaries in competition include a polemic about fast food, a polemic about college, and a presumably less polemical doc about how awesome Nick Cave is.
The Skeleton Twins reunites SNL alums Bill Hader and Kirsten Wiig, while Kristen Stewart atones for appearing in five Twilight movies by (fictionally) going to Guantanamo Bay in Camp X-Ray (as seen above). And in the Stuff That Excites The A.V. Club category, Alex Ross Perry—who made the gloriously uncomfortable road comedy The Color Wheel—directs Jason Schwartzman in Listen Up Philip.
More titles will be announced tomorrow and Monday, including the star-studded, higher-profile fare of the Premieres lineup, and the usual crop of genre indies that populate the Midnight slate. If any Sundance programmers are reading this, remember: There’s still time to nab Richard Linklater’s Boyhood. Seriously, get on that.