Comedians in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival

The Sundance Film Festival has announced its slate of films for the 2009 celebration of cinema in Park City, Utah, and more than a few feature and/or star stand-up comedians during the Jan. 15-25 run in the ski hills.

There's one bonafide film about comedy screening next month: Why We Laugh: Black Comedians on Black Comedy
/ USA (Director: Robert Townsend)—Using rare archival clips along with
provocative interviews with many of today's leading comedians and
social critics, Why We Laugh celebrates the incredible cultural
influence and social impact black comedy has wielded over the past 400
years. Cast: Chris Rock, Bill Cosby, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Steve Harvey,
Dick Gregory
. World Premiere

And I'm pleased as punch to pass along the news that NYC comedy troupe Derrick got their film into the festival: Mystery Team / USA (Director: Dan Eckman;
Screenwriters: Dominic Dierkes, Donald Glover, and DC Pierson)—A group
of kid detectives called The Mystery Team struggle to solve a double
murder to prove they can be real detectives before they graduate from
high school. Cast: Dominic Dierkes, D.C. Pierson, Donald Glover, Aubrey
Plaza, Glenn Kalison. World Premiere

Among the 16 films selected for the Documentary Competition:

Good Hair (Director: Jeff Stilson) – Comedian Jeff Stilson directs Chris Rock while he sets out to examine the culture of African-American
hair and hairstyles. World Premiere

Among the 16 films selected for the Drama Competition:

Big Fan (Director and Screenwriter: Robert Siegel) – The
world of a parking garage attendant who happens to be the New York Giants'
biggest fan is turned upside down after an altercation with his favorite
player. Cast: Patton Oswalt, Michael
Rapaport, Kevin Corrigan, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Matt Servitto. World Premiere

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (Director and
Screenwriter: John Krasinski) – This effort from The Office star is described thusly: When her boyfriend leaves with little
explanation, a doctoral candidate in anthropology tries to remedy her heartache
by interviewing men about their behavior. Cast:
Julianne Nicholson, John Krasinski, Timothy Hutton, Dominic Cooper, Christopher
Meloni, Bobby Cannavale. World

Paper Heart (Director: Nicholas
Jasenovec; Screenwriters: Nicholas Jasenovec and Charlyne Yi) – This is the is it a documentary, is it fiction movie you've heard buzz about in the past week: Even
though performer Charlyne Yi doesn't believe in love, she bravely embarks on a
quest to discover its true nature – a journey that takes on surprising urgency
when she meets unlikely fellow traveler, actor Michael Cera. Cast: Charlyne Yi,
Michael Cera, Jake Johnson. World Premiere

Push (Director and Screenwriter: Lee Daniels)
– Based on the acclaimed, best-selling novel by Sapphire, Push is the
redemptive story of Precious
Jones, a young girl in Harlem struggling to overcome tremendous
obstacles and
discover her own voice. Cast: Gabourey
“Gabby” Sidibe, Paula Patton, Mo’Nique Imes, Lenny Kravitz, Mariah
Carey.  World Premiere

And in films debuting at Sundance 2009 outside of competition…

Adventureland / USA (Director and
Screenwriter: Greg Mottola)—In 1987, a recent college graduate takes a
nowhere job at his local amusement park and discovers the job is
perfect preparation for the real world. Cast: Kristen Stewart, Ryan
Reynolds, Bill Hader. World Premiere

I Love You Philip Morris / USA (Directors and
Screenwriters: Glenn Ficarra and John Requa)—The true story about con
artist and imposter Steven Jay Russell, a married father whose exploits
land him in the Texas criminal justice system. Based on the novel by
Houston Chronicle crime reporter Steve McVicker. Cast: Jim Carrey, Ewan
McGregor, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro. World Premiere

World's Greatest Dad / USA (Director and
Screenwriter: Bobcat Goldthwait)—A comedy about a high school poetry
teacher who learns that the things you want most may not be the things
that make you happy. Cast: Robin Williams, Daryl Sabara, Alexie
Gilmore, Tom Kenny, Geoffrey Pierson. World Premiere

Black Dynamite / USA (Director: Scott
Sanders; Screenwriters: Michael Jai White, Scott Sanders, and Byron
Minns)—When 'The Man' murders his brother, pumps heroin into local
orphanages, and floods the ghetto with adulterated malt liquor, 1970s
African-American action legend Black Dynamite is the one hero willing
to take him on. Cast: Michael Jai White, Tommy Davidson, Salli
Richardson-Whitfield, Byron Minns, James McManus. World Premiere

Spring Breakdown / USA (Director: Ryan
Shiraki; Screenwriters: Ryan Shiraki and Rachel Dratch)— Three
thirtysomething friends attempt to break the monotony of their
uninspired lives by vacationing at a popular spring break getaway for
college students. Cast: Rachel Dratch, Amy Poehler, Parker Posey, Will
, Rachel Hamilton. World Premiere

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

View all posts by Sean L. McCarthy →

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