LOS ANGELES (Reuters Life!) - The Sundance Film Festival on Thursday completed its lineup of world premiere and other feature films for 2008 highlighted by a closing night movie about classic rock band Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.
A host of major Hollywood actors including Tom Hanks, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jack Black and Julianne Moore star in the festival's world premieres, and Sundance has expanded its awards for international films and filmmakers.
Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore said that for 2008, more than any festival since Sundance began giving awards to international movies, he and his staff traveled to more countries in pursuit of interesting foreign films.
"International is something we worked very hard on, and we feel that is reflected in the range of work we have," Gilmore said. "After three years of the competition, we've taken another step upward."
The festival, which was founded by actor Robert Redford as a showcase for movies made outside Hollywood, has become the premiere event for U.S. independent cinema and has built a strong reputation as a major event for foreign filmmakers.
Sundance gets underway on Jan. 17 in Park City, Utah, reaches a climax on the second Saturday in a ceremony where directors, writers and others are honored, and ends on Jan. 27.
"CSNY, Deja Vu" plays on the festival's final Friday night, and Gilmore promised more than simply concert footage of the band that rose to fame in the anti-Vietnam War era with hits such as "Teach Your Children" off their 1970 album, "Deja Vu."
The movie is described as an examination of the band's "connection to its audience in both political and musical terms" in the festival's promotional material.
World premieres include "The Great Buck Howard," starring Tom Hanks and telling of a law school dropout who becomes the assistant to a magician who is trying to make a comeback.
French director Michel Gondry's "Be Kind Rewind" stars Jack Black. It is about a man whose body becomes magnetized, and he erases every tape in his friends video store.
"A Raisin in the Sun," stars Sean Combs and Phylicia Rashad in an adaptation of the stage play about a black American family struggling with poverty and racism. The 1961 movie version of "Raisin the Sun" starred Sidney Poitier.
In recent years, the international movies have won awards for best dramas and documentaries and this year, those honors will include directing, writing, editing and cinematography.
World Cinema dramas include Germany's "Absurdistan," Mexico's "Blue Eyelids" and Sweden's "King of Ping Pong."
Finally "U2 3D," which was shown at the past Cannes film festival, also will play at Sundance 2008 representing the movement toward new three-dimensional and digital filmmaking in the movie industry.