Paul Rudd stars in this year's My Idiot Brother

Paul Rudd stars in this year's My Idiot Brother

The Sundance film festival is the largest independent film festival in the US. Held every January in Utah, it showcases new work from American and international independent filmmakers. Featuring everything from drama to documentary, the 2011 Sundance started last Thursday and will continue until the end of the month. Films making an appearance include Kevin Smith’s horror Red State and British comedian Richard Ayoade’s directorial debut, Submarine. There are literally tons of films for festival-goers to choose from, but for us unlucky ones who are stuck at home, what are the films to look out for from this year’s Sundance list? Here are five (including the two above) of the most anticipated:

My Idiot Brother:

My Idiot Brother is a comedy about family relationships and how best intentions can sometimes have disastrous (but humorous) results. A man who’s never had the best of luck ends up having to turn to his family while he straightens his life out. Being passed from sister to sister due to his constant mishaps, he inadvertently brings the family closer than they’ve ever been. Starring Paul Rudd (Friends/Anchorman) and Zooey Deschanel (500 Days of Summer), this film directed by Jesse Peretz has received a lot of buzz recently and is already on the ‘to watch’ list of many film-fanatics.


Ben Foster (soon to be in The Mechanic with Jason Statham) is a satellite-mapping engineer conducting a survey of Armenia. He meets Gadarine (Lubna Azabal), a native Armenian, early one morning at his hotel and together they impulsively decide to drive across the country together. This begins an unlikely love story that will no doubt mesmerize audiences who appreciate deeper films.

Red State:

Kevin Smith is an actor/director most famous for his comedic ViewAskew productions and roles as his alter-ego ‘Silent Bob’. But Red State is far from this. A horror film about Christian fundamentalism/extremism in America starring Michael Parks, John Goodman and Melissa Leo, Red State takes all the conventions of teen horror movies and creates something far more gritty and, hopefully, scary. Definitely worth checking out if only for its originality and an interesting one for fans of Smith’s work who might like to see how he copes at the helm of an unfamiliar genre. This will definitely have a general cinema release in the very near future.

The Silent House:

Another horror, this time from South America and from the filmmaking team behind Open Water. Silent House is impressively filmed in one single continuous shot from a photograph camera and acts as a real-time documentation of a girl and her father as they attempt to escape a house that is not all it seems. Based on true events that happened in a small village in Uruguay in 1944, Laura (Florencia Colucci) and her father Wilson (Gustavo Alonso) stay overnight in a small cottage with the intention of renovating it the following morning. During the night however, strange goings on reveal they are not alone and the house holds a secret they were completely unaware of. The Silent House depicts Laura’s descent into madness as they attempt to escape unharmed. Although it may sound similar to the likes of Paranormal Activity, responses to The Silent House have been nothing short of terror-filled so far. It’s looking good for horror fans this year.


You may know Richard Ayoade as Moss from the IT Crowd, but the comedian from London has recently taken to directing. At first this was strictly music videos, but his first feature film, Submarine, can be seen at Sundance this year. A coming-of-age comedy based on the novel by Joe Dunthorne, the film focuses on Oliver Tate, an intelligent 15 year old with a somewhat  delusional view of the world. Oliver is nothing short of a misfit with a fantastic imagination and one main goal in his teenage life: finding a girlfriend. Anyone with any ounce of taste in comedy will already love Ayoade and should immediately have faith in this film. See it by any (legal) means possible.

Obviously there are many other competitors that are set to impress and hopefully some hidden gems that will be discovered over the course of the festival. When the 30th comes expect a few more films to be added to this year’s cinema listings. It’s just a shame we’ll have to wait until then…

FemaleFirst – Fareed Athman