Sundance to open with Australian claymation movie

Wed Nov 19, 2008 11:43pm EST
 
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Sundance Film Festival, the top destination for U.S. independent filmmakers, on Wednesday unveiled the opening-night movie for its 25th edition in January, the clay animation feature "Mary and Max."

In keeping with the Sundance tradition of providing a platform for offbeat fare, "Mary and Max" tells the story of an 8-year-old Australian girl who becomes the pen pal of an obese, 44-year-old man living in New York.

Written and directed by Australian filmmaker Adam Elliot, the film spans 20 years as the two delve into subjects including psychiatry, autism, taxidermy, kleptomania and agoraphobia. It features the voices of Toni Collette, Barry ("Dame Edna Everage") Humphries and Eric Bana.

Sundance director Geoffrey Gilmore called it a "portrait of a global friendship between two marvelously dysfunctional people."

Sundance, sponsored by Robert Redford's Sundance Institute, draws top stars, hordes of media and studio executives, and tens of thousands of moviegoers to Park City, Utah, east of Salt Lake City. Next year's event runs January 15-25. Many of the selections will hope to capitalize on their Sundance "buzz" to generate studio attention and box office sales.

Films in the dramatic and documentary competitions, as well as other movies at the event, will be unveiled on December 3-4.

(Editing by Dean Goodman)