The influential Sundance Film Festival opens in the US tomorrow (New Zealand time) with a sizeable Kiwi contingent in attendance and international movies made here featuring in its competitions.
Jemaine Clement has two films at the festival where he and Taika Waititi launched their vampire spoof What We Do in the Shadows a year ago.
He's the lead in People, Places, Things which has been selected for Sundance's US Dramatic Competition and he has a supporting role in Don Verdean which is having its world premiere at the festival.
In People, Places, Things Clement plays a newly single dad of twin girls who is balancing teaching and a career as a graphic novelist, while dealing with the departure of his daughters' mother.
Says the Sundance programme: "Lead actor Jemaine Clement's special brand of nerdy cluelessness is utterly charming and soulful, as are the supporting performances in this understated comedy that revels in the awkwardness of breakups and pokes fun at an erudite New York where everyone's clumsily trying to create a new happy ending."
The film is directed by James C. Strouse, whose Grace is Gone - another single parent story, starring John Cusack - won the the audience award for drama at Sundance in 2007.
In Don Verdean, Clement reunites with Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess (whose Gentlemen Broncos he appeared in) in a offbeat comedy about a Biblical archaeologist played by Sam Rockwell.
Sundance regular Waititi will also be back at the festival in Park City, Utah. He's one of the three-member World Cinema Dramatic Jury deciding on the festival's international prizes.
Screening during the festival's midnight sessions will be Turbo Kid, a New Zealand-Canadian co-production which has has two New Zealanders - Ant Timpson and Tim Riley - among the film's five producers.
The post-production on the Montreal-shot film was done in Auckland by editor Luke Haigh.
Described "as the world's first post-apocalyptic coming-of-age splatter actioner with a dash of romance", the film has three Canadian directors, brother and sister Anouk and Yoann-Karl Whissell and Francois Simard who cite Peter Jackson's early low-budget flicks among their inspirations.
Z for Zachariah.
Featuring in the US drama competition is Z for Zachariah, the post-apocalyptic tale starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Margot Robbie and Chris Pine which was shot on Banks Peninsula and mid Canterbury early last year. Director Craig Zobel's American-backed film is based on the novel by Robert C. O'Brien, about a woman who believes she is the last human on Earth but meets a dying scientist and another survivor.
Also shot in the South Island - in the country around Twizel - and heading to Sundance is Slow West.
It stars Michael Fassbender in the 19th century American frontier story about a teenager (played by Australian Kodi Smit-McPhee) on a journey to find the woman he loves accompanied by Fassbender's mysterious Silas. Selected for the World Cinema Dramatic Competition, it's the debut feature by Scotsman John Maclean.
The film was co-funded by a mix of British backers and the New Zealand Film Commission and will be the third feature for Kiwi television veteran Rachel Gardner, one of two producers on the film with Brit Iain Canning, who won a Best Picture Oscar for The King's Speech.
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