We won't know if everyone's coming to the party until much later but the wheels are in motion for the 25th Annual independent Sundance Film Fest. Mary and Max, a clay animation feature film from Academy Award-winning short film creators Adam Elliot and producer Melanie Coombs have already been chosen to open the 2009 festival.
It stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette and tells the tale of two unlikely pen pals: Mary, a lonely, eight-year-old girl living in the suburbs of Melbourne, and Max, a forty-four-year old, severely obese man living in New York. Sounds like pedophilia? Well, the story is based on the director's own pen-friendship that has also lasted over twenty years. "Mary and Max is the first film of its kind to open the Festival," said Geoffrey Gilmore, Director, Sundance Film Festival. "We anticipate audiences will embrace Adam Elliot's feature-length directorial debut for its poignant story, exceptional voice talent and technological creativity."
Mary and Max is a journey that explores friendship, autism, taxidermy, psychiatry, alcoholism, obesity, kleptomania, sexual difference, religious difference, agoraphobia, and more. The film is narrated by Australian legend Barry Humphries and features cameos from Eric Bana, singer Renee Geyer, and Australian music icon Ian "Molly" Meldrum along with Julie Forsyth and John Flaus.
Sundance runs Jan. 15-25, 2009, in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah, for the benefit of some 50,000 attendees who come to see the two hundred films selected from more than 9,000 submissions.The entire 2009 Sundance Film Festival program can be found online.