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Sundance Unveils 2011 Out-of-Competition Lineup

Sundance Film Festival
Jemal Countess/Getty Images

Click here for the complete out-of-competition lineup.

The Sundance Film Festival has sent return invitations to some of its favorite filmmakers, as Miguel Arteta, Kevin Smith, Jill Sprecher, Gregg Araki, Morgan Spurlock and Tom McCarthy will be among those trekking to Park City again in January.

With the announcement of its full out-of-competition lineup Thursday (fest organizers released the competition lineup Wednesday), Sundance has ever more grandly displayed its desire to stock the indie stage with a healthy mix of the well known and the unknown. Even as the narrative and new documentary Premieres section will show work from the above list of established filmmakers, the NEXT (<=>), Spotlight, Park City at Midnight and New Frontier sections will roll out the low-budget and the no-budget along with the gory, the offensive and the weird.

Hands up for Hobo with A Shotgun

A total of 57 films will run in the six noncompetition categories of this year’s 27th annual program, which runs from January 20-30 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden and Sundance, Utah.

In the narrative Premieres section, Arteta (Chuck & Buck) returns to Sundance with Cedar Rapids, which stars Ed Helms, John C. Reilly and Anne Heche in a story about a small-town Wisconsin man that travels to the Iowa title city to represent his company at a regional insurance conference. Sprecher (Thirteen Conversations About One Thing) is bringing The Convincer, which she wrote with her sister Karen, about an insurance salesman caught up in a caper involving a rare musical instrument. Greg Kinnear, Alan Arkin and Billy Crudup star.

McCarthy (The Station Agent) wrote and directed Win Win, which follows an attorney moonlighting as a high school wrestling coach who meets a star athlete and his just-out-of-rehab mother. Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and Bobby Cannavale star. And Dito Montiel (A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints) will fill the closing night film slot with his gritty drama The Son of No One, about two men in post-9/11 New York who are forced to relive murders they committed as young boys. Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Katie Holmes, Tracy Morgan, Ray Liotta and Juliette Binoche star.

Other high-powered casts include Tobey Maguire, Elizabeth Banks and Laura Linney in Jacob Aaron Estes’ The Details; Paul Rudd, Banks, Zooey Deschanel and Emily Mortimer in Jesse Peretz’s My Idiot Brother; Pierce Brosnan, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris, Kinnear and Marisa Tomei in George Ratliff’s Salvation Boulevard; and Kevin Spacey, Paul Bettany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto and Stanley Tucci in J.C. Chandor’s Margin Call.

Also included in the Premieres program is Life in a Day, the Kevin Macdonald-directed global filmmaking experiment that built a feature out of user-generated footage shot around the world on July 24 and uploaded to YouTube. Sundance got involved with the 21st century time capsule effort in its infancy when producer Ridley Scott and YouTube asked fest organizers to participate during Cannes. Festival director John Cooper committed to including it in the program then, but he admits that now having seen about an hour of edited footage he is relieved. “I was sweating it out,” he admits.

Meanwhile, Smith (Clerks) will not only exercise his horror muscle with Red State, but he also got into the gung-ho indie spirit when recently announced that he plans to auction off rights to the film during the post-screening Q&A. As Smith told SlashFilm: “If it gets into Sundance, my plan is to pick the Red State distributor right there – IN THE ROOM – auction style. Might even bring up a professional auctioneer to make it fun and unintelligible. And if you’re a multi-millionaire who can’t make it to the first screening of Red State fear not: maybe we’ll set up an eBay page for the post-screening bid-calling as well.”

Cooper is unfazed by the threat of a little mayhem, pointing out last year’s running mystery about Banksy and his film Exit Through the Gift Shopwas a special part of the fest last year. “I’m always ready for a little theater—it works for me,” he says.

In the nonfiction Premieres section, gonzo documentary filmmaker Spurlock (Super Size Me) returns with The Greatest Movie Ever Sold, about branding, advertising and product placement. Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato (Inside Deep Throat) are bringing Becoming Chaz, about Chastity Bono’s transition from female to male. Liz Garbus (Bobby Fischer Against the World), Hoop Dreams director Steve James (The Interrupters) and Eugene Jarecki (Reagan) will also have their work shown.