Colorful start to Sundance

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The 25th Sundance Film Festival's slate is taking shape with the clay-animated opening-night film "Mary and Max," starring Philip Seymour Hoffman and Toni Collette.

The Aussie feature debut of director Adam Elliot and producer Melanie Coombs — the team behind 2004's Oscar-winning animated short "Harvie Krumpet" — will have its world premiere Jan. 15 in Park City. "Max" is the second animated film in the fest's history to be selected for the prestigious slot, following 2007's "Chicago 10."

"Dame Edna" creator Barry Humphries narrates the story of a pen-pal friendship between a lonely 8-year-old girl (Collette) living in suburban Melbourne and a morbidly obese New Yorker (Hoffman). The tale spans two decades and is far from children's fare, covering such topics as autism, psychiatry, alcoholism, obesity and kleptomania.

"This portrait of a global friendship between two marvelously dysfunctional people is an exceptionally moving, funny and thought-provoking work," SFF director Geoffrey Gilmore said.

Icon Entertainment International repped worldwide sales at last week's American Film Market and will shop it to U.S. distributors in Utah. (partialdiff)
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