The Sundance Film Festival, which announced its competition slate today, often features the best of independent film. It also features synopses of films so perfectly Park City, they're almost parodies of indie culture. This is what makes Sundance Announcement Day the best day of the year. It's like a fantasy camp for indie loglines.
So, for funsies, we enlisted The Wire staff to write some fake, Sundance style synopses for indie films that don't exist and mixed them up with actual 2014 Sundance synopses (most of which look very good, or at least interesting). Can you guess which are fake and which are actual Sundance competition entries?
- Marta, a psychotherapist, learns to accept her dysfunctional childhood when she suddenly becomes responsible for the care of her 13-year-old cousin Emily, who hasn't uttered a word since the accident.
- The Chutes and Ladders World Championship brings an eclectic collection of oddballs and open hearts to Cincinnati, Ohio every June.
- As tuition spirals upward and student debt passes a trillion dollars, students and parents ask, "Is college worth it?" From the halls of Harvard to public and private colleges in financial crisis to education startups in Silicon Valley, an urgent portrait emerges of a great American institution at the breaking point.
- In this modern take on of Kafka's Metamorphosis, Georgia, a 32-year-old blogger, wakes up to discover that she has transformed into a giant beetle.
- Desperate, broken men chase their dreams and run from their demons in the North Dakota oil fields. A local Pastor's decision to help them has extraordinary and unexpected consequences.
- Newlyweds Andrew and Jen must reevaluate their choices — and each other — after the renovation of their new home reveals a troubling discovery about the past.
- When Mickey's stepson Leon is killed in a construction "accident," Mickey tries to bury the bad news with the body. But when the boy's mother demands the truth, Mickey finds himself stuck between a body he can’t bury, a wife he can’t please, and a debt he can’t pay.
- A chance encounter between a bored housewife and a celebrity magician leads to a dangerous obsession.
- Four black students attend an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over an “African American” themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film explores racial identity in postracial America while weaving a story about forging one's unique path in the world.
- Estranged from her family, Franny returns home when an accident leaves her brother comatose. Retracing his life as an aspiring musician, she tracks down his favorite musician, James Forester. Against the backdrop of Brooklyn’s music scene, Franny and James develop an unexpected relationship and face the realities of their lives.
- A young girl takes a cross -country journey with her dog, only to meet a grifter along the way who might be the human incarnation of an ancient spirit, or just the love of her life.
- A depressed high-school principal in Minnesota finds a renewed sense of purpose when a student turns him on to the underground world of rap battles.
- Thirtysomething Grace is obsessed with Young Adult novels, but frustrated by their utter lack of sex. So when she creates a soft-core pornographic film company geared at women who have the same yearnings, she becomes a small-town scandal.
- A lonely Japanese woman becomes convinced that a satchel of money buried in a fictional film is, in fact, real. Abandoning her structured life in Tokyo for the frozen Minnesota wilderness, she embarks on an impulsive quest to search for her lost mythical fortune.
- A 12-year-old girl and her autistic uncle must learn to trust each other (and themselves) as they travel across the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of her dead mother's stolen car.
- A stop-motion animated journey into the mind of Michel Foucault.
- No one seemed to care about Jamie Marks until after his death. Hoping to find the love and friendship he never had in life, Jamie’s ghost visits former classmate Adam McCormick, drawing him into the bleak world between the living and the dead.
- A reclusive eccentric follows a spool of thread through a dense metropolis, where he finds a young seamstress struggling to make ends meet.
- A young woman is stationed as a guard in Guantanamo Bay, where she forms an unlikely friendship with one of the detainees.
Guiliana Layne seemingly has the perfect life. She lives in the city that never sleeps, has a fantastic job as the traffic reporter for New York City news station NYNN, and she’s engaged to be married to J.R., her college sweetheart. Then everything gets derailed when Guiliana intercepts a text message meant for her fiancée.
For answers, please scroll past this photo of Aubrey Plaza ...
1. Fake. 2. Fake. 3. Ivory Tower (director: Andrew Rossi). 4. Fake. 5. The Overnighters (director: Jesse Moss). 6. Fake. 7. God's Pocket (director: John Slattery). 8. Fake. 9. Dear White People (director: Justin Simien). 10. Song One (director Kate Barker-Froyland). 11. Fake. 12. Fake. 13. Fake. 14. Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (director: David Zellner). 15. Fake. 16. Fake. 17. Jamie Marks Is Dead (director: Carter Smith). 18. Fake. 19. Camp X-Ray (director: Peter Sattler). 20. Not a movie yet.