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The 2021 Sundance Film Festival runs from Jan. 28 - Feb.3, in Park City, Utah

Sundance and other Park City Festivals news, past and future.   #sundance @sundancefest


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The Comic Touch of Mike White

Monday, January 15----Mike White, whose off-kilter humor and perceptive writing made such films as CHUCK AND BUCK and THE GOOD GIRL major Sundance discoveries of the past few years, is back in Park City with an auspicious directorial debut, YEAR OF THE DOG. In this richly crafted tale of self-discovery, White invests his characters and their comedic confusion with a poignant and compassionate touch that has pundits dubbing the film as next season's LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE.

Not only has White created a rich tapestry for his first directing gig, but he has given the tragically underused former Saturday Night Live alumnus Molly Shannon the first role of her post-SNL career that shows what a deft comedienne and sparkling actress she can be. She stars as Peggy, a happy-go-lucky secretary who lives alone with her adorable beagle named Pencil. Peggy and Pencil have the perfect relationship....fll of love, appreciation and companionship. When Pencil wanders off, it sets off a change of events that change the course of Peggy's life forever.

Aside from the dazzling Shannon, who has finally found a role worthy of her chameleon-like talents, Mike White has populated his cast of off-kilter characters with an amazing ensemble of talents, including Laura Dern, John C. Reilly, Peter Sarsgaard and Regina King. But the heart of this charming and resonant film is Molly Shannon, whose career is finally ready for its closeup, Mr. Demille.

White has honed his indie credentials over the past few years, winning two Independent Spirit Awards: the first for Best Low Budget Feature Film for CHUCK AND BUCK (2000), which he shared with director Miguel Arteta and producer Matthew Greenfield; and the second for Best Screenplay for THE GOOD GIRL (2002), which showcased the dramatic talents of then-television actress Jennifer Aniston and a young newcomer named Jake Gyllenhaal (BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN).

He also has received praise for writing THE SCHOOL OF ROCK (2003), the Richard Linklater-directed hit starring Jack Black; and as the writer/producer of NACHO LIBRE ((2006), a critical hit also starring Jack Black. He will re-team with Black for the third time in the Universal Pictures adventure comedy THEM, slated to be released next year.

YEAR OF THE DOG will have its world premiere on Saturday evening, January 20th and will be released in April by Paramount Vantage, the new specialty arm of Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures, whose debut release is the Golden Globe-nominated drama BABEL, directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu. This Sundance may well be remembered as the year that launched Mike White's career as an indie director of the first rank.

Sandy Mandelberger
Sundance Online Dailies Editor

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Ambiance from Park City Sundance film Festival January 19-29, 2012.

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