- Associated Press - Sunday, January 19, 2014

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) - Associated Press reporters at the Sundance Film Festival share what’s in their notebooks:

FILM STRIKES PERSONAL CHORD : Zoe Saldana and Mark Ruffalo explore the effects of mental illness on a family in their movie “The Infinite Polar Bear.”

Ruffalo and Saldana play parents, Cameron and Maggie, in the 1970s. After Ruffalo’s character loses his job after having a nervous breakdown, the family falls on hard times. Maggie gets accepted into an MBA program out of state and must leave their two daughters in the care of their father.

Saldana said the story struck a chord with her because she lost her own father as a child.

“It sort of had a very powerful impact on me once I read the script because of the whole father and daughters relationship, and that sort of hit home for me,” said the actress.

Saturday’s premiere marked Ruffalo’s eighth film at Sundance.

“I have a history at this place,” he explained. “This will be my eighth movie here and the first time I came here was in 1990,” he said.

“I didn’t have a movie here and I lived in a ski dorm with a bunch of skiers for $30 a night, dreaming about the day that I’d get to go to Sundance with a movie,” he laughed, ” and here I am eight movies later … It’s cool.”

- Alicia Rancilio, AP Writer (Twitter: @aliciar)

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KRUGER‘S SUNDANCE DEBUT: Diane Kruger made her first trip to the largest U.S. indie film festival for the premiere of “The Better Angels,” about a young Abraham Lincoln.

“This is my first time in Sundance. So it seems very crowded and fun,” Kruger said Saturday. “It’s a really neat resort and the movies are a little bit more independent I guess than the Cannes Film Festival’s are. So I’m really excited to be here.”

Kruger plays Sarah Lincoln, young Lincoln’s stepmother in rural Indiana in 1817. Kruger says she learned a new side of the president.

“What I loved about the script was that yes, it’s about Abe Lincoln but it could be about any child who was different, who was curious and who met an adult — in this case Sarah Lincoln who I play — who encouraged him to go to school, who encouraged his talent,” she said. “And I loved the message that no matter where you’re from or how poor you are, you can be a great man. You can change the world.”

The black-and-white film is produced by Terrence Malick and written and directed by frequent Malick collaborator A.J. Edwards.

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