- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 11, 2003

SALT LAKE CITY — The 2003 Sundance Film Festival will begin with a little levity Ed Solomon's "Levity," that is.

The directorial debut from Mr. Solomon, a longtime writer and producer, stars Billy Bob Thornton as a convicted murderer seeking redemption after 19 years in prison. Morgan Freeman, Holly Hunter and Kirsten Dunst co-star in the film, which opens the festival on Thursday.

Movies from two actors who are directing for the first time also are on the festival lineup, announced this week.

Salma Hayek directed Ruben Blades and Peter Fonda in "The Maldonado Miracle," about the testing of a small town's faith when a statue of Jesus appears to be shedding tears of blood.

Matt Dillon directed and stars in "City of Ghosts," featuring James Caan, Stellan Skarsgard and Gerard Depardieu in a story about a con man on the run.

Also premiering at Sundance is "People I Know," a mystery with Al Pacino, Tea Leoni, Kim Basinger and Ryan O'Neal.

Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg star in "Good Fences," about an upwardly mobile family for whom the American dream becomes a nightmare.

"Born Rich," a documentary that survived a court battle over claims from one of the film's subjects that he was tricked into appearing, will screen in the American Spectrum program.

A New York State Supreme Court justice ruled in October that Jamie Johnson, 23, a New York University film student and Johnson & Johnson heir, had the right to distribute the documentary featuring the offspring of wealthy families, including Ivanka Trump and Georgina Bloomberg.

The ruling dismissed a lawsuit filed by Luke Weil, whose father ran the gaming technology company Autotote. Mr. Weil said he was tricked into taking part in what he thought was a school project that "embarrassed" and "humiliated" him and his family.

In the documentary competition, "Bukowski: Born Into This" captures the life of late cult author Charles Bukowski. "The Education of Gore Vidal" explores another famed author, filmed in part at Mr. Vidal's villa in Ravello, Italy.

Dramatic competition films include "Party Monster," starring Macaulay Culkin in the true story of Michael Alig, a club kid who killed his drug dealer roommate. "The Cooler" pairs William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin with 'N Sync's Joey Fatone in the story of an Ivy League-educated man sent by the mob to revamp a casino.

Over its 11-day run, Sundance will show 125 feature films.

The festival runs from Thursday through Jan. 26, and annually it draws about 20,000 people to Park City, which is east of Salt Lake City.

On the Net: https://www.sundance.org

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