Here are the indie films from this year's festival that star a few familiar faces:
Any Day Now
Well-known Actors: Alan Cumming ("The Good Wife"), Garret Dillahunt ("Raising Hope")
Plot: Kept up all night by his neighbor's music, aspiring singer Rudy (Cumming) pounds on the door to discover his neighbor's son Marco, a teenager with Down syndrome, left alone by his drug addicted mother with only the blaring stereo to keep him company. Family Services takes Marco, but days later Rudy sees him on the street and brings him home, where Rudy and his closeted district attorney partner Paul (Dillahunt) become the stable family environment Marco's never had. But when authorities discover Rudy and Paul are gay, the men must battle a biased legal system to adopt the child they have come to love as their own.
As Luck Would Have It
Well-known Actor: Salma Hayek
Plot: Once upon a time Roberto (Spanish comic José Mota) had a promising career in advertising. But the economy has kept him out of work for a long time, and he's struggling to hide his family's dire economic situation from his adoring wife Luisa (Hayek), who dotes on him job or no job. When his latest interview goes nowhere, his spirit seems irrevocably dampened. Then a freak accident suddenly puts Roberto at the center of a media frenzy. The enterprising ad man hires a snaky agent to help him cash in on his life-or-death situation, but it's up to Luisa to convince Roberto that his life is worth more to his family than financial security.
Caroline and Jackie
Well-known Actors: Marguerite Moreau (Queen of the Damned), David Giuntoli ("Grimm"), Bitsie Tulloch ("Grimm")
Plot: When Caroline (Moreau) throws a surprise birthday party for her sister Jackie (Tulloch), what starts as an evening with friends quickly devolves into a somewhat less than celebratory occasion, as Caroline divulges an ulterior motive in bringing the group together. But this revelation is only the first in a night that will ultimately change everything. As old gripes are resurrected and old patterns fallen into, Caroline, Jackie, and their guests are pushed to the edge, and their bonds are tested by the emotional mayhem only sisters can wring.
Cheerful Weather for the Wedding
Well-known Actors: Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Elizabeth McGovern ("Downton Abbey")
Plot: On a crisp March morning in 1932, bride-to-be Dolly (Jones) is hiding in her bedroom daydreaming of the whimsical summer before, helped along by an ample jug of rum. Long-lost cousins and quirky aunts are arriving to the house every hour, and the downstairs living rooms are buzzing with speculation about the bride's whereabouts. Exasperated by her daughter's absence, Dolly's scatterbrained mother Hetty (McGovern) is at her wit's end, scurrying around the house trying to quell the relatives' suspicions. Hetty has perfected all of the day's arrangements, but her plans can't prepare everyone for the arrival of Dolly's unpredictable best friend, Joseph.
Well-known Actors: Erica Bana, Olivia Wilde, Charlie Hunnam ("Sons of Anarchy"), Kate Mara (Happythankyoumoreplease and "American Horror Story")
Plot: In the wintry countryside near Canada, smooth-talking heist man Addison (Bana) and his femme fatale sister Liza (Wilde) are on the run with a bag full of cash from a casino job. With a deadly blizzard swirling around them, they split up to make a desperate dash for the border. Meanwhile, troubled boxer Jay (Hunnam) has just been released from prison and is heading home to spend Thanksgiving with his mother and retired sheriff father. A twist of fate sets them all on a collision course, hurtling this icy thriller to a shocking climax.
Death of a Superhero
Well-known Actors: Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Love Actually), Andy Serkis (Rise of the Planet of the Apes)
Plot: To the world around him, Donald appears to be a typical teenager. He's moody toward his parents, awkward around girls, and ambivalent about the struggle to fit in at school. But Donald also possesses an extraordinary imagination and a talent for art that sets him apart from his peers. When he is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Donald retreats into a fantasy world in order to avoid confronting the painful reality of his life. With the help of a compassionate therapist, family and friends who care for him, and a young woman who becomes his first love, Donald decides to take advantage of his remaining days and fight against the sickness that tries to claim his life.
Well-known Actors: Chris Messina (Julie & Julia), Sarah Paulson (Martha Marcy May Marlene), Rich Sommer ("Mad Men")
Plot: Jon is well past his glory days on the football field and now coping with life as a single man in his small hometown of Fairhaven, Mass. With the decision to give up his day job on the waterfront, dedicating himself to a full-time writing career, he increasingly seeks honesty and purity in life. Via weekly therapy and a burgeoning relationship with a beautiful, empathetic woman, he struggles to uncover what happiness means to him. Enter Jon's oldest friend Dave (Messina), unexpectedly home for his estranged father's funeral. Impulsive, attractive, and often dangerous, Dave is hell-bent on injecting some spontaneity into his old friends' seemingly banal lives. Jon, Dave, and their divorced friend Sam (Sommer) reacquaint themselves after years filled with life-defining experiences, pushing the limits of their friendship and uncovering secrets from the past.
Francophrenia (or: Don't Kill Me, I Know Where the Baby Is)
Well-known Actor: James Franco
Plot: When Franco signed up for an acting gig on the soap opera General Hospital, he brought along a crew to film behind-the-scenes action on set at Los Angeles' Museum of Contemporary Art, creating a glimpse into the strange world of celebrity in both its public and private moments.
Well-known Actors: Jesse Weixler (Teeth), Jesse Eisenberg, Jason Ritter ("The Event" and "Parenthood")
Plot: Another rough night at the bar for aimless twentysomething Jillian (Weixler) spells an even rougher morning when her best friend Nancy asks her to cover her all-day shift doling out free samples from Mike's Dream ice cream truck—all before she's even had her first cup of coffee. Her fiancé Danny is "distant" to say the least, and her decision to take a semester off from Stanford Law is feeling more and more permanent every day. But this is just the tip of the iceberg when Jillian's hangover is met with a quirky cast of quirky dessert-seeking Angelenos, all of whom get more sass than they bargained for.
The Giant Mechanical Man
Well-known Actors: Jenna Fischer ("The Office"), Chris Messina (Julie & Julia), Malin Akerman, Topher Grace ("That 70s Show"), Lucy Punch (Bad Teacher), Rich Sommer ("Mad Men")
Plot: Janice (Fischer) is down on her luck. Out of work and living with her well-intentioned but overbearing sister Jill, Janice is struggling to find her way and build a fulfilling life for herself. When she meets Tim (Messina), a street performer whose unique talents as a "living statue" don't exactly pay the bills, she recognizes a kindred spirit. As they get to know each other, Janice begins to feel that she has met a like-minded person who could make her happy. But as their connection begins to blossom, Jill's meddling ways threaten to undermine Janice's first real shot at love.
Well-known Actor: Abbie Cornish (W.E. and Sucker Punch)
Plot: Emotionally distraught from losing custody of her son Georgie and running out of options to earn a living to win him back, single mother Ashley becomes desperate when she loses her job at a local Austin megastore. So when the risky opportunity arises to become a coyote—smuggling illegal immigrants over the Texas border—she takes it. The harrowing experience results in unforeseen rewards and consequences, as Ashley forges an intense bond with a young Mexican girl who forces her to confront her past, accept the mistakes she's made, and look to the future.
Well-known Actors: Hugh Dancy, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Felicity Jones, Rupert Everett, Ashley Jensen ("Ugly Betty" and "Extras")
Plot: In 19th-century London, young doctor Mortimer Granville (Dancy) is fed up with the archaic practices of Victorian medicine. After being fired from yet another hospital for his refusal to kowtow to the demands of his superiors, Granville finds himself working for a doctor who focuses on the treatment of "hysteria" in female patients. As Granville spends his days manually easing the stress and melancholy of his patients, he becomes intrigued by his boss' eldest daughter (Gyllenhaal), a rabble-rousing feminist who shuns the expectations and limitations of Victorian culture. The two rebels build an alliance as they confront a society that is not eager to change, and along the way they encounter the possibility of love and the invention of the electro-mechanical vibrator.
Jack and Diane
Well-known Actors: Juno Temple (Dirty Girl), Riley Keough, Jena Malone (Sucker Punch), Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), and Kylie Minogue
Plot: Tomboy Jack (Keough) and bubbly Diane (Temple) fall head over heels in love one hot summer in New York City. But neither Jack's tough exterior nor Diane's demure innocence prepare them for the intensity of their feelings. When Diane reveals she must leave the city for school in Europe at the end of the summer, Jack pushes her away. As Diane struggles to maintain their budding romance, she must also try to conceal from Jack the increasingly dark and violent visions that have begun to plague her.
Well-known Actors: Rob Lowe, Jennifer Morrison ("Once Upon a Time"), Jamie Chung (Sucker Punch), Julie Bowen ("Modern Family"), Erick McCormack ("Will & Grace")
Plot: Paul Turner (Lowe), a maverick political strategist, can spin even the worst hay into gold. With the help of a bright young assistant and a cynical investigator, he struggles to keep his wayward clients—a philandering Kentucky governor and a California senator being blackmailed—in office and out of the scandal sheets. When Paul's methods are pushed to the breaking point, he takes a gamble on an unlikely client to prove that, even in the bloodiest of battles, sometimes you have to fight clean.
Well-known Actors: Greta Gerwig (Arthur), Zoe Lister Jones ("Whitney"), Hamish Linklater ("The New Adventures of Old Christine"), Cheyenne Jackson ("30 Rock"), Jay Pharoah ("SNL")
Plot: Lola, a New Yorker on the verge of 30, finds herself abruptly dumped mere weeks before her long-anticipated wedding. Single for the first time in eight years, Lola attempts to rebuild with the help of her friends, sweet and supportive Henry (Linklater) and no-nonsense chatterbox Alice (co-screenwriter Lister-Jones), only to find that suddenly navigating the unfriendly waters of dating and relationships makes letting go and moving on much more easily said than done.
Well-known Actors: Selma Blair, James D'Arcy (W.E.)
Plot: Following the tragic death of their young daughter, Mark and Mary Hughes decide to escape from their busy lives to their upscale vacation home in the woods, along with their son. Their attempt to get some quality time together is interrupted when an unusually friendly neighboring family with a hidden agenda stops by for dinner. But what at first appears to be a mere lack of social niceties is concealing something much more sinister. As their violent plot is unveiled over the course of a harrowing evening, a troubled family's bond is put to the test against one man's obsession with achieving perfection—at any cost.
Revenge for Jolly!
Well-known Actors: Oscar Isaac (Drive), Elijah Wood, Ryan Phillippe, Kristin Wiig, Adam Brody, Gillian Jacobs ("Community"), Garret Dillahunt ("Raising Hope")
Plot: Harry is having a very, very bad day. He returns home from an all-night drinking binge with his cousin Cecil (Isaac) to discover that his little dog Jolly—Harry's one true love and the source of light in his dark, solitary life—has been murdered. Brokenhearted and beyond consolation, he vows to track down the dog's murderer at any cost. Armed with a stockpile of firepower in the trunk of his car, he and Cecil embark on a frenzied, alcohol-fueled wild-goose chase, leaving a bloody path of destruction in their wake.
Struck by Lightning
Well-known Actors: Chris Colfer ("Glee"), Allison Janney, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Hendricks ("Mad Men"), Sarah Hyland ("Modern Family"), Allie Grant ("Suburgatory"), Rebel Wilson (Bridesmaids), Ashley Rickards ("Awkward"), Carter Jenkins (Valentine's Day), Angela Kinsey ("The Office")
Plot: Even being killed by a bolt of lightning won't keep budding young journalist Carson Phillips (Colfer) quiet. Trapped by his small-minded town, this outspoken high school senior recounts the last few weeks of his life through a series of upbeat flashbacks in this playful and energetic comedy written by Colfer himself. As his death date readily approaches, Carson struggles to keep it together while waiting on an admission letter from his dream college—his ticket out of banality.
Take this Waltz
Well-known Actors: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Sarah Silverman
Plot: Margot (Williams) and Lou (Rogen) are a happily married couple living a quiet, comfortable existence. Their marriage is filled with love, companionship, and humor, but after years of being together, they have settled for contentment and security over excitement. Their life is thrown out of order when Margot falls in love with a handsome and charismatic neighbor, and she is forced to choose between the comfort of the familiar and the exhilaration of the unknown.
Well-known Actor: Freida Pinto
Plot: A peasant woman, who lives with her large family in rural India, meets a young British businessman, Jay. Circumstances will bring them together but social and cultural pressure will make their romance difficult. Trishna ends up being left behind as her lover reveals himself to be more and more sadistic.
While We Were Here
Well-known Actors: Kate Bosworth, Iddo Goldberg ("Secret Diary of a Call Girl"), Jamie Blackley (Snow White and the Huntsman)
Plot: In this tightly crafted relationship drama, Jane and her husband Leonard (Goldberg) travel to Naples—where Leonard is playing viola with the local orchestra—hoping to reinvigorate their silently disintegrating marriage and escape a personal tragedy that hangs heavily between them. Jane, left alone most days, wanders the streets listening to tapes she made of interviews with her grandmother, seeking inspiration to finish a book based on the old recordings. Facing writer's block, she takes a day trip to stunning Ischia, where she meets Caleb (Blackley), a young American leading a hermetic yet Dionysian life on the island. As the two embark on an unlikely emotional affair, Jane's carefully constructed world begins to crack open and she faces drastic changes in her life.
Your Sister's Sister
Well-known Actors: Emily Blunt, Rosemarie DeWitt (Rachel Getting Married), Mark Duplass (Humpday), comedian Mike Birbiglia
Plot: Jack (Duplass) is still mourning the death of his brother a year later and struggling to get his life on track. His best friend and an ex of his late sibling, Iris (Blunt) intervenes and sends Jack to her family's holiday pad in the San Juan Islands, outside of Seattle, for a little solo R and R. But Jack is unexpectedly welcomed by Iris' sister Hanna (DeWitt), who has recently retreated to the house to mend her wounds over a recent breakup… using shots of tequila. Jack joins in and a one-night stand ensues, but the fit really hits the shan the next morning when Iris shows up unannounced.