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Spike Jonze short will play at Sundance

December 7, 2009 |  2:46 pm
Spike-jonze1 Spike Jonze enthusiasts will get a dose of the offbeat auteur when the Sundance Film Festival kicks off next month.

A small dose.

The director will bring a short to the festival, premiering his "I'm Here" in Park City, Utah -- and marking the first time in 12 years that he's coming to Sundance with a film he directed. (Jonze did bring shorts to the festival in 1997 and 1998, and has come as a producer.)

In true Jonzeian fashion, though, no logline is being offered. So let your imagination run wild.

The festival, which begins at the end of January, will screen a total of 70 scripted and documentary shorts. Other film-world names who will be showcasing their work in miniature, according to the festival's announcement Monday, include "Married Life" director Ira Sachs ("Last Address"), "Paper Heart" director Nicholas Jasenovec  ("Para Fuera"), "He's Just Not That Into You" author Liz Tuccillo ("Gone to the Dogs") and Austin auteurs the Zellner Bros. ("Fiddlestixx").

A documentary short from journalist Rory Kennedy about the consequences of a 700-mile fence along the U.S.-Mexico border (titled 'The Fence") will also make its premiere.

And the festival will screen the James Franco-directed "Herbert White," a film with a necrophiliac plotline that drew an, er, mixed reaction when it played a shorts event in Los Angeles this summer.

The titles of the Sundance shorts can sometimes feel like a tour through the discography of a Norwegian black metal band. "Chicken Heads," "Meatwaffle" "The S from Hell" and "Let's Harvest the Organs of Death Row Inmates" are among the films playing this year's edition.

But as the festival is wont to remind, the Sundance shorts program also serves an important purpose: it’s the venue where American notables like Wes Anderson, Alexander Payne, Paul Thomas Anderson and Jason Reitman -- and, of course, Jonze himself -- brought some of their first films.

-- Steven Zeitchik

Photo: Spike Jonze / Getty Images

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