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Sundance Film Festival announces star-studded 2013 lineup

The Lifeguard starring Kristen Bell was selected for the US Dramatic competition.

The Sundance Institute revealed highlights of its 2013 festival lineup Wednesday, announcing the titles selected for the US and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary Competitions, as well as those films selected for the NEXT <=> category, which aims to showcase emerging voices.

The programming committee received a record 12,146 submissions this year, up 429 from last year, and has selected 113 features representing 32 countries. The festival will run Jan. 17-27 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Ogden, and Sundance, Utah. A selection of films will also screen at Sundance London Film & Music Festival Apr. 25-28 at the O2.

Among those who made the cut are a number of familiar names both in front of and behind the camera, including actors Daniel Radcliffe in beat generation flick Kill Your Darlings, Kristen Bell in quarter-life crisis drama The Lifeguard, and Rooney Mara alongside Casey Affleck in Ain’t Them Bodies Saints about a prison escapee.

Director Lynn Shelton, who showed Your Sister’s Sister in 2012, returns this year with Touchy Feely in the US dramatic competition, about a massage therapist who suddenly becomes repulsed by human contact.

Regarding the increase in high-profile talent, Festival Director John Cooper said, “The spirit of discovery is alive and well with this year’s Festival. Of the 113 feature films we selected, 51 are from first-time filmmakers.”

Cooper said that themes highlighted this year included sexuality and current politics. “The films, both documentary and narrative, selected for our 2013 Festival have a particular immediacy and fearlessness to them, showing us that independent film is as vibrant, creative and relevant as ever.”

Director of Programming Trevor Groth also said that music-related films had surged in popularity and held a significant place in the festival this year.

Last year, the US dramatic jury award went to Beasts of the Southern Wild, while The Surrogate (since retitled The Sessions) received the Audience Dramatic Award. Both are already contenders in the coming awards season, with nominations at Film Independent’s Spirits.

The remaining Sundance selections for categories including Shorts Competition will be announced in the coming days.

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