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New Yorkers shine at Sundance Film Festival

Sleepwalk With Me, Sundance Film Festival 2012. (Adam

Sleepwalk With Me, Sundance Film Festival 2012. (Adam Beckman) Photo Credit: Mike Birbiglia in "Sleepwalk With Me," Sundance Film Festival 2012. (Adam Beckman)

New York is always well represented by the filmmakers bringing their movies to the Sundance Film Festival. And this year's no different.

While Spike Lee ("Red Hook Summer") is the most prominent NYC-based director to premiere a movie in Park City, Utah, this year, other lesser-known local filmmaking talents have been out in force during the fest.

Here, we spotlight five of the most notable ones. While none of these movies' directors have announced distribution deals yet, we're sure they will, so you'll be able to check these films out down the road.

Also, it's never too early for New Yorkers to get filmmakers like this on their radar.

Mike Birbiglia
'Sleepwalk With Me'

Critics praised the NYC comedian's filmmaking debut, an adaptation of his Off-Broadway comedy about his bouts with sleepwalking. Birbiglia first told the story on NPR's "This American Life," and the host Ira Glass serves as co-writer and co-producer here.

Craig Zobel

Zobel's second feature was one of the most buzzed-about movies at the fest. A study in human depravity centered on a fast-food restaurant phone prank that turns sinister and criminal, it inspired strong, divided reactions and a raucous post-premiere Q&A.

Musa Syeed
'Valley of Saints'

Judging by the sharp filmmaking on display, you'd never guess that Syeed and a skeleton crew shot this docudrama about friends in Kashmir at considerable personal danger to themselves, since the longstanding conflict there flared up again just before production began.

Ira Sachs
'Keep the Lights On'

Ira Sachs is more established than the other filmmakers on this list, having directed four features (including "Married Life" with Chris Cooper and Patricia Clarkson). Still, few non-film buffs have heard of him. At Sundance, he impressed reviewers with this autobiographical, Greenwich Village-set film about a love affair between two men.

'Robot & Frank'

Unlike most of the movies that play at Sundance, you might not have to wait to see "Robot & Frank," a funny and emotional futuristic comedy-drama about the friendship between an older man (Frank Langella) and his health-care aide robot.

That's because it's coming to Brooklyn tonight for a BAM screening, part of the nationwide Sundance Film Festival USA program, in which flicks from the fest hit venues across the country for one night only.

It's sold out already, but if you can get yourself a ticket, you'll be treated to a Q&A with "Robot" director Jake Schreier, an NYU grad and Brooklyn resident. The film (and filmmaker) are certainly worth your time.


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