The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is only days away and, as usual, it will be a welcome breath of fresh air for the industry after weeks of award season campaigning and holiday blockbusters.  On the outset, this year's slate of U.S. dramatic competition films and premieres appear friendlier than usual to mainstream audiences.  A number of the dramatic competition films have more recognizable than previous years stars such as "Ain't Them Bodies Saints" (Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck), "Afternoon Delight" (Kathryn Hahn, Josh Radnor, Jane Lynch), "Austenland" (Keri Russell), "Kill Your Darlings" (Daniel Radcliffe, Michael C. Hall), "Fruitvale" (Octavia Spencer, Chad Michael Murray), "The Lifeguard" (Kristen Bell) and "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes."  

The solo directorial debut of Francesca Gregorini (she previously co-directed "Tanner Hall"), "Fishes" features Kaya Scodelario (British TV series "Skins") and Jessica Biel along with supporting performances from Alfred Molina and Frances O'Connor among others. The film follows Emanuel (Scodelario) as she forges a unique friendship with her new neighbor Linda (Biel) who bears a striking resemblance to her late mother.

The Sundance program guide teases us their bond grows over Linda's surprising secret and that "Fishes" "vacillates between surrealism and realism."  No, this is clearly not your everyday art house flick.  You can get a taste of what Gregorini is going for in this exclusive clip embedded at the top of this post.

The world will get a better idea of just what's going on in "Emanuel and the Truth About Fishes" after it premieres Friday night at the Library Theatre at 5:30 PM.

Make HitFix and In Contention your home for everything Sundance.  The entire team will be hitting Park City delivering reviews, commentary and interviews beginning this Thursday.

With over a decade of experience in the movie industry, Ellwood survived working for two major studios and has written for Variety, MSN and the LA Times. A co-founder of HitFix, Ellwood spends his time relaxing hitting 3’s on the basketball court and following his beloved Clippers.