The Sundance Film Festival is the place to be for young, aspiring filmmakers hoping to crack into the hotly-contested business of the movies. By the end of the film festival, which this year runs from 16-26 January, there are always a selection of film titles that are revived for the following awards season, and this year people are so eager for the celluloid showcase that a number of early contenders for festival glory have been marked before their debut release.

God's Pocket
The dark God's Pocket stars Philip Seymour Hoffman and Eddie Marsan

In thirty years the film has discovered some of the most promising filmmakers out there and continues to deliver, from Roland Joffé’s The Killing Fields in the festival's opening year (1985) to last year's most notable success; Fruitvale Station, the debut feature length from Ryan Coogler. With another 120 films to get through this year it seems more than likely that at least one of the releases will be leaving Park City, Utah, with more than a few skiing lessons and a commemorative t-shirt.

This year's festival is among the most big name-heavy in the festival's long run, with some of alternative cinema's top-rated actors trying their hand at directing for the first time, and some other big names having their latest films premiere at the festival. Sundance regular William H. Macy and Mad Men's John Slattery will have their directorial debut's aired at the festival, with Macy's Rudderless hoping to benefit from Sundance's eclectic audience. Meanwhile, Slattery is directing the screen adaption of Pete Dexter’s novel God’s Pocket, with Philip Seymour Hoffman starring in the dark drama.

Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston star together in Only Lovers Left Alive, whilst two of the biggest comedies debuting the festival will also see some A-listers take top billing. Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd will star alongside each other in the rom-com They Came Together, with Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader starring alongside each other as estranged siblings in The Skeleton Twins.

Only Lovers Left Alive
Only Lovers Left Alive is a romantic vampire film that might not actually suck

Next Page: Which films are the most anticipated of the festival?