By DAVID GERMAIN, AP MOVIE WRITER
Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener warned the Sundance Film Festival crowd she was nervous.
And she proved it in remarks that preceded the premiere of her film "Friends With Money," forgetting to introduce her quartet of stars: Jennifer Aniston, Frances McDormand, Catherine Keener and Joan Cusack.
"Friends With Money" opened the festival to a packed theater Thursday night, with Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford and festival director Geoffrey Gilmore offering remarks before Holofcener came up.
Holofcener thanked many others on the film, executives at distributor Sony Pictures Classics, her casting director and editor, the male co-stars, including Jason Isaacs, Scott Caan, Simon McBurney and Greg Germann.
Then she started to leave, only rushing back to the podium after Gilmore reminded her she had neglected to mention the lead actresses.
"I forgot you guys. They are a very integral part of the movie," Holofcener joked as Aniston, McDormand, Keener and Cusack took the stage beside her.
"Friends With Money" stars Aniston as a lovable, unmarried pothead who quits her job teaching at a private school and scrapes by cleaning houses as her well-to-do married pals (McDormand, Keener and Cusack) offer advice and sympathy while messing up their own lives in creative ways.
The film is due in theaters this spring.
Sundance, the nation's top showcase for independent film, will present 120 feature films during its 11-day run.
During a question-and-answer session with the audience after the premiere, writer-director Holofcener said the idea originated with the thought that money -- and the mix of those who have it and those who don't -- would make for an interesting dynamic.
Cusack seemed to politely disagree that finance was at the heart of the film.
"It's not really about money," Cusack said. "It's about being centered. Money is kind of a symbol of how you are in your life and how you're going to be centered."
And Keener, who starred in Holofcener's previous films "Walking and Talking" and "Lovely & Amazing," politely refuted Cusack.
"I don't agree, because I feel money has a lot to do with how everyone's centered," Keener said. "I think if it were a level playing field, then we'd all see where everyone is at."
Aniston mostly kept quiet, the former "Friends" star offering a curt response when asked why she did a small independent film when she has so many other options.
"You saw the movie," Aniston said, adding she had wanted to work with her fellow actresses and Holofcener.