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2013 Wroclaw’s US in Progress: Mike Ott, Lawrence Levine & Onur Tukel Among Chosen Six

Pierogis and paczkis aside, another thing we like about the Polish is the Wroclaw’s US in Progress initiative, which is already at year three (fifth edition if you include the Paris) and reported by Screen Daily, have selected the lucky six projects (October 23rd-25th) where filmmaker/producing teams will take part in what is essentially: first looks of U.S. indie films for European buyers with a cash prize (post production coin) decided by a jury. Among the noteworthy names we have the likes of Littlerock‘s Mike Ott, Gabi on the Roof in July‘s Lawrence Levine and Onur Tukel (writer on Michael Tully’s Septien, director behind 2012’s Richard’s Wedding). Here is our researched look at the six (of which we can expect a couple of items to end up at Sundance next January).

Happy Baby
Director/Writer: Stephen Elliott
Producer: Jessica Caldwell (Electrick Children)
The Gist: The Kickstarter project based on the novel of the same name, Elliott first broke out as a filmmaker with James Franco starrer About Cherry. This is the story of Theo, once an orphan in the Chicago foster care system and now a grown man living in California. Theo, saturated with memories of abuse and heartache, and filled with the simple wish to understand more about himself, returns to Chicago to reconnect with an old girlfriend from his troubled youth.

Lake Los Angeles
Director/Writer: Mike Ott
Producer: Athina Rachel Tsangari (Attenberg)
The Gist: Also a Kickstarter project Described as the third in his Antelope Valley trilogy that began with 2010’s Littlerock (2010) and will sandwich 2012’s Pearblossom Hwy, this is about a middle-aged Cuban man and a ten year old Mexican girl bond over being away from home in a hopeless backdrop that is Lake Los Angeles.

Some Beasts
Director/Writer: Cameron Nelson
Producer(s): Ashley Maynor and Courtney Ware
The Gist: Starring A Teacher‘s Lindsay Burdge, soon after a young man moves to rural Virginia to escape the complications of modern life, he finds that life in the indifferent and harsh landscape of Appalachia can be even more savage than the world he left behind.

Summer of Blood
Director/Writer: Onur Tukel
Producer: Onur Tukel
The Gist: From the filmmaker of Richard’s Wedding, this is a vampire flick.

Sun Belt Express
Director/Writer: Evan Wolf Buxbaum
Producer(s): Noah Lang & Iyabo Boyd
The Gist: Based on the 2011 short film La Linea, this Kickstarter funded comedy is about undocumented immigration, set on a hilariously catastrophic, very unusual family roadtrip across the Mexican border.

Wild Canaries
Director/Writer: Lawrence Michael Levine
Producer(s): Sophia Takal (Green), Kim Sherman (Sun Don’t Shine) and McCabe Walsh (Burma)
The Gist: After his romantic dramedy Gabi on the Roof in July, this is simply described as genre “whodunit”.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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