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Olivia Newman's First Match
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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated American Indie Films of 2018: #89. Olivia Newman’s First Match

First Match

Based on the 2000 award-winning short (it played at the New York Film Fest), shot in Brooklyn, the feature film version was workshopped at the Sundance Directors and Screenwriters Labs in 2015 and received some coin from the IFP.  Olivia Newman‘s First Match was a little off the radar when it went into production, but we imagine this micro-indie to a swan song for girl empowerment.

Spotful &

With Elvire Emanuelle toplining and supporting players Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Colman Domingo (he’ll also be seen in If Beale Street Could Talk), we’re generally fans of feature films based on shorts and this H hardened by years in foster care, this is about a teenage girl (Emanuelle) from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood decides that joining the all-boys high school wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father. We’re seeing possible parallels to Anna Rose Holmer’s The Fits due to the sport mixed in with adolescence and identity themes, but this portrait could be flip the script on something like The Place Beyond the Pines in terms of relationship dynamics between daughters and fathers.

Release Date/Prediction: With Sundance now in the rearview mirror, this could possibly be readied in time for Tribeca.

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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