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Annual Top Films Lists

Top 100 Most Anticipated Films of 2013: #52. Zal Batmanglij’s The East

The East

Director: Zal Batmanglij
Writer(s): Batmanglif and Brit Marling
Producer(s): Marling, Michael Costigan, Jocelyn Hayes, Ridley Scott, Tony Scott
U.S. Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Cast: Ellen Page, Alexander Skarsgård, Patricia Clarkson, Brit Marling, Julia Ormond, Toby Kebbell, Shiloh Fernandez

Thanks to his remarkable directing debut with 2011’s Sound of My Voice, Zal Batmanglij quickly found himself in a deal where the cash was frotned for his second project – and no other than Fox Searchlight was the one putting a cash down on his sophomore feature — this is rarely how things work in the indie biz these days. Loads of time to prep on The East, meant that a second Sundance berth is upon us – and his good luck charm in writer/actress rejoins the filmmaker but this time we’ve got Alexander Skarsgård, Ellen Page, Julia Ormond, Patricia Clarkson, Toby Kebbell and Shiloh Fernandez joining the pic. Should be an interesting precursor of sorts to Kelly Reichardt’s film.

Gist: Co-written by Brit Marling and Zal Batmanglij, this centers on a private contracting firm tasked with protecting big corporations from radical environmentalists and anti-business extremists, who tasks its best and brightest agent, Sarah Moss (Marling), to infiltrate a mysterious terrorist organization known only as ‘The East’.

Release Date: Sundance Film Festival premiere in the Premieres category. Searchlight will likely give this a summer release.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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