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Festival Predictions

2013 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Robinson Devor’s You Can’t Win

Naturally, helmer Robinson Devor is a great fit for Park City – a former lab participant, his entire filmography in The Woman Chaser (Sundance ’00), Police Beat (Sundance ’05) and Zoo (Sundance ’07) have been presented at the fest: For his fourth feature, Devor took on the weighty task of adapting what is referenced as “one of the most influential books in the American literary underground.” Unless there are seasonal inserts to be added, we consider You Can’t Win to be full prepped as filming began in Devor’s backyard (state of Washington) in April/May of this year (set pics here). Worth noting is that Michael Pitt makes a return of sorts to the big screen — not since 2007’s Funny Games U.S. had he been on film and its appears to be a passion project for the thesp who is credited as a contributing writer and producer. Cast along his side is Julia Garner (set pic above) who made her debut with the Sundance sensation Martha Marcy May Marlene, and among the crew line-up we find Sean Kirby who was the cinematographer for Devor’s previous pair, and most recently on the Sundance preemed, The Tillman Story.

Gist: Scripted by Devor, Pitt, Barry Gifford and Charles Mudede, this is an adaptation of adventurer (Pitt) Jack Black’s 1926 autobiographical novel of the same name which tells of his experiences in the hobo underworld, freight-hopping around the still Wild West of the United States and Canada while he explores the topics of crime, addiction, criminal justice and human folly from various viewpoints. The drama is centered on the unusual friendship between Black and a young prostitute (Garner).

Prod Co./Producers: Parts & Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy, Robert Scarff, Zach Sebastian, Michael Pitt.

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Competition section.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available

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 1976 (Manuela Martelli), Godland (Hlynur Pálmason), Corsage (Marie Kreutzer), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen).

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