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2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: A.J. Edwards’ The Better Angels

Here’s what we know on A.J. Edwards. He’s worked in the editor capacity on The New World and To the Wonder and was an “artistic consultant” on The Tree of Life. The Terrence Malick magic-hour stamp of approval will certainly help along in determining where the formerly titled The Green Blade Rises lands in 2014’s film fest circuit (Malick is among the producers on the film as well) and while I wouldn’t call Park City the lieu for presidential biopics, they are prime place for filmmaker debuts. Production on The Better Angels took place in late September of 2012, so one year’s worth of post-production time for a filmmaker with a background in editing means he has time to find his film (if the film needs finding that is). With a small news blurb stating that Zbigniew Preisner helped affix the film’s score. Diane Kruger, Wes Bentley, Jason Clarke and Sundance starlet Brit Marling are toplining, while the child actor who plays lil’ Abe hasn’t been publicized.

Gist: This chronicles the hardships that shaped Lincoln, including abandonment by his father, the tragedy that marked him and the two women who guided him on his path to becoming one of the most influential presidents in United States history. Bentley will play the future president’s first teacher, and Marling will play Nancy, his biological mother, who withstood the challenges of pioneer life. Kruger and Clarke, who play Lincoln’s stepmother and father.

Production Co./Producers: Charley Beil, Jake DeVito, Nicolas Gonda and Terrence Malick

Prediction: Chances are slim for a U.S. Dramatic Competition berth as this comes across a more “packaged” first effort – meaning the film’s budget will certainly be a key factor in determining if the fest section is too small for this offering.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available

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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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