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2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Kirsten Johnson’s A Blind Eye

As a cinematographer, Kirsten Johnson has been a staple of the festival with the likes of Darfur Now, The Oath and more recently, The Invisible War – a docu about sexual assault in the United States military that unfathomably only got worse since the widespread media attention this docu received. Her (co-directed) non-fiction feature debut Deadline premiered at the fest back in 2004 – so it would have a nice ring to it if she returns a decade later with the Sundance-supported, sophomore effort titled A Blind Eye – a sort of Orwellian state in Afghanistan, with once removed POV from a documentarist and her subjects. The doc received some coin via Sundance’s Documentary Film Program and Fund (DFP) in 2012 and I imagine this year’s support from Sundance Institute and Skywalker Sound to help with the score means this is fully ready to go. Sounds like a sizzler – I’m hoping that it’ll be infuriating as well.

Gist: This explores the nature of cinematography, and how the person behind the camera failed to see while filming. In Afghanistan through her encounters with two Afghan teenagers. Najeeb, a one-eyed boy, struggles to hide what really haunts him, while a bold teenage girl must decide how much she will risk to be visible. A U.S. Military surveillance blimp in the sky over Kabul tracks their every move.

Production Co./Producers: Unknown.

Prediction: U.S. Documentary Competition

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available

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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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