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Festival Predictions

2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Mark Jackson’s War Story

His brilliant feature debut Without, broke out in Park City….but at the neighboring, competing fest. From Slamdance onwards (BFI London, Deauville, Chicago, Locarno Film Fests) with indie cred nominations for Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You (Gotham Awards) and Someone to Watch (Film Independent Spirit Awards) Mark Jackson firmly planted a flag pole for his brand of indie. And one of the most anticipated American indie films for ’14 isn’t shot on the west coast like he did with his debut, but of all places Sicily. Supported by the Cinereach folks, War Story will count as Kristin Gore’s first official screenwriting cred (Nailed is collecting dust) and Jackson managed to lasso Catherine Keener, Hafsia Herzi and Ben Kingsley as his main trio, works once again with musical whizkid Dave Eggar and cinematographer/Park City habitual Reed Morano.

Gist: Lee (Keener) is a war photographer who has spent her adult life in the world’s most treacherous conflict zones, documenting the catastrophes of others. When we meet her, she has recently experienced her own horror after being taken hostage and brutalized in Libya. Instead of returning to New York where her concerned colleagues and loved ones anxiously await her, Lee detours to Sicily instead, where she holes up in a small hotel to weather her PTSD on her own terms, not far from the home of her former lover and mentor Albert (Ben Kingsley).

Production Co./Producers: Kristin Gore, Catherine Keener, Matt Ratner, Shona Tuckman (Finding Joy)

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Competition

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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