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2014 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Michael R. Roskam’s Animal Rescue

Fox Searchlight have used the annual Utah set fest as both an acquisitions point and launching pad. Just last year they had the pair of The East and Stoker make their world preem debuts. I’m thinking that trend might continue, with programmers having a case of “puppy love” for Bullhead helmer Michael R. Roskam’s English language debut. It’s budgeted north of 10 million, which would make it the priciest pic of my predictions patch and it includes heavy star wattage from abroad in the shape of Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, Matthias Schoenaerts and James Frecheville, but the kicker is that: this happens to also be James Gandolfini’s very last performance. Despite the passports of verifying nations mentioned above, Animal Rescue is an is an all American crime film affair when you consider the weight/presence of novelist Dennis Lehane (Mystic River, Gone Baby Gone, Shutter Island).

Gist: This centers on a Boston bartender (Hardy) who rescues a dog from a garbage can. This act of good will gets him into more trouble than he can imagine, when the pooch’s deranged former owner comes after him. He also gets caught in a criminal conspiracy at the mafia-controlled bar he works at.

Production Co./Producers: Chernin Entertainment’s Peter Chernin and Dylan Clark, Mike Larocca (St. Vincent De Van Nuys)

Prediction: If for some reason Sundance passes this up and it doesn’t crack the Premieres category – then we could see this classic Americana make friendly with the French and a Cannes premiere.

U.S. Distributor: Fox Searchlight
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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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