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2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Benjamin Dickinson’s Creative Control

Brooklynites might be out of the woods in Benjamin Dickinson’s sophomore film, but in this genre-bender project, it appears that no hipster is left unscathed in the techno-crazy future. A commercials & music vid director (LCD Soundsystem, The Rapture) by trade, Dickinson was championed by NYC-based critics on his debut feature, First Time played extremely well at Tribeca in ’12 landing a distribution deal with Film Movement folks. Here, he is among a quartet comprised of Dan Gill, Nora Zehetner and Alexia Rasmussen (Little Accidents). Production began last fall on Creative Control, which received a successful round of crowdsourcing in May and won the top prize at the U.S. in Progress (The Champs Elysees Film Festival) edition. If the additional work needed to spruce up the sci-fi elements of the film isn’t in extra innings mode, then we can see this breaking into the fest. Also worth noting, his short film Brasilia: City of the Future in locked, loaded and ready to preem as well.

Gist: Written by Micah Bloomberg (a sound mixer on tons of Sundance preemed items — the list is way too long) and Benjamin Dickinson, this is described as a dark sci-fi comedy set in the near-future and telling the story of four Brooklynites whose tech-obsessed lifestyles get the better of them. Anxious, ambitious ad executive starts a chain reaction of destruction when he becomes obsessed with his best friend’s free-spirited girlfriend while working on a campaign for a new generation of Augmented Reality Glasses. The life-like avatar he creates of her becomes too life-like as the blurred boundary between reality and fantasy spreads into an out-of-control space where everyone’s public, private and imaginary lives implode.

Production Co./Producers: Ghost Robot’s Mark De Pace and Zachary Mortensen (First Winter), Melody C. Roscher (Simon Killer), Craig Shilowich (Stand Clear of the Closing Doors)

Prediction: SXSW and Tribeca Film Fest programmers will be curious to see how the chips fall for the title — a NEXT or New Frontier berth would be logical entry points into the fest.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). TBD (international)

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, 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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