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2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Anna Boden & Ryan Fleck’s Mississippi Grind

Technically hitting paydirt in the indie biz with their breakout addiction drama, we could argue that over the course of their four film filmography (television fiction and docu assignments aside) that the writing-directing tandem of Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck are softening their searing-like stance yet adhering to a contemplative template. Half Nelson (easily among my top ten films of ’06) was followed by Sugar (2008), dramedy It’s Kind of a Funny Story (2010) and in 2015, we can “bet” on a roadtrippin comedy to detail our need to beat the odds. Boden and Fleck are no strangers to Park City, a pair of their shorts landed there prior to their first two features. Mississippi Grind is a blue-chip indie item that originally had Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead but Ben Mendelsohn, Ryan Reynolds take the reigns alongside Analeigh Tipton, Sienna Miller, Alfre Woodard and Concussion thesp Robin Weigert. Shot in Alabama, New Orleans and Louisiana, production began in January with Sundance vets cinematographer Andrij Parekh and Production Designer Jade Healy in the fold.

Gist: Down on his luck and facing financial hardship, Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) teams up with younger charismatic poker player, Curtis (Ryan Reynolds), in an attempt to change his luck. The two set off on a road trip through the South with visions of winning back what’s been lost.

Production Co./Producers: Electric City Ent.’s Lynette Howell and Jamie Patricof (Blue Valentine), Sycamore Pictures’ Ben Nearn and Tom Rice (The Way Way Back) and Jeremy Kipp Walker (It’s Kind of a Funny Story).

Prediction: Premieres Category

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. WME Global (domestic). Panorama (international).

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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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