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2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: J. Davis’ Manson Family Vacation

With only hope, a dream and one writing credit to his name (SXSW short film Kevin), J. Davis lassoed fellow low-budget filmmakers Linas Phillips (Bass Ackwards) and Jay Duplass (Baghead) and placed them in brotherly love roles. A family reunion type pic with a set of backdrops like no other, having raised a successful round of startup funds in late 2013 via Kickstarter, Manson Family Vacation didn’t drop in ’14, so we’re expecting this low-budget laugher to easily squeeze into the early ’15 fest circuit . It’ll need major funny bone to go with the freaky title to convince Sundance programmers.

Gist: Nick Morgan is a successful lawyer who’s devoted to his wife and young son. His adopted brother Conrad is a wayward soul who shows up in Los Angeles unannounced. Although the brothers have never gotten along too well, Nick decides to show his brother around town. But as it turns out, there’s only one thing Conrad wants to do in LA: visit the Manson murder sites. So, the brothers drive all over town & out to the desert to discover the secrets of The Manson Family and themselves.

Production Co./Producers: Steve Bannatyne (Z for Zachariah), Eric Blyler, J. Davis, J.M. Logan.

Prediction: NEXT section. SXSW suitable host as well.

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 (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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