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2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Joe Swanberg’s Digging For Fire

Guess who’s turning 10? Joe Swanberg has had a “fire” in his belly for, give or take a decade, and his latest in the interpersonal thread was shot in April and appears ripe for another double-billing in January-set Sundance and March SXSW fests. It may also be, his most sophisticated film to date. Moving from the Sundance featured, shot on 16mm Happy Christmas, Swanberg adds to his nucleus of players and reteams with cinematographer Ben Richardson for Digging for Fire. Shot on handsomely old-school 35mm, Swanberg has built himself an all-star team here with first line players Jake Johnson (who co-writes and produces) and Rosemarie DeWitt with a spoonful of supporting and minor bits from the likes of Sam Rockwell, Brie Larson, Anna Kendrick, Orlando Bloom, Jenny Slate, Mike Birbiglia, Chris Messina, Sam Elliott, Ron Livingston, Jane Adams and Tom Bower.

Gist: Co-written by Swanberg and Johnson, this is a relationship dramedy about a husband (Jake Johnson) and wife (Rosemarie DeWitt) and their attempts to both build a family and make a long-term relationship interesting.

Production Co./Producers: Swanberg, Walcott Company’s Jake Johnson and Alicia Van Couvering (Nobody Walks)

Prediction: Premieres category — with many distrib players fighting for rights within the first 24 hours. The Eccles will be buzzing.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. Producers Swanberg/Van Couvering (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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