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2015 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Mark Elijah Rosenberg’s Ad Inexplorata: Toward the Unknown

An instrumental and influential American independent film promoter/curator/supporter/taste-maker in the business, Rooftop Films creator and artistic director Mark Elijah Rosenberg (pictured above) moves from open air cinema, to open space possibilities. While the current outer space talk is the Nolan Imax film, I’m more excited about the prospects for Ad Inexplorata: Toward the Unknown, which has been welcomed by the Sundance folks with open arms: landing support via the Indian Paintbrush Fellowship (2011), Creative Producing Summit (2011), Creative Producing Feature Film Lab (2011), 2011 June Screenwriters Lab (2011), 2012 Screenplay Reading Series (2012) and finally some coin from the San Francisco Film Society before landing the Sundance NHK Filmmaker Award (2014). Production began earlier this year with Mark Strong toplining. Supporting players include Sanaa Lathan, Charles Baker and Bettina Skye.

Gist: Captain William D. Stanaforth (Strong), is a NASA pilot alone on a one-way mission toward the unknown. Faced with mechanical problems, physical suffering from long distance space travel, and the mental obstacles of a journey into the unknown, the trip begins to take its toll on the ship…and Stanaforth’s mind.

Production Co./Producers: Court 13’s Josh Penn (The Great Invisible), Loveless’s Matthew Parker (Mother of George), TideRock’s Thomas B. Fore and Jason Michael Berman (Little Accidents), 3311 Productions’ Jennifer Dana (It Follows), Mark Roberts (In a World…).

Prediction: 10 seconds until blast off…in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. WME & CAA (domestic). IM Global (international)

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