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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Andrew Neel’s Goat


You can only have an actor attached for so long until they “grow” out of the role and you can only have a director on board for a short lapse until they move onto other projects. The wobbled history of Goat, a book to film adaptation begins back in 2004 when we first reported that David Gordon Green would direct the project. A 2005 update that Emile Hirsch would topline and then the baton was passed onto Jeff Nichols in 2007 when he was suppose to have taken over the director’s chair. Flash-forward to late last year when James Franco joined forces with Killer Films, and Andrew Neel (a fiction and non-fiction filmmaker with already five features under his belt including 2012’s King Kelly) was hired – thus landing the coveted directing gig. Production took place in May in Cincinnati, and if this takes a truly savage, rough hewn approach, no doubt that a dated novel will feel just as purposeful and vibrate today. Perhaps this could be Nick Jonas’ way into acting a la Justin Timberlake in Alpha Dog.

Gist: Based on the screenplay by David Gordon Green, with revisions by Neel and Mike Roberts (co-writer on King Kelly), this is based on Brad Land’s memoir, which deals with themes of masculinity, violence and brotherhood, recounting the author’s experience as a recovering assault victim drawn into the barbaric humiliation rituals of fraternity hazing during his freshman year at Clemson U.

Production Co./Producers: Rabbit Bandini’s James Franco and Vince Jolivette and Killer Films’ Christine Vachon and David Hinojosa (Nasty Baby). Co-producer: Karri O’Reilly. Executive producers: Robert Halmi Jr. (Frank & Lola), Jim Reeve (Young Adam), John Wells (Love & Mercy).

Prediction: Premieres category.

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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