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Festival Predictions

2016 Sundance Film Festival 75 Predictions List: An Introduction


Whether you are a filmmaker, or one of the Sundance programmers whose task it is to identify the films that make up a line-up, it is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. The 32nd edition of the Sundance Film Festival kicks off on January 21st with Park City and Salt Lake City. Two decades back, Steven Ascher and Jeanne Jordan’s Troublesome Creek: A Midwestern was the Grand Jury Prize winner in the Documentary section while Todd Solondz’s Welcome to the Dollhouse beat out the likes of Nicole Holofcener’s Walking and Talking, Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott’s Big Night, Mary Harron’s I Shot Andy Warhol and Alexander Payne’s Citizen Ruth for the Grand Jury Prize dramatic.

As per our tradition here on the site and as we all get ready for the festival, we like to propose an overview of the films we believe might be part of the make-up of the fest. These are guesses folks (and as confirmed a little earlier today by the surprise silver section anniversary announcement of the Park City at Midnight section films) sometimes our hunches are indeed correct.

Starting in one hour from now, we’ll begin our four day bonanza of 75 film title prediction countdown (or is it count up?) of items that we could see in the ten programmed sections. As too be expected, our list is comprised of longshots, next to no-shots, easy slam dunks and everything in between. But before we head out into prognostications territory, we’d like to first thank our sponsor and acknowledge some film titles that were on our radar but didn’t make “our” cut.

This year we have a sponsor championing our prognostications, the folks at Spotful who pimp out the interactive video experience will be amongst the industry people on the Main in Park City.

20th Century Women (Mike Mills), A Bigger Splash (Luca Guadagnino), Automatic at Sea (Matthew Lessner), The Birth of a Nation (Nate Parker), Bukowski (James Franco), By Way of Helena (Kieran Darcy-Smith), Children (Jaffe Zinn), The Circle (James Ponsoldt), Comancheria (David MacKenzie), The Commune (Thomas Vinterberg), Custody (James Lapine), Elvis & Nixon (Liza Johnson), Equals (Drake Doremus), Eugenia and John (Hossein Keshavarz), Headlock (Mark Polish), The Hollars (John Krasinski), I’m the Same (Marianna Palka), In the Valley of Violence (Ti West), Louder than Bombs (Joachim Trier), Love and Friendship (Whit Stillman), Manchester-by-the-Sea (Kenneth Lonergan), The Master Cleanse (Bobby Miller), Nerve (Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman), Nowhere Ever After (Rob Meyer), Operation Avalanche (Matt Johnson), Our Lives with Be Ours (Charles Birns), The Road From Hainan (Nanfu Wang), The Seagull (Michael Mayer), Sister Cities (Sean Hanish), Special Correspondents (Ricky Gervais), Southwest of Salem: The Story of the San Antonio Four (Deborah Esquenazi), Ten Thousand Happiness (Johnny Ma), Untitled HBO Sarah Silverman Project (Charlie McDowell), Untitled Sunny Garcia Documentary (Michael Oblowitz), Urge (Aaron Kaufman), Vinyl (Terence Winter/Martin Scorsese), Viral (Henry Joost, Ariel Schulman), You Can’t Win (Robinson Devor).

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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