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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Gerardo Naranjo’s Viena and the Fantomes


Four features under his belt (2004’s Malachance, 2006’s Drama/Mex, 2008’s I’m Gonna Explode and 2011’s Miss Bala) and Gerardo Naranjo‘s only history with the Sundance film festival is as a jury member. That might change come next January. One that I consider the odd man out among filmmakers from the Mexican film renaissance that commenced back with Iñárritu’s Amores Perros, from lovers on the run, beauty queens on the move and young adults hitting the road, there is a lot of chaotic displacement in his films. Since his sophomore feature, his films are high value festival items and since this is a U.S. shot project, Viena and the Fantomes could very much land a coveted Premieres category showing to make bidders. Naranjo’s Un Certain Regard section selected thriller Miss Bala seriously made the rounds, so this eighties punk era set film has a certain appeal for buyers as well as programmers. Naranjo’s Nevada set road-tripper starting shooting way back in March of 2014 with a cast comprised of Dakota Fanning, Evan Rachel Wood, Frank Dillane, Jeremy Allen White, Zoe Kravitz and Caleb Landry Jones. Too punk for the Cannes and Fall festival circuit, judging from the trailer that was released via the sales company, this has a personality that fits with Sundance.

Gist: This is about a roadie who’s on a journey of self-discovery and survival as part of a punk band’s convoy, traveling through America circa the 1980s.

Production Co./Producers: Gerardo Naranjo, Verisimilitude’s Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky (The Wolfpack), Lola Pictures’ Christopher Ramirez (Frank & Lola). Executive producer: Tony Hsieh, Fred Mossler. Co-producer: Becky Glupczynski (I Origins).

Prediction: The only possible option for a sales title like this is the Premieres category.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. CAA (domestic). TBD (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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