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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Joshua Marston’s Complete Unknown

Remarkably in a career spanning more than a decade, this formerly untitled project counts as Joshua Marston‘s first feature in the English language and only third feature film. He debut film was workshopped at the 2002 January Screenwriters Lab and was presented at the 2004 edition of the fest and not only would the tense drama play extremely well theatrically, it nabbed it’s star Catalina Sandino Moreno an Oscar nomination. Marston, who takes on a lot of projects namely television gigs between his feature films (Maria Full of Grace was followed by 2011’s The Forgiveness of Blood) he nonetheless been part of the fabric of Sundance working as an advisor at the Institute’s Labs since 2011. Starring Rachel Weisz, Michael Shannon, Kathy Bates and Danny Glover, lensing on his third feature commenced late last year and frankly this could shore up just about anywhere on the film festival circuit. Now titled Complete Unknown, adding their grain of salt, music is by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (The Gift) and cinematography by Christos Voudouris (Before Midnight).

Gist: Written by Joshua Marston and Julian Sheppard, this is about a man contemplates moving to a new state with his wife for her graduate program, an old flame – a woman who often changes identities – reenters his life at a birthday dinner party.

Production Co./Producers: Parts and Labor’s Lars Knudsen and Jay Van Hoy (American Honey), Lucas Joaquin (The Witch). Executive producers: Robert Halmi Jr., Jim Reeve.

Prediction: Could fall into Premieres or U.S. Dramatic Comp category and then move onto Berlin….or wait until Cannes, Venice and/or TIFF.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). Protagonist Pictures (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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