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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Kelly Reichardt’s Livingston


The reigning queen of American independent cinema has a rich history with Sundance — she premiered her debut film 1994’s River of Grass (which was recently digitally restoration) and Old Joy (2006) there and saw 2010’s Venice-TIFF-NYFF preemed Meek’s Cutoff find additionally play but the chances of seeing Kelly Reichardt’s sixth feature film premiere in Park City are highly unlikely. Shot the past spring in Montana with stalwarts Kristen Stewart, Michelle Williams, Laura Dern, James Le Gros, Jared Harris and Rosanna Arquette, we’re more inclined to think that the Altmanesque-sounding Livingston is best suited for Cannes and what would be Reichardt’s first Main Competition bid. Based on the NYTimes best of 2009 short story collection Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, SPWA recently landed the international rights to the picture.

Gist: Based on Maile Meloy’s short story collection Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It, this is a series of vignettes that revolves around the lives of people in small-town Montana. Stewart will play a young lawyer from Boise who takes a teaching job several hours from her house. Despite her nerves about teaching, she’s determined to prove to herself that she can do it. Soon after taking the job, Beth develops a close friendship with Jamie, a local woman who’s auditing her class. Dern is set as Laura Wells, a lawyer in Helena who keeps going back into a bad relationship with Ryan Lewis (Le Gros), a married man who couldn’t care less for his wife and daughter. Williams portrays Ryan’s wife, Gina Lewis, who works in advertising with her philandering husband. Harris is a former construction worker who was injured in a work-related accident and starts plotting a hostage attempt. Actress Sara Rodier plays the daughter of Williams and Le Gross.

Production Co./Producers: Film Science’s Neil Kopp and Anish Savjani (Night Moves).

Prediction: Premieres category….but Cannes is more likely.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions (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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