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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Rafael Palacio Illingworth’s The Force


Shot in June in Los Angeles, The Force features Olivia Thirlby and Ben Feldman in the pole position as newly married urbanites with a faint degree of amnesia with a supporting cast familiar indie face offerings of Adam Goldberg, Analeigh Tipton, Scott Haze, Lesley Ann Warren, Betsy Brandt, John Ross Bowie, Jon Heder, Alison Sudol and filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich. Latin American/Los Angeles transplanted AFI alumni visual artist and painter Rafael Palacio Illingworth got his start with another relationship-themed dramedy with the micro budgeted Macho (2009) and in-between features he filmed some commercial spots and put out a pair of shorts with one bringing him to the Venice Film Festival.

Gist: Thirlby and Feldman play a couple confronted by the fear that settling down and getting married means their carefree days as city-dwelling young adults coming to an abrupt and depressing end. Both are tempted by the allure of another life before ultimately realizing why they fell in love in the first place.

Production Co./Producers: Caviar’s Bert Hamelinck and Madeline Samit (The Diary of a Teenage Girl) Nora Films’ Eleonore Meier (Northeast). Executive producers: Caviar’s Michael Sagol, Benito Mueller, Barry Films’ Wolfgang Mueller, Michel Merkt and Allen Norin.

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Comp.

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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