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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Shaz Bennett’s Alaska is a Drag


Shaz Bennett has her own unique history with the Sundance Film Festival having worked for them as a programmer before it was even known as Sundance. Flash-forward a couple of decades later, and Bennett took her 2012 short of the same name and elongated it into a feature length film. Alaska is a Drag is self-described as if Rocky and Hedwig had a love child and not only did the LGBT friendly, loud and proud DIY title become a hit on Kickstarter but this summer emerged as the big winner at the US in Progress in Poland this October landing major post production coin. No doubt this feels a little reckless, spirited and memorably micro.

Gist: Leo dreams of becoming an International Superstar, but these dreams are hard fought stuck working in a fish cannery in Alaska.

Production Co./Producers: Bennett, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller.

Prediction: NEXT section or a Narrative Comp item at SXSW.

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, 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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