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2016 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Sian Heder’s Tallulah


They say write…what you know, and perhaps in this case, writing what is unknown. It’s the sort of the artistic philosophy that filmmaker Sian Heder might have applied in developing a project that landed at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival (walked away with the 3rd Prize Cinéfondation Ex-aequo prize) with the first iteration of the eventual feature being a short film called Mother. Fast forward almost a decade later and production was lined up this June with Ellen Page and Allison Janney toplining a true exploration of what it might mean to be a mother figure. Coming off the heals of her writing and producer gig with television’s “Orange Is the New Black”, Tallulah has got a strong producer Sundance alumni team supporting the Heder’s directorial debut. With such a long gestation period, we’re thinking that this might illicit a strong emotional response from future auds.

Gist: This is about a free spirit whom everybody thinks has kidnapped a baby after she rescues the child from her reckless mother. The woman pretends the baby is hers with the mother of her ex-boyfriend. When the baby is returned to her rightful mother the three women forge an unbreakable bond.

Production Co./Producers: Heather Rae (I Believe in Unicorns), Route One’s Russell Levine (Secret in Their Eyes), Maiden Voyage’s Chris Columbus and Eleanor Columbus (Mediterranea), Todd Traina (What Maisie Knew).

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Competition.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. ICM Partners (domestic). Good Universe (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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