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2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Dustin Guy Defa’s Human People

I’ve been wrong before and so I don’t like using the term a shoe-in, but I’d be one of the folks to fall out of my chair if Dustin Guy Defa wasn’t penciled in the 2017 line-up. His contributions to the 7th art form include being in front of the camera for the likes of American indie filmmaker such as Onur Tukel, Lawrence Michael Levine, Kentucker Audley, Todd Rohal and most recently was seen in Matías Piñeiro’s Hermia & Helena (review), but he has been racking up a long slate of short films being behind the camera (including the Sundance preemed Person To Person) since his SXSW debut Bad Fever. Casting a wide net into the lives of New Yorkers, Human People features the likes of Michael Cera, Tavi Gevinson, Abbi Jacobson and Isiah Whitlock, Jr. Lensing began a full year ago, so Defa has had plenty of time to tinker around with his sophomore feature.

Gist: This is about a variety of New York characters navigating personal relationships and unexpected problems over the course of one day.

Production Co./Producers: Sara Murphy (Land Ho!), Toby Halbrooks and James M. Johnston (Ain’t Them Bodies Saints).

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Comp or the NEXT section will be the likely lieu of the world premiere and you can bet a SXSW playdate will also be on slate.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. UTA (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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