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2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s Megan Leavey

The only commonality found in Sundance buzz issue doc film Blackfish and Gabriela Cowperthwaite‘s fiction debut might be the move from big fish to canines. Blackfish played like gangbusters at Sundance back in 2012, and principal photography began in October of 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina pulls from the real-life story of a Marine and a combat dog named Rex. In a sort of reverse Hachikō type story, Kate Mara stars in the titular role, with a supporting cast comprised of Edie Falco, Common, Ramón Rodríguez, and Tom Felton.

Gist: Written by Pamela Gray, Leavey, member of a marine K9 bomb sniffing unit, was teamed with an aggressive combat dog named Rex. The two formed a powerful bond and ultimately served two tours in Iraq together, completing more than 100 missions that saved many lives. In 2006, the pair were wounded in an explosion and upon recovery, Leavey received a purple heart and was discharged from the Marines.

Production Co./Producers: LD Entertainment’s Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Monroe and Pete Shilaimon (Jackie).

Prediction: Premieres section or could shore up at Tribeca.

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 IONCINEMA.com, 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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