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Festival Predictions

2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Gerard McMurray’s Burning Sands

An early collaborator with filmmaker phenom Ryan Coogler (he would associate produce Fruitvale Station aka Fruitvale), we’re not sure when Netflix gave their vote of confidence, but Gerard McMurray‘s feature debut was fortunate enough to have a star is shining bright in Trevante Rhodes (Moonlight) topline and a supporting cast that includes artists Trevor Jackson, Rotimi and seasoned thesp Alfre Woodard. When we bring Andrew Neel’s Goat into the conversation, Burning Sands might make for back to back Park City raw depictions helpings of the underground hazing culture.

Gist: Written by Christine Berg and McMurray, this takes place deep into Hell Week, a favored pledgee is torn between honoring his code of silence or standing up against the intensifying violence of underground hazing.

Production Co./Producers: Mandalay Pictures’ Stephanie Allain and Jason Michael Berman (The Birth of a Nation), Reginald Hudlin (Django Unchained) and Mel Jones (Dear White People).

Prediction: U.S. Dramatic Comp.

U.S. Distributor: Netflix. 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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