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2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jennifer Fox’s The Tale

Not unlike Gabriela Cowperthwaite, here is the example of another female docu filmmaker who broke out at Sundance and has now climbed into fiction narrative territory. We know Jennifer Fox via Sundance entries such as the 1988 Grand Jury Prize for best documentary and the Excellence in Cinematography Award winner Beirut: The Last Home Movie, An American Love Story and Flying: Confessions of a Free Woman, and this past May she directed Laura Dern, Ellen Burstyn, Sebastien Koch and Elizabeth Debicki in an investigative thriller (first conceived in grade school) called The Tale

Gist: Written by Fox, this centers on Jennifer (Dern), a successful, globetrotting journalist whose mother (Burstyn) finds a story she wrote at age 13 describing a sexual triangle with two adult coaches. Jennifer sets out to find the coaches, now 40 years later, but as she delves deeper into her own mystery, the voice of her 13-year-old “Jenny” (played by Isabelle Nelisse) begins to surface and tell her side of the story. What Jenny reveals shatters everything Jennifer thought she knew about herself.

Production Co./Producers: Sol Bondy (Youth), Jennifer Fox, Lawrence Inglee (Norman), Gamechanger Films’ Mynette Louie (Buster’s Mal Heart), Oren Moverman, Laura Rister (The Most Hated Woman in America), Regina Kulik Scully (Eating Animals).

Prediction: U.S Dramatic or Premieres.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. CAA (domestic). Mongrel International (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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