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2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Pacho Velez’s The Reagan Years

We’re hoping that the proverbial expression that no news is good news will be the case for a docu that we were projecting for last’s year line-up. Along with co-director Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez gave us the top 10 offering of 2013 in Manakamana and so we’re itching to see his solo project as it might contextually make for a better release in early 2017 after seeing both presidential candidates/parties eulogizing, mythologizing and to a degree, putting a positive spin on the policy work put forth out by the 40th president. The last we heard was that The Reagan Years had been invited to July 2015’s Sundance Institute Music and Sound Design Lab, so clearance issues and score aside, this should be closer to completion.

Gist: This is about a prolific actor’s defining role: Leader of the Free World. It uses the Reagan administration’s internal documentation to capture the spectacle of American might at its acme. Told entirely through a largely-unseen trove of archival footage, the film captures the pageantry, pathos, and charisma that followed the 40th President from Hollywood to the nation’s capital.

Production Co./Producers: Sierra Pettengill (Kate Plays Christine)

Prediction: U.S Documentary Comp and a showing at Rotterdam or Berlin, or an international premiere combo such as Locarno and TIFF.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. TBD (domestic). TBD (international)

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at, 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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