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2017 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Shawn Christensen’s Sidney Hall

Part musician/part filmmaker, Shawn Christensen is an Academy Award winner (Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film for his 2012 film, Curfew) who would adapt the short into a feature version which was selected for 2013’s SXSW as Before I Disappear. We think the packaging in terms of cast, crew and storyline makes Sidney Hall a strong Sundance selection. Starring Indignation‘s Logan Lerman and Elle Fanning, this is the filmmaker’s sophomore film went into production this past April. Michelle Monaghan, Kyle Chandler, Nathan Lane, Blake Jenner, Margaret Qualley and Tim Blake Nelson are part of the supporting cast.

Gist: Written by Christensen and Jason Dolan, Sidney Hall (Lerman) is a tormented novelist whose wild success at a young age led to a mental breakdown, reminisces about his life, while an old acquaintance attempts to solve the mystery behind his disappearance. He engages in a game of cat and mouse with a corrupt detective after he’s told his dead wife of five years might still be alive. He uncovers the existence of a secret organization responsible for faking her death but suffers the consequences of that knowledge.

Production Co./Producers: Super Crispy Entertainment’s Jonathan Schwartz (Breathe In) and Fielder Jewett.

Prediction: Premiere category.

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 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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