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2018 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jonathan Helpert's IO

Festival Predictions

2018 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jonathan Helpert’s IO

2018 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jonathan Helpert’s IO

Originally set up with thesps Elle Fanning, Diego Luna and Clay Jeter in the director’s chair, IO, the Sundance Institute’s Writers Lab and the Sundance Institute Catalyst Forum selected project landed in the laps of Paris based filmmaker Jonathan Helpert with a new cast comprised of Margaret Qualley (who is coming off the piping hot Novitiate), Anthony Mackie, and the always reliable Danny Huston. After working on several genre shorts, Helpert directed the little seen 2015 title House of Time (see trailer below), before going into production on number deux in October of 2016 in France. The Netflix folks landed the global rights to the pic which, if included at Sundance, would be in the running for the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize. Jason Michael Berman and Laura Rister are producing.

Gist: Written by Clay Jeter, Charles Spano, and Will Basanta, the coming-of-age story follows examines the dangers of humanity’s current relationship with the planet. It centers on Sam Walden (Qualley), a teenager surviving as one of the last people on an abandoned post-cataclysmic Earth, who is racing to find a cure for her poisoned home world before the last shuttle off the planet to the distant human space colony leaves her stranded. Mackie plays Micah, a complicated and mysterious refugee on his way to the imminent shuttle launch who makes Sam question whether she can really alter Earth’s fate.

Production Co./Producers: Mandalay Pictures’ Jason Michael Berman (Burning Sands), Untitled Entertainment’s Laura Rister (The Free World).

Prediction: This will likely receive a film fest premiere in 2018, and if included at Sundance would be dropped in the Park City at Midnight section or Premieres section.

U.S. Distributor: Netflix.



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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