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2018 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Yen Tan’s 1985

2018 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Yen Tan’s 1985

The aesthetic foot print of this Malaysian born, Austin-based helmer can be visually catalogued year in and year out on film fest circuit. Part Drew Struzan for American indie film poster artwork, and perhaps the nouveau Ira Sachs for his dramatic queer cinema portraits, Yen Tan is pretty much in full-time creative mode: as both an award-winning graphic art design (in fact, several films we’ve championed on the site) and as a filmmaker. Moving from relationship woes with 2013’s Pit Stop (Sundance NEXT section selection) into possible relationship foes, last April, Tan commenced shooting on his fifth feature film in Dallas, with Cory Michael Smith (most recently seen in Todd Haynes’ Wonderstruck) emotionally assessing and physically representing the earliest stigmas associated with the AIDS pandemic. With a supporting cast comprised of Virginia Madsen, Michael Chiklis, Noah Schnapp and Jamie Chung, this is based on his SXSW Special Jury Prize winning short1985 will likely measure attachment (or detachment) via relationship dynamics and could be a solid companion prelude piece to 90’s activism in Robin Campillo’s BPM (Beats Per Minute).

Gist: Based on a story by HutcH and Tan, this centers on terminally-ill Adrian (Smith), who flies home from New York to visit his estranged family in Texas. His attempt at revealing his circumstances to his conservative parents (Madsen, Chiklis) are challenged when he reconnects with his preteen brother (Schnapp) and his old flame (Chung).

Production Co./Producers: Cranium Entertainment’s Ash Christian, MuseLessMime Productions’ HutcH.

PredictionPit Stop was a NEXT section selection, and this more dramatic terrain would best be suited for the U.S. Dramatic Competition with a SXSW showing being a distinct possibility as well.

U.S. Distributor: Rights Available. Green-Light International (domestic / international).



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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