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2020 Sundance Film Festival

Festival Predictions

2020 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Brandon Cronenberg, Lila Neugebauer, Dave Franco, Josephine Decker

2020 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Brandon Cronenberg, Lila Neugebauer, Dave Franco, Josephine Decker

The Owners
French television director Julius Berg moved into feature filmmaking with Game of Thrones Maisie Williams toplining the English language tale about a group of friends who plot a burglary that spirals out of control.
Prediction: MIDNIGHT

Possessor
Production on Brandon Cronenberg‘s sophomore film took place in the first quarter of 2019 (Antiviral – Cannes 2012) in Toronto. He landed Andrea Riseborough and Christopher Abbott for a project featuring the revolves around Tasya Vos (Riseborough), an agent for a secretive organization who uses brain-implant technology to inhabit other people’s bodies, driving them to commit assassinations for the benefit of high-paying clients. But something goes wrong on a routine job, and Tasya soon finds herself trapped in the mind of an unwitting suspect (Abbott) whose appetite for violence turns out to rival her own. Well Go USA might want to go to Cannes for the launch if this is not ready in time.
Prediction: MIDNIGHT

The Quarry
Scott Teems moved onto his sophomore film with some acting clout in Michael Shannon and Shea Whigham. An April shoot in New Orleans, this follows Whigham (The Man) who is on the run from his own sins, and finds himself in a small border town in Texas, impersonating a reverend. The town are quickly drawn to the man’s unorthodox sermons, but so is police Chief Moore (Shannon) who has his suspicions.
Prediction: U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Red, White, And Water
An under-the-radar directorial debut with plenty of buzz, Lila Neugebauer teamed with thesps Jennifer Lawrence and Brian Tyree for an A24, Elizabeth Sanders written project that shot this past June in New Orleans. Lawrence plays a U.S. solider who suffers a traumatic brain injury in Afghanistan and struggles to recover back home.
Prediction: U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

The Rental
After a decade plus years in front of the camera, Dave Franco co-wrote a project with Joe Swanberg that lensed this past April in Oregon. Starring Alison Brie, Dan Stevens, Sheila Vand and Jeremy Allen White, this horror thriller is about two couples rent a vacation home for what should be a celebratory weekend get-away.
Prediction: MIDNIGHT

Resistance
The big-budgeted studio project (recently grabbed by the IFC Film folks) by Venezuelan Jonathan Jakubowicz (Secuestro Express) didn’t shore up during the fall festival season, so we’re thinking there is possible chance at seeing this in the Premieres category showing. Ed Harris portrays General George S. Patton in the film based on the inspirational true story of iconic French mime artist Marcel Marceau who worked with the French Resistance to help save the lives of thousands of orphans during the war. The film will chart how groups of Girl and Boy Scouts created a network to help save children whose parents had been killed by the Nazis. Marceau, an orthodox Jew whose father was killed in Auschwitz, is said to have learned to mime partly in order to help the children escape. Clémence Poésy, Jesse Eisenberg and Edgar Ramírez also star.
Prediction: PREMIERES

Run Sweetheart Run
Coined as a feminist horror-thriller, Shana Feste fifth feature film is nowhere close to the DNA of
her directorial debut The Greatest (a 2009 Sundance Film Festival selection). A Blumhouse production, Ella Balinska, Shohreh Aghdashloo and Pilou Asbæk star in a project blind date that turns violent and the woman has to get home on foot through Los Angeles as she’s pursued by her date. This was shot in February.
Prediction: MIDNIGHT

Shirley
Quickly moving onto her next feature after her masterwork Madeline’s Madeline took Park City and the film world by storm, Josephine Decker went into production on the book to film project in July of 2018 with Elisabeth Moss, Logan Lerman, Michael Stuhlbarg and Odessa Young. Written by Sarah Gubbins from Susan Scarf Merrell’s fairly recent 2014 book, this tells the story of a young couple that moves in with Jackson and her Bennington College professor-husband, Stanley Hyman (Stuhlbarg), in the hopes of starting a new life. Instead, they find themselves fodder for a psycho-drama that inspires Jackson’s next major novel.
Prediction: U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

Shoplifters of the World
His filmmaking career to date has stuck mostly to the music genre with Stephen Kijak breaking into Sundance 2016 with his docu on the legendary Japanese rock band X JAPAN. He landed Madeline’s Madeline Helena Howard, Elena Kampouris and Ellar Coltrane for a project based on an urban legend. Set over the course of one night in the lives of four friends in Denver, who are reeling from the news of the split up of iconic British band The Smiths. The local radio station is hijacked by an impassioned Smiths fan with a gun, who makes the DJ play nothing but Smiths tracks for the entire night. This went into production in New York State back in November of 2018.
Prediction: PREMIERES

Some Of Our Stallions
Very much an artist who was supported earlier on with his shorts, Carson Mell unveiled his directorial debut Another Evil at SXSW, and saw his co-writing gig on Hannah Fidell’s The Long Dumb Road have its Sundance premiere back in 2018. He set sail on his sophomore project this past February in a project starring himself, Carson Mell, Al Di and Olivia Taylor Dudley. This centers on two best friends struggling with mental illness while searching for the love of their lives.
Prediction: U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION

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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