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2020 Sundance Film Festival

Festival Predictions

2020 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jérémie Guez, Sophie Dupuis, Eugene Ashe, Michael Almereyda, Alan Ball

2020 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: Jérémie Guez, Sophie Dupuis, Eugene Ashe, Michael Almereyda, Alan Ball

Son of the South
Spike Lee’s longtime film editor Barry Alexander Brown has been in the director’s chair on more than one occasion, but this project about the grandson of a Klansman who comes of age in the deep south and eventually joins the Civil Rights Movement might help elevate his status as a director. Based on the Bob Zellner’s autobiography “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek,” this stars Lucas Till, Lucy Hale, Lex Scott Davis, Julia Ormond and Cedric the Entertainer.
Prediction: PREMIERES

Sound of Metal
The scribe of The Place Beyond the Pines moved behind the camera with the TIFF preemed Sound of Metal just this past September. Darius Marder‘s film about a heavy-metal drummer’s life is thrown into freefall when he begins to lose his hearing benefitted from a solid performance Riz Ahmed and it landed a deal with Amazon not too long after it’s premiere. It might receive it U.S premiere via the Sundance folks with a spot in the Spotlight section.
Prediction: SPOTLIGHT

The Sound Of Philadelphia
His directorial debut A Bluebird in My Heart found a spot at SXSW in 2018, and French filmmaker Jérémie Guez quickly moved onto a starry cast of Matthias Schoenaerts, Garrett Hedlund, Scoot McNairy and Margaret Qualley this past March. This is about a grieving brother turns to his family’s criminal connections to seek revenge against the person who killed his sister. Killer Films are among the producers on the project.

Sophie Dupuis‘ debut, a school of hard knocks feature Chien de garde was Canada’s selection for the Oscar race back in 2018. She didn’t rest much in-between projects jumping into production this past summer with a project that sees her reteam with Théodore Pellerin along with Joakim Robillard and James Hyndman. This takes place in a mining community and delves into the brotherhood that exists.

Eugene Ashe‘s sophomore feature went into production in March of this year. Tessa Thompson and Nnamdi Asomugha topline a romance film that is set against the backdrop of the late 1950’s/early 1960’s New York City jazz era. It follows Sylvie (Thompson) who meets aspiring saxophonist Robert (Asomugha) when he takes a job at her father’s record store in Harlem. After a summer romance that comes to an end, the two fatefully reconnect several years later and find that their feelings for each other have never disappeared.

Tasmanian Devil
With several shorts under his belt, Solomon Onita, Jr. commenced filming this year on his directorial debut. Featuring the likes of Abraham Attah, Adepero Oduye and Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine, after moving to the US, 19-year-old Nigerian immigrant Dayo struggles to balance his conflicting desires of joining a college fraternity and bonding with his estranged father, a strictly religious pastor at a local church.
Prediction: NEXT

With his recent films Experimenter (2015) and Marjorie Prime (2017) both finding Premieres spots at the festival, veteran filmmaker Michael Almereyda has a favorable standing among Sundance programmers. Starring Eve Hewson, Ethan Hawke, Jim Gaffigan and Kyle MacLachlan, production began in June on the intriguing life of Nikola Tesla (Hawke), as a young man in NYC.
Prediction: PREMIERES

Parks and Recreation / Master of None producer Alan Yang has been slowly getting into the directing game filming episodes of the series he produced but signed up for a Netflix project which got underway in NYC and Taiwan in August of 2018. Based on events that happened in his own family. The movie touches on themes of regret, longing, passion, and repression while spanning continents and generations, from 1950’s Taiwan to present-day New York City. John Cho, Tzi Ma, Christine Ko and Kunjue Li starred in the film.Macro’s Charles D. King is among the producers.

They were at Sundance last year with their short Lockdown, and have been trailblazing in the short form (the year before that they were in Cannes with Caroline. This summer Logan George and Celine Held directed their feature debut in NYC. This stars Held, Jared Abrahamson and Derrick Stewart and portrays a 5-year-old girl who lives under the streets of New York City with her mother. After a police-mandated eviction, they are forced to flee and face the world above, threatening their future as mother and daughter. Anthony Bregman is one part of the producing team.
Prediction: NEXT

Uncle Frank
Made famous as the producer American Beauty, Alan Ball‘s only contribution to film in terms of directing was Towelhead (2007) (which was introduced to TIFF audiences as Nothing Is Private). Flash forward about a dozen year later and he filmed a smallish indie project in North Carolina with the likes of Paul Bettany, Margo Martindale and Sophia Lillis. Set in 1973, this is about an 18-year-old woman and her uncle who road trip to their small, southern hometown for a family funeral.
Prediction: PREMIERES

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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