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Robin Bissell - The Best of Enemies

Festival Predictions

2019 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: #12. Robin Bissell – The Best of Enemies

2019 Sundance Film Festival Predictions: #12. Robin Bissell – The Best of Enemies

An executive producer on Free State of Jones and The Hunger Games, Robin Bissell doesn’t appear to be the usual Park City suspect, but there are always a debut title … or two, that are larger in scope, and from those not wet behind the ears. The Best of Enemies fits that bill. The project dates back to June of 2015, when Taraji P. Henson and Sam Rockwell were attached and would only begin filming two years later in Georgia. STX Entertainment liked what they saw and last month they released the first trailer. Anne Heche, Wes Bentley, Bruce McGill, John Gallagher Jr., and Nick Searcy make up the supporting cast. Macelo Zarvos provided the score.

Rooftop Films 2019

Gist: Inspired by Osha Gray Davidson’s “The Best of Enemies: Race and Redemption in the New South,” Henson portrays Ann Atwater, a civil rights activist in Durham, N.C., who battled KKK leader C.P. Ellis (Rockwell) for a decade until 1971, when the two agreed to co-chair a two-week community meeting to deal with a court-ordered school desegregation decree. That event changed both of their lives. Babou Ceesay portrays Bill Riddick, who reluctantly persuaded Ellis and Atwater to head the community summit to try and reach a compromise.

Production Co./Producers: Danny Strong, Fred Bernstein, Matt Berenson, Bissell, Dominique Telson, and Material Pictures’ Tobey Maguire and Matthew Plouffe.

Prediction: Premieres section.

U.S. Distributor: April 5th release via STXfilms.


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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