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TIFF 2010 Buyer’s Club: #11. Kelly Reichardt’s Meek’s Cutoff

With Venice, TIFF and NYFF as a Appears to be the most accessible – known cast led by Dano and Williams

#11. Meek’s Cutoff

The Gist: With a cast that includes Michelle Williams, Bruce Greenwood, Will Patton, Zoe Kazan, Paul Dano, Shirley Henderson, Neal Huff, Tommy Nelson and Rod Rondeaux, the year is 1845, the earliest days of the Oregon Trail, and a wagon team of three families has hired the mountain man Stephen Meek to guide them over the Cascade Mountains. Claiming to know a short cut, Meek leads the group on an unmarked path across the high plain desert, only to become lost in the dry rock and sage. Over the coming days, the emigrants must face the scourges of hunger, thirst, and their own lack of faith in each other’s instincts for survival. When a Native American wanderer crosses their path, the emigrants are torn between their trust in a guide who has proven himself unreliable and a man who has always been seen as the natural enemy.

Kelly Reichardt's Meek's Cutoff

Director: Kelly Reichardt
Sales Agent: Cinetic Media
Selling Point: Unlike her critically well-received previous films, my thinking is this might register on a wider scale, as you have: a fairly well-known cast and I get the impression that this is a piece of Americana that is both folkloric and contains a setting (Old West) that many feel as if they’re familiar with. 
Suited For: Studios that want awards clout (this is showing at Venice, TIFF and NYFF) and want to give their viewers a chance to “experience” a film.

 
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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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