The Birth of a Nation Sundance
Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Buyers are seeking out the next big thing in Park City. Here’s the latest screening buzz on some of the major film debuts at Sundance 2016:

“birth of a nation”
Nate Parker’s timely slavery drama earned a standing ovation at the Eccles Theater before landing a whopping $17.5 million deal with Fox Searchlight. Watch out, Oscar! (U.S. Dramatic)
“Manchester by the sea”
The electric cheers at the Eccles was reminiscent of when “Boyhood” debuted here two years ago. Amazon quickly plunked down $10 million for this Kenny Lonergan drama starring Casey Affleck that’s sure to be an Oscar contender for 2017. (Premieres)
Although this drama about a college fraternity’s hazing rituals was deemed brutal by most, the crowd in Park City was impressed by Andrew Neel’s taut directors and strong performances by Ben Schnetzer and Nick Jonas. (U.S. Dramatic)
“hunt for the wilderpeople”
There were steady laughs throughout Taika Waititi’s heartwarming adventure comedy, but box office prospects seems limited for the all-Kiwi production. (U.S. Dramatic)
“Other People”
Chris Kelly’s opening night dramedy had the Eccles audience weeping and laughing. Buyers said they liked the film, though some questioned its commercial prospects. (U.S. Dramatic)
“Southside with you”
Destined to go over like a lead balloon with Trump supporters, this imagining of Barack Obama’s first date with Michelle warmed hearts of the left-leaning crowd at the Eccles.  (U.S. Dramatic)
“Wiener dog”
Those who took the leap with Todd Solondz’s acerbic vignettes that follow a dog through a stream of dysfunctional owners thought it was “The Welcome to the Dollhouse” director’s best in years while animal lovers headed for the exit.(Premieres)
“Morris from America”
This coming of an age story received a warm reception for newcomer Markees Christmas, but the applause at the credits for the overall film was tepid. (U.S. Dramatic)
Lots of respect and admiration for Rebecca Hall’s performance as a suicidal news reporter, but Antonio Campos’ dark drama was too bleak for many festival-goers. (U.S. Dramatic)
“little men”
Ira Sachs’ gently observed portrait of a teenage friendship and the impact of gentrification was warmly received though it may be too subtle for mainstream tastes.  (Premieres)
“Brahman Naman”
Comedy about a band of horny quiz circuit contestants was big on “American Pie” gross out moments and light on belly laughs.  (Premieres)
“Swiss Army Man”
This strange tale about a lost guy (Paul Dano) who befriends a farting corpse (Daniel Radcliffe) proved to be the most divisive of the festival so far, prompting the most walk outs.  (U.S. Dramatic)
 HOT, extremely positive


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