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First Look at Poster for Buzzy Sundance Heist Film ‘American Animals’ (EXCLUSIVE)

American Animals,” a true story about a group of college students who plan an elaborate rare books and art heist, debuts Friday at the Sundance Film Festival.

The movie hits the mountainside festival with a lot of buzz, and is sure to be a conversation starter for its colorful plot, imaginative direction by Bart Layton, and the lead performances of stars-on-the-rise like Evan Peters and Barry Keoghan. It is looking for distribution and competing in the U.S. dramatic competition section.

The film unfolds in Lexington, Ky., in 2004 and follows childhood friends Spencer (Keoghan) and Warren (Peters) as they rebel against their suburban upbringing. The two plot to steal priceless Audubon prints and rare books from Transylvania University’s special collections library. Their story was the basis of a compelling Vanity Fair article and their exploits rank as one of the most audacious art thefts in recent history. But it’s not all fun and games, as Spencer and Warren are forced to grapple with the consequences of their actions. Think of Layton’s film as “Ocean’s Eleven” with a stronger moral compass.

Layton is best known for his documentary “The Imposter,” and here he employs some non-fiction narrative techniques by including interviews with the real robbers and turning the story into a “Rashomon”-like exploration of crime and memory. The cast also includes Ann Dowd and Blake Jenner. Here’s a first look at the poster for a film that’s on a lot of buyers’ radars.

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