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10 Buzziest Films at Sundance Film Festival 2018

Studio executives flock to Park City hoping to find the next big thing in indie film. It’s a chance to get their hands on the newest “The Big Sick,” the kind of powerful movie that has what it takes to break out into the mainstream. A number of films heading to the festival are already generating heat, sight unseen. Variety runs down the movies that are most likely to spark all-night bidding wars.

Damsel Sundance Film Festival
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Damsel

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Mia Wasikowska, Robert Forster
Directors: David Zellner & Nathan Zellner
Sales agent: ICM
Why Buyers Are Circling:
Pattinson may have hung up the fangs, but the “Twilight” star still commands crowds (particularly overseas). This offbeat western sounds like a change of pace for the recovering tween idol.

Blaze Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Blaze

Cast: Benjamin Dickey, Alia Shawkat, Josh Hamilton, Charlie Sexton
Director: Ethan Hawke
Sales agent: Cinetic
Why Buyers Are Circling:
Studio suits will turn out for Hawke, the éminence gris of the indie world, but they’ll come away impressed by Dickey, an unknown actor who has a showy role as a songwriting legend.

Monsters and Men Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Monsters and Men

Cast: John David Washington, Anthony Ramos, Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Director: Reinaldo Marcus Green
Sales agent: WME
Why Buyers Are Circling:
This ripped-from-the-headlines look at a police shooting is being talked up as the next “Fruitvale Station.”

Hearts Beat Loud Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Hearts Beat Loud

Cast: Nick Offerman, Kiersey Clemons, Ted Danson, Toni Collette
Director: Brett Haley
Sales agent: WME
Why Buyers Are Circling:
Haley is returning to Sundance for the third time in four years. His previous efforts, “I’ll See You in My Dreams” and “The Hero,” became unexpected art-house hits, giving him commercial cred.

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Matangi/Maya/M.I.A.

Director: Stephen Loveridge
Sales agents: Cinetic, Dogwoof
Why Buyers Are Circling:
The film boasts unprecedented access to the controversial pop star, following M.I.A. through the making of her chart-topping hits and battles with the music industry.

White Fang Movie Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

White Fang

Cast: Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Eddie Spears, Paul Giamatti
Director: Alexandre Espigares
Sales agent: UTA
Why Buyers Are Circling:
The animated adaptation of Jack London’s wolf tale has crowd-pleaser written all over it.

Wildlife Movie Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Wildlife

Cast: Carey Mulligan, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ed Oxenbould
Director: Paul Dano
Sales agent: WME
Why Buyers Are Circling:
The coming-of-age drama marks Dano’s directorial debut. The tony pedigree — it’s based on a Richard Ford novel — and the cast make it a must-see.

Studio 54 Sundance
CREDIT: Bettmann Archive/Sundance Film Festival

Studio 54

Director: Matt Tyrnauer
Sales agent: Cinetic
Why Buyers Are Circling:
A return to the center of ’70s nightlife — a font of sex, celebrity and mountains of cocaine. What’s not to love?

The Catcher Was A Spy Sundance
CREDIT: Dusan Martinecek/Sundance Film Festival

The Catcher Was a Spy

Cast: Paul Rudd, Jeff Daniels, Mark Strong, Sienna Miller, Guy Pearce, Paul Giamatti
Director: Ben Lewin
Sales agent: UTA
Why Buyers Are Circling:
The incredible true story of a pro baseball player, lawyer and linguist who helped the U.S. fight the Nazis. You can’t make that stuff up.

Assassination Nation Sundance
CREDIT: Courtesy of Sundance Film Festival

Assassination Nation

Cast: Suki Waterhouse, Odessa Young, Bella Thorne, Bill Skarsgård, Joel McHale
Director: Sam Levinson
Sales agent: WME
Why Buyers Are Circling:
This vigilante tale, about a town getting up in arms (literally) when their digital histories and text messages are hacked, packs a grindhouse wallop.

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