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Sundance Film Festival 2017 Begins January 19th – 29th

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Every January we get to start off the new year with the world-renowned Sundance Film Festival. This year’s celebration takes place between January 19th and 29th at the in Park City. Sundance is known for introducing an array of independent films that provide provocative, yet unique glimpses into the human experience. Famous titles including Blackfish, Little Miss Sunshine, Swiss Army Man, Fruitvale Station, and Whiplash, to cite some examples from the last few years, have all premiered at Sundance. The Competition and Next film line-up for 2017 have already been announced. That list can be found by clicking here. In addition to the competition line-up, Sundance also plays hosts to a number of feature and documentary premiers, including special midnight showings, spotlight features, Sundance Kids, and other special events. To see the full list of premiers and additional line-ups, just follow the link!

Movie News/Independent Highlight

This week will see a number of indie projects open on select screens across the country. We mentioned the Kristen Stewart (Twilight, Snow White and the Huntsmen) drama Equals opening this Friday, about a couple who falls in love as the result of a disease in a futuristic utopia that is devoid of feeling and emotion, and the tension it causes between them and their society. Co-starring with Stewart is Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max: Fury Road, X-Men: Apocalypse), who are led by director Drake Doremus (Like Crazy, Breathe In).

Also opening on the indie circuit this week is a new animated movie called Phantom Boy, which takes place in the 1940s-50s and follows a young boy with superpowers who helps a wheelchair-bound policeman in his efforts to take down a notorious mob boss. The film comes from Oscar-nominated filmmakers Loup Felicioli & Alain Gagnol (A Cat in Paris) and stars French actors Edouard Baer (Chicken with Plums), Jean-Pierre Marielle (Coup de torchon, The DaVinci Code), and Audrey Tautou (A Very Long Engagement, Amelie).

Finally on the indie film circuit for this week is a new comedy called Undrafted Continue reading

New Indie Biographical Drama ‘Free State of Jones’ Now Playing In Theaters

A new drama from writer/director Gary Ross (Seabiscuit, The Hunger Games) titled Free State of Jones is now playing in theaters. The film follows the true story of Newton Knight, a farmer in Civil-War era Mississippi who abandoned the Confederate Army and formed a militia consisting of both white farmers and African-Americans who took over and declared Jones County an independent state. Ross adapted the screenplay from author Victoria Bynum’s The Free State of Jones: Mississippi’s Longest Civil War, although there are numerous publications of Knight’s stance in Jones County. Appearing as Newton Knight is Oscar-winner Matthew McConaughey (Interstellar, Dallas Buyer’s Club), who is joined onscreen by Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion, Jupiter Ascending), Mahershala Ali (House of Cards, The Place Beyond the Pines), Keri Russell (The Americans, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), Christopher Berry (Django Unchained, 12 Years a Slave), and Jacob Lofland (Mud, The Scorch Trials). This is definitely a lesser-known portion of American history, but one that is definitely intriguing, although I will say that the trailer reads a bit like The Patriot. If you’re looking for an evening out this week, keep this one on your list. The trailer is available here on MADE.

New Western ‘The Keeping Room’ Opening In Theaters September 25th

A new Western-drama from Oscar-winning director Daniel Barber (The Tonto Woman, Harry Brown) titled The Keeping Room will be opening in theaters this September 25th. Written by actress-turned-screenwriter Julia Hart (Tuck Everlasting), the film centers around three Southern women (two sisters and an African American slave) in the final days of the American Civil War who must defend themselves and their land from rogue Union soldiers while the Union Army draws ever nearer to their location. Starring in the lead roles are actresses Brit Marling (Sound of My Voice, I Origins), Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit, Ender’s Game), and Muna Otaru (Syriana, Lions for Lambs), with Sam Worthington (Terminator Salvation, Avatar), Kyle Soller (Anna Karenina, Fury), and Ned Dennehy (King Arthur, Sherlock Holmes) making up the supporting cast. The film originally aired at the London and Stockholm Film Festival, receiving a nomination for Best Film and the Bronze Horse award, and was also an Official Selection at the Toronto International Film Festival. The trailer is available here on MADE. We’ll keep you posted as the release date draws closer. Enjoy!

Oliver Stone’s New Biopic ‘Snowden’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt Now Filming

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Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden in upcoming Oliver Stone biopic Snowden (2015).

Director Oliver Stone has presented some pretty controversial biographical films in his career, JFK, Nixon, and W. just to name a few. His latest project, again simply titled Snowden, about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is now filming with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in the lead role. More specifically, the plot follows Snowden from his time in the US Army in 2004 to his groundbreaking interview in Hong Kong with documentarian Laura Poitras (whose documentary film, Citizenfour, about that very interview, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary), during which he exposed top-secret NSA documents before fleeing to Russia for asylum. The script comes from two primary sources: author Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Anatoly Kucherena’s Time of the Octopus (Kucherena is Snowden’s Russian attorney), which were adapted for the film by Stone and screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald. Included in the supporting cast are actors Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in our Stars), Scott Eastwood (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Fury), Nicholas Cage (Face-Off, Matchstick Men), Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Justified), Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story, Star Trek Into Darkness), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, The Exorcism of Emily Rose). The film is scheduled for release Christmas Day 2015. Stay tuned for more news.