The Films With Buzz

2012-02 FEA Sundance Arbitrage H
Myles Aronowitz

WHY IT WILL SELL: A cast of well-known veterans (Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon) and hot rookies (Brit Marling, Nate Parker) populates a muscular thriller set against a zeitgeisty financial-world backdrop.


Even with buyers and sellers predicting a wide swath of dealmaking, these 10 titles (and three wild cards) are looking like the hottest picks of the bunch.


Why It Will Sell: A cast of well-known veterans (Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon) and hot rookies (Brit Marling, Nate Parker) populates a muscular thriller set against a zeitgeisty financial-world backdrop. Director: Nicholas Jarecki; Reps: WME, Parlay Films


Why It Will Sell: A young female cast (Kirsten Dunst, Lizzy Caplan) in an edgy post-Bridesmaids wedding comedy produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay's Gary Sanchez Productions is destined to draw attention. Director: Leslye Headland; Reps: CAA, Elle Driver

Black Rock

Why It Will Sell: Genre titles from the Midnight section often score deals, and the director's up-and-coming status has buyers curious. Plus, the remote-island survival story has co-star Kate Bosworth's name recognition. Director: Katie Aselton; Rep: Submarine

Celeste and Jesse Forever

Why It Will Sell: This 21st century out-of-love story stars hip comedy actors Rashida Jones and Andy Samberg as exes who try to remain friends. Warm, mature commercial appeal will seal the deal. Director: Lee Toland Krieger; Rep: UTA

For a Good Time, Call …

Why It Will Sell: In the wake of Bridesmaids, a raunchy comedy about two women (Lauren Miller, Ari Graynor) who operate a phone-sex line has potential written all over it -- especially at only $3.99 a minute. Director: Jamie Travis; Rep: Cinetic

Lay the Favorite

Why It Will Sell: An Oscar-nominated director, a couple of movie stars (Bruce Willis, Catherine Zeta-Jones) and an indie stalwart (Please Give's Rebecca Hall) make this gambling comedy enticing for obvious reasons. Director: Stephen Frears; Reps: CAA, Wild Bunch

The Queen of Versailles

Why It Will Sell: Despite the legal controversy that has arisen around the film, this doc about a wealthy couple whose dream of building the biggest house in America is cratered by the economic crisis couldn't be more timely. Director: Lauren Greenfield; Rep: Submarine

The Surrogate

Why It Will Sell: John Hawkes. The riveting creep of Martha Marcy May Marlene and Winter's Bone (Oscar-nominated for the latter) unleashes another searing performance as an artist in an iron lung who decides to lose his virginity. Director: Ben Lewin; Rep: CAA

West of Memphis

Why It Will Sell: This doc is fielding serious interest ahead of its festival premiere, with the heavyweight support of Peter Jackson and a real-time news hook buoying its exploration of the West Memphis 3 case. Director: Amy Berg; Rep: Ken Kamins

The Words

Why It Will Sell: This tale of an author who appropriates another man's memoir on his way to literary stardom has major star power (Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana). Directors: Brian Klugman, Lee Sternthal; Reps: CAA/Untitled, Parlay Films


Beasts of the Southern Wild

Why It Might Sell:l Zeitlin's Faulkner-esque treatment of a little girl struggling with missing parents and rising seas could startle with its original vision. Director: Benh Zeitlin; Rep: WME

The Other Dream Team

Why It Might Sell: A documentary about the 1992 Lithuanian national basketball team doesn't sound like an obvious winner, but the Rocky-style goodwill generated by its run to the Barcelona Summer Olympics could have buyers and audiences cheering. Director: Marius Markevicius; Rep: WME

Simon Killer

Why It Might Sell: Shocking provocation could drive interest in this story of a recent college graduate who exiles himself to Paris on the heels of a breakup, only to fall in love with a prostitute. Director: Antonio Campos; Reps: CAA, UTA