The Black List 2013

Most year-end best-of lists consist of things that have already been produced, released, and consumed. But the Black List stands apart in that it’s all about the films that haven’t come out yet. Created by Franklin Leonard and Dino Sijamic, the annual compilation shines a light on the “most liked” unproduced screenplays of each year, as voted on by hundreds of Hollywood executives.

Not all of these films will get made, let alone made well, but the Black List still serves as a good indication of what projects are being buzzed about. Last year’s list included Transcendence and RodhamDjango Unchained and Saving Mr. Banks were among the highlights the year before that. Three out of the last five Best Picture winners were Black List scripts, as were seven of the past twelve screenwriting Oscar winners. Hit the jump to read titles and descriptions for the 72 that made the cut this year.

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The Cub

Lots of feature films get big buzz at the Sundance Film Festival, but it takes a special short film to start the same kind of chatter. That happened earlier this year with Riley StearnsThe Cub. The simple, gory, and hilarious short film got lots of people talking. How? By showing what happens when a couple drops their daughter in the woods to be brought up by wild animals.

Where most short filmmakers use their precious little time to showcase wild effects or crazy camera moves, Stearns focuses on tension, humor and storytelling. It’s a great short and after eight months on the festival circuit, it’s now online.

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Remember, if you will, the days of Fantastic Fest 2011. One of the most buzzed about films at the Austin, TX festival wasn’t a feature from an established director. It was Cost of Living, a short written and directed by first-time filmmaker BenDavid Grabinski.

The short stars Bret Harrison (Reaper, Breaking In) and Brandon Routh (Superman Returns, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) as employees of a company that makes, or engineers… something. Or ‘somethings.’ Actually, let’s say very violent, very dangerous somethings.

Cost of Living throws a couple of more or less regular guys into a really crappy situation and then watches them fight their way out. It is a tasty blend of splattery, tense action with just enough self-awareness and humor to balance the danger. Oh, and it is beautifully shot by Morgan Susser, and features a special guest as the voice of the company computer. The full film is now online; check it out below. Read More »

Mary Elizabeth Winstead‘s 2012 is definitely off to a good start. Her starring turn in the indie drama Smashed earned high praise at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and she’s got A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on her upcoming slate. But Vampire Hunter‘s not due out til summer and Smashed and Charles Swan have yet to even announce release dates, so it may be a while before most of us actually get to see her on the big screen.

Thankfully for those of us who’d rather not wait that long to enjoy her talents, she recently starred in Magnificat, a short film written directed by her husband Riley Stearns. Winstead plays a woman who’s “tormented by malevolent visions that begin to bleed into reality.” /Film favorite Stephen Tobolowsky also stars. Watch it after the jump.

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