The East

After turning heads at Sundance 2012 with The Sound of My Voice, director Zal Batmanglij and star Brit Marling followed up with the similarly themed The East at this year’s festival. Now, as the film heads for a theatrical release, Fox Searchlight has unveiled a new trailer.

Marling plays a private intelligence operative who’s tasked with infiltrating The East, an underground eco-terrorist group that’s been wreaking havoc on the lives of her powerful clientele. Once she’s in, however, she begins to fall for its leader (Alexander Skarsgard) and finds herself rethinking her own priorities. Watch the video after the jump.

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Winter is slowly but surely inching to an end, so let’s look ahead to what the next season has in store for us. The next few months promise to be an interesting one for indie releases, as both Spring Breakers and Zal Batmanglij‘s The East are slated to open.

Further down the road, The Weinsteins are getting into the paranormal YA game next winter with Vampire Academy, and Universal’s Untitled Illumination Entertainment Project (not the final title, obviously) has been slotted for summer 2015. Hit the jump for all the details, in chronological order.

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Zal Batmanglij and Brit Marling made huge names for themselves at Sundance a couple years back with the release of his low budget sci-fi thriller Sound of My Voice. I loved the film, and while it got a small release by Fox Searchlight, not many people saw it in theaters (the horrible title probably didn’t help). It definitely wasn’t a movie for everyone — the story followed a couple who infiltrates a cult run by a leader who claims to be a time traveler from the future, and the execution played on the many mysteries in the same way the television show Lost did, sometimes not offering answers. But underneath it all was a very clever concept and some really good storytelling. Searchlight and Ridley Scott apparently recognized this enough to give them a budget dozens of times larger than their debut.

The East shares some ideas with Sound of My Voice, following someone who goes undercover to infiltrate a cult-like organization. The ever likeable Brit Marling plays Sarah, a new-hire agent for a Washington DC private security film who is tasked to infiltrate an anarchist group calling themselves “The East” (think Project Mayhem from David Fincher’s Fight Club). The film opens on the mansion of the head of a huge oil company which recently spilled gas in the Atlantic, killing a ton of wildlife and polluting the Earth’s waters. The East breaks in and creates their own oil spill all over his home, releasing a video online and making headline news around the world.

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The Sundance Film Festival has treated Brit Marling exceptionally well over the past few years. She was the big breakout story of the 2011 event, with the one-two punch of Mike Cahill’s Another Earth and Zal Batmanglij‘s The Sound of My Voice, and she got to return in 2012 with Nicholas Jarecki‘s Arbitrage. This year, she’s back once again with Batmanglij for The East, a thriller about a shadowy anarchist collective (called The East, hence the title) and a private intelligence operative (Marling) who goes undercover to stop it. The first trailer has just hit the web, and you can watch it after the jump.

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VIDEO: The Making of ‘Sound Of My Voice’

One of the most buzzed about films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival is finally making its way to theaters next week. Sound Of My Voice, directed by Zal Batmanglij and starring Brit Marling, focuses on two people who attempt to infiltrate a cult lead by a woman who has an incredibly intriguing claim. Made for well-under half-a-million dollars, the film shows that smart genre filmmaking doesn’t need to have big effects, just big ideas with equally big answers.

Fox Searchlight will begin to release the film April 27 and, after the jump, you can watch a making of featurette and read some of my thoughts on the film. Read More »

In Page 2 today, Pete mentioned that a new poster had been released for the indie cult/sci-fi film Sound of My Voice, but now we’ve got something better: a new trailer.

The film was one of the most anticipated of 2011 thanks to a breakout appearance at Sundance that year, but Fox Searchlight decided to hold the movie for this year. So it is one of the most anticipated movies of 2012 now. We saw a 12-minute clip from the movie about a month back, but this is the trailer debut. Read More »

One of the most-praised films at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was Sound of My Voice, starring and co-written by Brit Marling (Another Earth). The film, directed by Zal Batmanglij, follows a couple as they attempt to infiltrate and learn about a cult, led by a charismatic woman with a rather outrageous claim about her own history. Fox Searchlight picked up the film later in 2011, but has taken time to plan a release schedule.

Now, just more than two months out from release, those of us who weren’t at Sundance in ’11 are getting a taste of the film. A two-minute clip hit yesterday, and now we’ve got the first ‘chapter’ of the movie; that is, the opening twelve-minute segment. Have a look below. The footage will make sense out of the handshake iconography in the poster (seen above). Read More »

One of my favorite movies of the 2011 Sundance Film Festival was Zal Batmanglij‘s Sound of My Voice, a microbudget dramatic thriller which is about a couple who infiltrate a cult in the San Fernando Valley. But the story has a tiny bit of a science fiction as well — the leader of the group is a woman named Maggie (Brit Marling) who claims to be a time traveler from the year 2054. The couple sneak cameras into the cult hoping to expose her scam. You can read my lengthy review here (I’ve tried my hardest to keep it spoiler free). Fox Searchlight acquired the film sometime after last year’s festival, and has been figuring exactly how to market and release such a unique movie.

As the April 27th 2012 release date approaches, Searchlight is beginning their marketing push. Today they have released the first two-minutes of the film as a clip on Apple.com — you can watch it after the jump. Tomorrow we will be exclusively be posting the entire first 12 minutes of the film (the entire first chapter of the story) before it is released on the official website later this week. So please, watch out for that.

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