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10 Sundance Faces Destined for Greatness

The Sundance Film Festival officially kicks off today and we've rounded up our annual list of ten faces you should keep tabs on before they get BIG.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.56.13 PM.pngTessa Thompson
Thompson's best known roles may be on the small screen -- as Jackie Cook in Veronica Mars and Sara Freeman in Copper -- but the 30-year-old actress is finally getting her leading lady turn on the big one. In Dear White People, Thompson plays Samantha, a college student who gets thrust into becoming the star of a reality show after broadcasting a cheeky message about race relations on her campus radio show.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.56.51 PM.pngWyatt Russell

The son of Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, Wyatt had a brief -- but memorable -- scene flirting with Leslie Mann in This Is 40 and has since gone on to have small parts on Arrested Development and The Walking Dead. Up next, he's set to play a small-time Texas burglar who gets shot mid-robbery by Michael C. Hall in Cold In July.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.55.55 PM.pngRichard Ayoade
A British comedian that comedy dorks know from the cult BBC hit The It Crowd (in which he co-starred with fellow American crossover Chris O'Dowd) or his role in the funniest movie you shamefully watched on an airplane this year, The Watch, Ayoade has been trying his hand at writing and directing as of late. He helmed the funny and tender 2010 Welsh indie comedy Submarine, and returns to Sundance this year with The Double, starring Mia Wasikowksa and Jessie Eisenberg as a man whose life is taken over by a doppleganger ghost.

6347152104034970931440873_0_COUR01_20120501_DH015.JPG(Photo by Patrick McMullan)

Valerie Veatch
After making her Sundance directorial debut last year with Me @ The Zoo (a documentary about the life of YouTube sensation Chris Crocker), Veatch returns this year with Love Child, an incredibly fascinating (and mildly depressing)-sounding documentary about online gaming addictions and Internet culture in South Korea, propelled by a true story about a baby who died of neglect as a result of her parents' gaming addictions. Yikes.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.03.34 PM.pngDomhnall Gleeson
You might recognize the Irish actor from roles in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Bill Weasley) and Anna Karenina (Levin) and pretty soon you'll see him starring opposite Michael Fassbender and Maggie Gyllenhaal in a new comedy, Frank. As Jon, Gleeson plays an upstart musician who links up with pop weirdos (Gyllenhaal and Fassbender, who plays the titular Frank) to record an album in a cabin in the woods.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.07.02 PM.pngJeff Baena
The co-writer of David O. Russell's magnificently weird and chaotic I Heart Huckabees makes his directorial debut with Life After Beth, about a man (Dane DeHaan) who rises his girlfriend (Aubrey Plaza -- who is Baena's girlfriend in real life) from the dead. Though we're wary of any rom-com zombie movie (anyone see Warm Bodies?), everyone involved in this film is just too good for us not to have high hopes.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.09.12 PM.pngWillis Earl Beal
The Chicago-based, Pitchfork-approved blues singer and poet plays an outsider artist in Tim Sutton's otherworldly Memphis, which, with the exception of Beal, features a cast of Memphis-based non-actors.  The film was funded by the Venice Biennale Cinema College and features a soundtrack written by Beal.

gemmasundance.pngGemma Arterton

Arterton may have starred in the universally-panned Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters but now the former Bond girl gets the chance to leave all that behind by starring opposite Ryan Reynolds in Marjane Satrapi's new flick, The Voices. As Fiona, Arterton plays a pretty British accountant who catches the eye of Reynolds. What she doesn't know is that Reynolds spends his nights talking about her...to his pets.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.14.30 PM.pngBoyd Holbrook
Elite Model Boyd Holbrook stars in two, count 'em, two, films at Sundance this year, including Little Accidents -- set in an Appalachian mining town and co-starring Elizabeth Banks and Chloe Sevigny -- and The Skeleton Twins, co-starring Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig as estranged siblings who reconnect. Holbrook also has roles in Terrence Malick's upcoming still-untitled film as well as Gone Girl. And we are totally cool with seeing more of his face on the big screen.

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 4.15.09 PM.pngEmily Browning
Following stints in big box office fare like Sucker Punch and Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, Emily Browning stars in the indie pop musical God Help the Girl, set in Glasgow, about the adventures of mods, emo kids and lots of singing and dancing. Fun fact: the film was directed by Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch, who has a side musical project of the same name.

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