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Focus Features Moves Gus Van Sant’s ‘Promised Land’ Into Awards Season

Matt Damon and John Krasinski star in the film, which they also co-wrote 

Gus Van Sant’s “Promised Land,” which reunites the director with “Good Will Hunting” star Matt Damon, will sneak into theaters for a limited run Dec. 28, 2012, qualifying it for this year’s Academy Awards.

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It will debut in New York and Los Angeles prior to a larger distribution in 2013.

Focus was able to move up the planned release because of Van Sant’s quick post-production work, which began 11 weeks ago.

The move speaks to the studio’s confidence in the film, which stars Damon and John Krasinski of “The Office.” The actors also co-wrote the film from a story by literary luminary Dave Eggers. Damon and Ben Affleck won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay for "Good Will Hunting."

Also read: Matt Damon, John Krasinski Poised to Enter 'Promised Land' for Focus

"Promised Land" depicts a salesman for a natural gas company who begins to look at life differently after starting work in a small town. Frances McDormand, Rosemarie DeWitt and Hal Holbrook fill out the cast for the film, which Participant Media co-financed.

Focus has a few other potential awards contenders this year, including Wes Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” and Joe Wright’s “Anna Karenina.”

Van Sant has twice received Oscar nominations for Best Director, one for “Good Will Hunting” and one for “Milk.” Both films were also nominated for Best Picture but fared better in the writing and acting categories. Each won Best Original Screenplay while Robin Williams won a Best Supporting Oscar for “Hunting” and Sean Penn won the Best Actor Oscar for “Milk.”