Recent example: "Beasts of the Southern Wild" (2012), which introduced writer-director Benh Zeitlin and young actress Quvenzhane Wallis, both of whom were nominated for Oscars.
Stumbling upon a small but wonderful movie or a promising actor before the buzz starts building feels like an exciting discovery, and one people feel the need to share, which might explain the wildfire word-of-mouth factor when a sleeper hit connects.
"The Kings of Summer" has its fair share of newcomers. It's the first feature for both writer Galletta and director Vogt-Roberts, and the young stars likely will be new faces for most audience members.
Arias, a child actor best known for a recurring role in "Hannah Montana," proves to be an especially worthwhile revelation. Playing the kooky misfit Biaggio, the 19-year-old's deadpan delivery of preposterous non sequiturs even elicited a laugh from the famously stone-faced Offerman. "I made him break once," Arias said. "A very proud moment."
Another 2013 potential sleeper: "Much Ado About Nothing" is Joss Whedon's black-and-white adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Shot in just 12 days at the director's L.A. home, the film reunites many of Whedon's usual collaborators (Amy Acker, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof) plus one promising newcomer: Jillian Morgese plays Hero, which is quite a get for the young actress whose only other credit is as an extra in "The Avengers." (Opens June 21)