The Sundance Film Festival is held each January in the snow packed hills of Park City, Utah. The festival celebrates independent film and is the largest of its kind in the United States. Each year filmmakers from all over the world submit their work and cross their fingers, hoping for a chance to showcase their features and shorts at the famed festival. Acceptance letters are finally out, and in 2012, several of Sundance's lucky filmmakers have an Austin connection.
The more-than-just-slightly irreverent Zellner brothers are no strangers to the Sundance Film Festival, their most recent trip being just last year with Sasquatch Birth Journal 2, a short that is about exactly what one would assume from the title. This year, the pair return with a new feature film called Kid-Thing, directed by David and starring Nathan. The film is about a rebellious young girl whose normal day-to-day activities of shoplifting and vandalizing are disturbed one day by a woman calling for help from inside a hole in the woods. The film also stars Austin resident and cult film favorite Susan Tyrrell, most famous for her role in Cry-Baby but important to midnight movie aficionados from the time her bravura performance in the masterful curio Night Warning shut down the Alamo Drafthouse's original Colorado St. location at the "Last Night at the Alamo" party.
Another Austin resident, University of Texas lecturer Kat Candler, will make her first trip to Sundance with her short film Hellion. The film, produced by former Austin Film Festival film program director Kelly Williams, has a brief description that reads: "Little seven-year-old Petey falls prey to his older brothers' hellion ways." After the shorts program was announced, Kelly took to Twitter excitedly mentioning this will not be his first time in Park City: "10 years ago I took tickets at the Prospector Theater at @sundancefest, now I get to go back with a short I produced."
Some former Austin residents will be making their way up into the mountains, too. Kyle Henry, a former UT lecturer, will be premiering the final piece of his four part short film anthology dealing with sexual intimacy, FOURPLAY: TAMPA (warning: link is NSFW).
And it wouldn't be a film festival without the name Duplass cropping up somewhere. UT grad Mark Duplass will find himself quite busy this year; he wrote Black Rock, a thriller about a girls weekend away gone wrong, which is directed by and starring his wife Katie Aselton. The film also features Lake Bell and Kate Bosworth. Lynn Shelton (who wrote and directed the fantastic Humpday) returns with another film, Your Sister's Sister, featuring Mark as her leading man alongside Emily Blunt and Rosemarie DeWitt. Finally, he will star in newcomer Colin Trevorrow's Safety Not Guaranteed with Kristen Bell and Aubrey Plaza.
Whether you're lucky enough to head to Sundance this spring, or you'll be eagerly anticipating these upcoming local premieres, one thing's for sure: we should all be proud of Austin's talented crop of filmmakers.