The Seattle/Sundance Connection

Three Seattle films will debut at Sundance this year. Lynn Shelton’s Humpday is in the prestigious Dramatic Competition (the most competitive and sought-after section) and David Russo’s feature debut The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle in the Spectrum Competition. The third is a quasi-Seattle production: Bobcat Goldthwait’s World’s Greatest Dad was shot in Seattle with a mix of local and out-of-town crew, and debuts out of competition.

I haven’t seen the films (did I mention they make their respective world premieres at Sundance?) and I won’t be at the festival, but I’ll do my best to follow their progress both here and at Parallax View, where I will run interviews with both Shelton and Russo.

Meanwhile, I profile the films and Seattle’s independent film scene in general in a feature for the Seattle P-I this week:

This isn’t Seattle’s first invitation to the Sundance, which runs this year through Jan. 25. In 2005, “Police Beat,” inspired by Charles Mudede’s column in The Stranger and directed by Robinson Devor, premiered in the Dramatic Competition, and “Iraq in Fragments” won three awards in the 2006 Documentary Competition before it was nominated for an Oscar.

But this year Seattle comes to Park City in force, and this arrival brings a message along with it: The local filmmaking community is both growing artistically and developing a base of resources, from technicians to post-production facilities. At least for this very specific kind of filmmaking model.

Officially, “Humpday,” which makes its premiere Friday, was made for “under $1 million.” Unofficially, it is surely the lowest-budget production in the Dramatic Competition and one of the very few without the draw of Hollywood actors. Mark Duplass (of “The Puffy Chair” and “Hannah Takes the Stairs”) and Joshua Leonard (co-star of the blockbuster “The Blair Witch Project”) have some indie cachet, to be sure, but are hardly name draws in an industry that banks on star power and prestige for selling films. Apart from Duplass and Leonard, the cast and crew are drawn from Seattle.

Read the complete feature here.

Author: seanax

I write the weekly newspaper column Stream On Demand and the companion website (www.streamondemandathome.com). I’m a contributing writer for Turner Classic Movies Online, Keyframe, Independent Lens, and Cinephiled, and the editor of Parallax View (www.parallax-view.org).. I’ve written for The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, The Seattle Weekly, GreenCine.com, Senses of Cinema, Asian Cult Cinema, and Psychotronic Video, among other publications, and I am a contributing editor to Parallax View.

I currently live and work in Seattle, Washington, with my two cats, Hammet and Chandler.

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