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The Duplass Brothers Take Sundance

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Sundance Institute

Have you seen a Duplass brother yet? If not, give it a minute. The writing/directing duo of The Puffy Chair and Baghead (Sundance 2008) will be a presence not only via their new film Cyrus but are exec producers of Bryan Poyser‘s Lovers of Hate. Mark also executive-produced Bass Ackwards and The Freebie.

In fact, Mark Duplass’s workload of last year seems reflected almost completely in the Sundance catalog, and it’s no wonder. While their films sometimes adhere to the amorphous style of the mumblecore movement, they are firm believers in the movement’s central pillar: to gladly and willingly help out other filmmakers.

We asked Mark to break down his multi-armed influence with the three other films that bare his name.


Lovers of Hate: “I’ve known Bryan Poyser since film school. I used to boom op for him and his oft-time collaborator Jake Vaughan when I was 16. Bryan has been one of the best unsung writers in the indie world in my opinion, so when he brought this script to me and Jay and asked us for some money to make it happen, we were more than happy to pitch it in. And, as it turns out, he’s just as good a director as he is a writer. This movie is a classic example of how Bryan can take “the weird” and make it accessible and funny. We kinda think he may be the next big thing in indie cinema.”

Bass Ackwards: “Linas and I worked together as actors on a movie called True Adolescents, which our friend Thomas Woodrow produced. When I was in Seattle for a film fest, Linas and I had a few drinks and he kept telling me about this film idea he had involving himself, an affair with a married woman, alpacas, and a mini VW van he wanted to buy off eBay. By the end of the night I had convinced him that the movie had to be made, and he called Thomas Woodrow on as a producer within the week. It’s a beautiful, lyrical, dreamy road movie with a sense of humor. I love this movie. And, the way Tom and Linas have decided to release this film (day and date, the day after Sundance) is kinda groundbreaking.”

The Freebie: “Katie Aselton I met on New Years Eve 2001. We made out at 11:30 p.m. That’s right. BEFORE midnight. Then we dated long-distance for a year. Then Jay and I cast her in The Puffy Chair and discovered not only was she a brilliant actress, but also had an innate knack for story and direction. Then we got married. Then we had a baby. Then she said to me ‘I have a movie I want to make.’ Who the hell am I to say no to that? She assembled a great crew, we all pitched in our best efforts, and we cobbled together a daring, sweet, funny, heartbreaking film.”

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Sundance Institute Piloting Direct Individual Support for Mediamakers Through the Sundance Institute | Humanities Sustainability Fellowship

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic upended life in general, and halted production and distribution for many creatives, the nonfiction field was plagued by issues of sustainability. For several years, sustainability has been an urgent and vigorous topic of study, debate, and organizing, as more and more filmmakers find it difficult, if not impossible, to make a living solely on the basis of their creative work. 

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