Nate von Zumwalt, Editorial Coordinator
In recent years, one has needed to look no further than the NEXT <=> section of the Sundance Film Festival to witness the vitality of independent film. That’s where, in NEXT’s four-year existence, films with a penchant for innovative storytelling and a blatant disregard for boundaries have premiered at the Festival. Now that renegade filmmaking spirit is coming to Los Angeles.
Today we announced the program of 10 feature films, 10 short films and related programming for the first-ever NEXT WEEKEND film festival, Aug. 8-11, 2013 at Sundance Sunset Cinema and additional venues throughout Los Angeles. Tickets ($12–15) are on sale now for Sundance Institute members and will be available to the public Thursday, July 18, at www.sundance.org/nexttickets.
12 O’Clock Boys / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lotfy Nathan) — Pug, a bright 13-year-old boy living on a dangerous, west-side block in Baltimore, dreams of joining the 12 O’Clock Boys – a notorious Urban dirt bike pack who invade the streets, popping wheelies and cruising at high speeds through traffic while clashing with police. (Documentary)
Blue Caprice / U.S.A. (Director: Alexandre Moors, Screenwriters: R. F. I. Porto, Alexandre Moors) — An abandoned boy is lured to America and drawn into the shadow of a dangerous father figure in this film inspired by the real-life events that led to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks. Cast: Isaiah Washington, Tequan Richmond, Joey Lauren Adams, Tim Blake Nelson, Cassandra Freeman, Leo Fitzpatrick.
Cutie and the Boxer / U.S.A. (Director: Zachary Heinzerling) — Over the course of the chaotic 40-year marriage between New York-based Japanese artists Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, their headstrong, yet complementary personalities form a graceful rumination on companionship, sacrifice and the creative spirit. (Documentary)
The Foxy Merkins / U.S.A. (Director: Madeleine Olnek, Screenwriters: Madeleine Olnek, Jackie Monahan, Lisa Haas) — Two lesbian hookers work the streets of New York. One is a down-on-her-luck newbie; the other is a beautiful – and straight – grifter who is an expert on picking up women. Together they face bargain-hunting housewives and double-dealing conservative women in this subversive buddy comedy. Cast: Lisa Haas, Jackie Monahan, Alex Karpovsky, Susan Ziegler, Sally Sockwell, Deb Margolin.
How to be a Man / U.S.A. (Director: Chadd Harbold, Screenwriters: Bryan Gaynor, Chadd Harbold, Gavin McInnes) — When former comedian Mark is faced with a rare form of cancer, he hires an impressionable cameraman to document his crude and comical lessons on what it means to be a man for his unborn son. But when Mark nearly loses everything, he realizes he has the most to learn. Cast: Gavin McInnes, Liam Aiken, Paulo Costanzo, Megan Neuringer, Nigel DeFriez, Nicole Balsam.
It Felt Like Love / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Eliza Hittman) — On the outskirts of Brooklyn, a 14-year-old’s sexual quest takes a dangerous turn when she pursues an older guy and tests the boundaries between obsession and love. Cast: Gina Piersanti, Giovanna Salimeni, Ronen Rubinstein, Jesse Cordasco, Nick Rosen, Case Prime.
Newlyweeds / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Shaka King) — A Brooklyn repo-man and his globetrotting girlfriend forge an unlikely romance. But what should be a match made in stoner heaven turns into a love triangle gone awry in this dark ballad of chemical dependency — part coming of age romance, part hallucinatory adventure. Cast: Amari Cheatom, Trae Harris, Tone Tank, Colman Domingo, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Adrian Martinez.
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors / U.S.A. (Director: Sam Fleischner, Screenwriters: Rose Lichter-Marck, Micah Bloomberg) — When a young, autistic Mexican boy runs away from his undocumented family on the outskirts of New York City, he embarks on an 11-day odyssey in the city’s subway system, forcing his splintered family to reconcile their differences in order to bring him home. Cast: Andrea Suarez Paz, Jesus Sanchez-Velez, Azul Zorrilla, Tenoch Huerta Mejia, Marsha Stephanie Blake.
A Teacher / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Hannah Fidell) — A popular young high school teacher in a wealthy suburban Texas high school has an affair with one of her students. Her life begins to unravel as the relationship comes to an end. Cast: Lindsay Burdge, Will Brittain, Jennifer Prediger, Jonny Mars, Julie Phillips, Chris Doubek.
This Is Martin Bonner / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Chad Hartigan) — In this 2013 Sundance Film Festival award-winning film we discover two men, each searching in their quiet solitude to begin a new life amidst an unspoken need for encouragement and support. Cast: Paul Eenhoorn, Richmond Arquette, Sam Buchanan, Robert Longstreet, Demetrius Grosse.
The Apocalypse / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Andrew Zuchero) — Four uninspired friends try to come up with a terrific idea for how to spend their Saturday afternoon. Cast: Martin Starr, Ella Rae Peck, Kate Lyn Shiel, Benjamin Pike, Chanel Michaels, Duke Dlouhy.
The Cub / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Riley Stearns) — Wolves make the best parents. Cast: Davey Johnson, Savannah Lathem, Mandy Olsen, Alexis McGraw.
The Event / U.S.A., United Kingdom (Director: Julia Pott, Screenwriter: Tom Chivers) — Love and a severed foot at the end of the world. Cast: Alex Britton, Laura Free.
K.I.T. / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Michelle Morgan) — A guilt-ridden, but well-intentioned yuppie goes to great lengths to prove she is a decent person. Cast: Michelle Morgan, Stephanie Allynne, John F. Beach, Ryan Harrison, Jeff Grace.
#PostModem / U.S.A. (Directors: Jillian Mayer, Lucas Leyva, Screenwriters: Lucas Leyva, Jillian Mayer) — A comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop-musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, this is the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told through a series of cinematic tweets. Cast: Jillian Mayer, Kayla De La Cerda, Arly Montes, Zoom Zoom, Jesse Miller, Shivers Thedog.
Seraph / U.S.A. (Director: Dash Shaw, Screenwriters: John Cameron Mitchell, Dash Shaw) — Seraph is an animated short film about how a boy’s childhood scars his later life.
Social Butterfly / France, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Lauren Wolkstein) — When a 30-year-old American woman attends a teenage party in the South of France, guests wonder who she is and what she is doing there. Cast: Anna Margaret Hollyman, Camille Claris, Ulysse Grosjean.
A Story for the Modlins / Spain (Director: Sergio Oksman, Screenwriters: Carlos Muguiro, Emilio Tomé, Sergio Oksman) — The tale of Elmer Modlin who, after appearing in Rosemary’s Baby, fled with his family to a far-off country and shut himself away in a dark apartment for 30 years.
Until the Quiet Comes / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Kahlil Joseph) — Shot in the Nickerson Gardens housing projects in Watts, Los Angeles, this film deals with themes such as violence, camaraderie and spirituality, through the lens of magic-realism. Cast: Solomon Gibbs, Storyboard P.
What Do We Have in Our Pockets? / U.S.A., Israel (Director: Goran Dukic, Screenwriters: Goran Dukic, based on a short story by Etgar Keret) — A most unusual love story unravels when the objects in a young man’s pockets come to life. Cast: Azazel Jacobs, Diaz Jacobs.
NEXT <=>: Then, Now and Beyond — The NEXT <=> section at the Sundance Film Festival was created in response to a contemporary wave of filmmaking enlivened by recent technological advances; however it also shares DNA with past trailblazers in film who have always been a huge part of the Festival. In this discussion we explore the similarities and differences of being a NEXT <=> filmmaker today versus the early days of Sundance. Which barricades have been removed and which new ones have arisen? Through this process of exploration we try to determine what’s next for NEXT <=>.
Panelists include Gregg Araki (Totally F***ed Up, The Living End, Mysterious Skin), Allison Anders (Gas, Food Lodging; Mi Vida Loca; Strutter), Hannah Fidell (A Teacher) and Shaka King (Newlyweeds).
The NEXT <=> Waves of Creative Distribution — Sundance Institute staffers Chris Horton and Joseph Beyer moderate this FREE Artist Services event with a surprise lineup of leading industry experts. Get smart on the latest tech and trends in creative financing, digi distribution, guerilla marketing and independent theatrical releases. (FREE)
ShortsLab: Los Angeles — An intensive, full-day seminar of screenings and discussions for filmmakers, providing firsthand insight and access into the world of story development, production and exhibition of narrative short-form films. Participants include Sundance Film Festival Short Film Programmers and filmmakers to be announced. ($150)
YouTube Shorts @ NEXT WEEKEND — A compilation of work from some of the most popular, compelling and innovative creators on YouTube, reflecting the wild diversity and imagination of content on the platform. Co-presented with YouTube and showcasing shorts featured on the platform.