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Smash Cut: How Do You Get From Billie Eilish to “Y Tu Mamá También”?

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by Bailey Pennick

Art is one of the best social connectors. Everywhere you look people are banded together by the art that ignites passion, conversation, and action. Think about the palpable energy that radiates through a movie theater as the lights go down and everyone experiences a new film together. It gives us chills!

Every year, through the Film Festival, labs, fellowships and more, our community of artists and independent film lovers grows. With 40+ years under our belt, we’ve started to connect the dots of some of our past films and filmmakers. Welcome to Smash Cut.

For this inaugural edition of Smash Cut, we’ve realized that the Sundance Film Festival has way more in common with the Coachella Valley Music and Arts festival than you might initially think! Join us as we go from main stage headliners to indie cult classics in six easy steps. While sunscreen isn’t necessary for this cinematic journey, it’s always a good idea!

How Are These People Connected ?

SMASH CUT #1

Billie Eilish to Danny Elfman?

The Coachella Connection

This one is pretty simple: both of these icons are playing Coachella this year. Billie Eilish, the seven-time Grammy winner, is returning to the legendary desert music festival as Saturday’s headliner. Danny Elfman hits the Coachella stage earlier on the fest’s second day. Maybe the pair will connect in real life backstage?

SMASH CUT #2

Danny Elfman to Jack Black?

"Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far On Foot"

When Danny Elfman isn’t playing a career-spanning set to a sea of sun-kissed faces, he’s one of the most sought-after composers in the film industry (not to mention the lead singer-songwriter for Oingo Boingo). While you can next hear Elfman’s handiwork in the upcoming "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness," back in 2018 he worked with Gus Van Sant on an offbeat biopic about newspaper cartoonist John Callahan. The 2018 Festival program described the film: “Featuring a shape-shifting lead performance by Joaquin Phoenix and outstanding support by Jonah Hill, Rooney Mara, and Jack Black, Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot finds beauty and comedy in the absurdity of human experience.”

SMASH CUT #3

Jack Black to Michel Gondry?

"Be Kind Rewind"

Jack Black’s supporting role as Dexter in 2018’s “Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot” was the latest entry in his long relationship with the Sundance Film Festival. Ten years earlier, Black starred alongside Mos Def in “Be Kind Rewind” — Michel Gondry’s delightful and inventive ode to the corner video rental store.

SMASH CUT #4

Michel Gondry to Gael Garcia Bernal?

"The Science of Sleep"

Every director has their signature style, but no one can create dreamlike whimsy quite like Michel Gondry. It makes sense, then, that his follow-up to 2004’s smash hit "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" would dive deeper into the fantasy world of its leading man’s brain. Gael Garcia Bernal brings such wonder and life to Stephane, a character who’s just as delightful as his bespoke surroundings.

SMASH CUT #5 and #6

Gael Garcia Bernal to Diego Luna?

"Mr Pig" and "Y tu mamá también"

This connection is especially fun because Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna haven’t just been in several Sundance projects together, they started a Mexican production company together (Canana films), and have been friends since they were babies. With a lifelong commitment to each other and their craft, the Gael-Diego connections are almost its own cinematic universe at this point. Two points within this galaxy are “Mr. Pig” — a 2016 Luna-helmed/Bernal-produced drama about a Georgian pig farmer (Danny Glover) — and Alfonso Cuarón’s masterpiece “Y tu mamá también.” The iconic road trip film, shown at the 2002 Film Festival, was the first film the pair starred in together.

Stay tuned for the next Smash Cut !

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