Welcome to a new series here at Cinematical where we'll shine a spotlight on different films premiering at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in January.
Continuing along in our exclusive Sundance Primer series, next we have the film Bass Ackwards, which will be premiering in the brand new NEXT category later this month. This year's NEXT category features 8 films, and all of them were made with a low-to-no budget, a requirement of the category. Curious to learn a little more about the films screening in this category, we spoke with Bass Ackwards' writer-director Linas Phillips and asked him a few questions about his movie.
Cinematical: Give us the "dude on the street" description of your film
LP: The film is about a guy, a sorta lost soul type who's a wedding videographer having an affair with a married woman. That falls apart and he gets kicked out of his friend's place who he was staying with. But when someone gives him a van, he decides to drive back to the east coast to live with his parents. And on the road he meets some people that help him fall back in love with life again.
Cinematical: What was the most fascinating thing to happen while shooting your road trip movie?
LP: Well, just trying to tell the story was fascinating to me because there are a lot of themes in it that are very dear to me. It was based on a lot of stuff I went through. Shooting on the road was stressful but my favorite thing was shooting with my friend, Jim, and building our characters' relationship as we went along spontaneously. Hearing Jim come up with ideas and talk about his character brought me pure joy and trust that we'd get great stuff once we started letting the camera roll. Then, taking the next step into the deep end and improvising scenes in character with this woman in a bar in Wisconsin, a non- actor we found drinking with her friends just 10 minutes before hitting 'record.' It's so hard to make a film and having to suddenly try to convince someone to expose themselves in front of the camera – that can be a bit depressing; we struck out asking several girls before her but then it was so exhilarating when she said yes and it actually turned out great. Humbling and inspiring.
Cinematical: What was the first thing you did when you found out you got into Sundance?
LP: I had already started telling myself not to get my hopes up, because I'd submitted films before and had to deal with the loss. My girlfriend said not to be so sure this time and I thought I should let myself get excited by the possibility despite the fact it was a long shot. I thought it would be healthy and that it energetically could help the chances somehow if I started thinking about it. Then, I said goodbye to my girlfriend and left for SF to shoot a documentary for a few weeks and sort of forgot about the whole thing. I had a pretty frustrating interview with a woman whose hearing was so bad she couldn't even hear my questions. My producer called right after with the news about getting into Sundance. I called my girlfriend. She said, "See?!"
For more on Bass Ackwards, check out a video from producer Thomas Woodrow below where he explains the unique release strategy for the film post-Sundance.
For screening times and to learn about the other films playing in the NEXT category, head over to the official Sundance website.