We all love the Sundance Film Fest, but sometimes it feels like Utah has been invaded by alien beings for 10 days. Strange creatures from New York, Los Angeles and the film capitals of Europe and Asia descend on us to crawl the streets of Park City. To say some of these guys are reptilian is an insult to snakes.
It often seems Sundance is among us, but not about us.
Utahns will be happy to hear that four films debuting at Sundance were made in Utah—the most native films ever.
Brisgby Bear, Deidra & Laney Rob a Train and Wind River are entered as feature films and Snatchers will debut as a horror/thriller.
Wind River, with Jeremy Renner and Sundance regular Elizabeth Olsen (photo above), is a crime thriller about an FBI investigation.
The comedy Brigsby Bear, starring and cowritten by Saturday Night Live‘s Kyle Mooney, also features Claire Danes, Mark Hamill and Greg Kinnear. It chronicles the arc of a unique children’s TV show.
Mooney offered Utah backhanded praise as a shooting location: “We needed a desert area and we needed the suburbs, basically, and Utah had all those things.” I can see that as a Utah Film Commission slogan: “Deserts and ‘burbs—Utah has it all!” (The film was shot in Salt Lake and Davis counties, by the way.)
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train debuts in the fest’s Next category. It’s about two sisters turning to train robbery to support their family after mom is thrown in the slammer. Utah’s Eagle Forum, we’re sure, will applaud its family-friendly message. It also stars Tim Blake Nelson of Brother Where Art Thou fame.
And eight episodes of Snatchers will open in the Midnight category, where some of the most entertaining and approachable Sundance films are slotted.
Our must sees of the Utah Quartet? Wind River, Olsen never fails to turn in a great performance, and it’s a crime thriller filmed around Coalville, Heber and Midway. (Unfortunately, the Wind River Range is in Wyoming. For some reason, mountains in Wyoming, Colorado or Montana are sexier to filmmakers than Utah’s high country—maybe Uintah is hard to pronounce.)
And because the Midnight series is always fun and never takes itself too seriously, you can’t miss Snatchers, which looks like it was filmed in somebody’s basement (that’s a good thing).
And Salt Lakers remember: You can catch these films in Salt Lake City and avoid the crowds and hassle of PC. The fest’s program guide will soon be revealed. Check back with Saltlakemagazine.com for a how to on getting the most of Sundance.