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Two Films With San Diego Ties Screen At Sundance

January 17, 2012 1:16 p.m.


James Vasquez, producer "That's What She Said"

Carrie Preston, director "That's What She Said," and actress in "True Blood"

Joel P. West, composer/musician, "I Am Not a Hipster"

Related Story: Two Films With San Diego Ties Screen At Sundance


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

CAVANAUGH: This is KPBS Midday Edition. I'm Maureen Cavanaugh. The annual Sundance film festival, designed to showcase independent films begins this week in park city, Utah. Of the and San Diego is represented by two films selected for screening. That's what she said is produced by the San Diego-based company, daisy 3 picture, and I'm not a hipster, a film about San Diego's indie music scene directed by SDSU grad student, Dustin Preston. My guests, James Vasquez is producer of that's what she said. Welcome to the show.

VASQUEZ: Thanks for having me.

CAVANAUGH: Carrie Preston is director of that's what she said, and an actress in true blood. Carrie, good afternoon, thanks for being here

PRESTON: That's my pleasure. Thanks for having us.

CAVANAUGH: And Joel P. West, composer, musician in San Diego, composed the music for I am not a hipster. Welcome

WEST: Thanks Maureen.

CAVANAUGH: I'd like to do a round Robin of quick responses from each of you about how you felt when you found out the films that you worked on were accepted Sundance. Carrie, what was your reaction?

PRESTON: Well, there's this myth in the film industry that -- I don't know if it's true or not, but all of my friend it is have had this experience that if you don't hear that you got into Sundance before Thanksgiving, then you didn't. So Wednesday night at about midnight before Thanksgiving, I was sobbing like somebody died, and it was my movie. Then Thanksgiving, it was like the many stages of dealing with death or something. The next day I was angry, I went through all the stages. And then finally was at the level of acceptance. OKAY, I didn't get in. That's fine. We'll go some place else. It'll be fine. And I literally let it go. And then Friday, all day long, walking around the city, feeling good, everything's going to be great, not thinking about it at all. And then the phone rings and it was my producer. And I was standing out in front of the plaza hotel in New York City, and -- with my husband, Michael Emerson, and my producer called and said we got into Sundance. And I started screaming like I was at the super bowl. So -- and then my husband's response to me was I can't take the highs and the lows!

CAVANAUGH: It's too much, it's too much! So James, were you also tortured and then relieved by your acceptance at Sundance?

VASQUEZ: Yeah, you know, a little bit. Carrie and I -- how are you?

PRESTON: Hey, James.

VASQUEZ: We -- Carrie and I speak pretty regularly, and we have gone through this film festival circuit a couple times, very thankfully and luckily. So when I hadn't heard from Carrie, sort of the samip this. I thought, well, okay, it didn't happen, we'll keep pressing forward. And I had a very similar response to Carrie. I was just finishing a show of the grinch at The Old Globe, and I was walking out on the globe plaza, and there were about 500 people just leaving the show around me. And Carrie called and said are you sitting down? And I said no, should I? And she said you might want to. And I said what's going on? And she said we got into Sundance, and I started screaming as well, and had about 500 young eyes all turn thinking the world was ending.

VASQUEZ: It was very exciting.

CAVANAUGH: And Joel, you don't seem like much of a screamer to me

WEST: It was all internalized. But the same screaming inside, yeah. Pretty surreal. We had just finished the first cut, and so just -- there were times working on this film, because it was such of a laborer of love, and just free time, no pay type of a thing that it was -- you feel like you're working too hard on something with an unknown, and then to have that affirmation was just huge, it's a good reminder that it's always good to work on anything that you love.

CAVANAUGH: Now, the movie that Joel composed for, I am not a hipster, is about San Diego's indie music scene. Carrie, what is your film, what's what she said about?

PRESTON: Well, it's about two best friends. One of them is getting ready for the most romantic date of her life, and she needs her BFF there to cheer her on. But her BFF is so jaded about dating that she shows up to the -- their sort of day of beauty three hours late, and spews cigarette stank and bitterness all over the morning coffee. And then they pick up this total stranger who this young woman who's decided to kind of latch onto them with uncontrollable weeping and nonstop talk about her boyfriend. And then it just -- the three of them embark on this crazy misadventure in New York City. And they encounter all the crazy things that one can encounter in one day on in New York. Sudden downpours, vomit-inducing cab rides and stuff. But what ultimately ends up happening is it's a film about -- it's kind of a quirky, down and dirty look at friendship in the face of adversity.

CAVANAUGH: We have a little of the trailer that features actress, Anne Heche. Here's a clip

PRESTON: Cool. New 92 you I am excited to see you today.

NEW SPEAKER: I want to hear all about this new ghee.

NEW SPEAKER: I'm so excited! I can't stand it.

NEW SPEAKER: Big date tonight.

NEW SPEAKER: Ing --, it's midnight! It's official. You've been stood up. Let's eat.

CAVANAUGH: That's a clip from that's what she said, and it is a film that was produced by the San Diego-based company, daisy 3 pictures, and I'm speaking with the director, Carrie Preston. Carrie, last year, bridesmaids did well with an all-female cast. Your film has a strong female enSam bel, are these kinds of films getting easier to pitch and make?

PRESTON: Well, are the screen writer, kaly overbee Sone of my dearest friends and we had the eight years ago doing a play together. We were both actors as well. We wear different hats. And we met doing this play together. And she showed me the script, and at the time, it was a play. And we did the play, and it went very well. And then we started the long process of, you know, turning it into a film. And Kelly adapted it. Seven years ago was the first pass on the script. So we just feel really lucky that we were actually coming out with the film now at a time when clearly there are audiences that are wanting and enjoying female-centric comedies, like Bridesmaids, and we fully intend to -- you know, hopefully, ride on these coattails. And they opened some doors for us. But even on this train for quite a Hong time.

CAVANAUGH: Now, James, are daisy thee pictures as I said is San Diego-based. This film is set in New York. And apparently made in -- lots of it made in New York. What challenges does that pose?

VASQUEZ: Well, I think in today's day and age, it's possible for us to be based in San Diego, and for Carrie to be primarily based in New York or Los Angeles. We do a lot of our work via conference calls or Skype or e-mails. And it's very easy to hop on a train and get to LA or hop on a redeye and be in New York the next day. So we have had a lot of support from San Diego and the film and theatre community here in San Diego to really succeed and grow. So it was exciting to -- our first two films were shot in our house, literally, in our living room. So it was exciting to branch out and go to New York, go to the big city and shoot on the streets of New York.

CAVANAUGH: Is it tempting to move a production company like daisy 3 from San Diego to, let's say, LA?


CAVANAUGH: Why do you like keeping it here?

VASQUEZ: I think it's -- for Carrie, it's a nice little retreat, it's a nice little artist's creative retreat to get out of LA and New York and come to sunny San Diego and hide away in our house with us and be creative. And again, the support that we've gotten here has been fantastic and easy. And we put out requests for help and people want to help. People want to come be a part of the game and the play.

CAVANAUGH: Now, Joel, let me get you into the conversation. As I said before, you wrote the songs for the film that's going to screen the Sundance this year called I am not a hipster. The film is about a songwriter. Tell us how the film uses San Diego music scene as a backdrop

PRESTON: So, the lead character is a songwriter working and living in San Diego. So you kind of see him interact with this small community of artists and musicians that are kind of -- anybody who's in touch with the San Diego music scene, there's a lot of familiar faces in the film, and familiar locations. But more than just being about the San Diego indie art and music scene, it really is made by that scene. And Dustin kind of employed the talents of anybody that you could think of that has anything creative to offer in this town. And I think one of the strengths of the community here is that it's small. So you have to support other people's projects if you want them to show up when you're going to put something on. So that's how this film was made. And that's how it was made on such a low budget, and with such a quick turnaround, which is really just -- only made this summer. It was just by getting all those people that we're used to work with on everything and saying we're doing another project, and show up to it, and those people did. So it very much showcases not just the idea of San Diego, but the actual people that are working here right now.

CAVANAUGH: Let me play for everyone, little, from one of the songs that you wrote from the film. This is from I am not a hipster called deadends.

(Audio Recording Played)

WEST: And just kind of be around, and the funny thing is that it was all for may, but I till felt kind of stressed and busy. So I'm anticipating, you know, this time we have a lot of work to do. And just a lot of things that -- involved with the film. And so it'll probably be really busy, and we'll probably have a lot les -- actually a lot less free time. But at the same time, there's such an inspiring community of people there, it's really exciting -- it's going to be a different experience just to be officially a part of that community. And to be able to talk to other filmmakers and be somebody who has a film in too is going to be pretty exciting.

CAVANAUGH: Carrie, the idea of screening at Sundance, sundancing a film is actually kind of a skill. Do you have an expectation in term of networking and trying to get your film seen? Maybe even picked up by a distributor?

PRESTON: Well, ultimately, that would be the best-case scenario, a distributor will look at the film and want to buy it and get it out into the world. We also are in this wonderful time, I think, in film making where there are many different ways to get films out in front of audiences, much more so than even five or ten years ago when it was just the one traditional way to do it. Of you go, you sell your film to a distributor, and then they take care of -- you know, they do everything after that. But now, you know, even Sundance is starting a whole new distribution arm online. Using the Sundance brand, they partnered with, you know, iTunes, and NetFlix, and Amazon and all these ways that people can download films. And any film that has ever played at Sundance, including this year, if you want to partner with Sundance, you can. And you can get your film distributed that way. So it's kind of nice to know that it's not -- it doesn't -- we don't have to follow that traditional path, that there are other opportunities that are out there now. And it kind of -- it makes me feel a little more excited, you know, just knowing that we have kind of a net in a way.

CAVANAUGH: Okay. So James, does what Carrie just said sort of change your marking strategy? Is it too old fashioned to bring DVD copies to hand out Sundance? Do you have meetings set up?

VASQUEZ: I think absolutely it changes the way. The social media certainly has opened up a lot of ways to promote your film and get the word out. Twitter and Facebook, we have a lot of followers and we've been able to get the trailer out, and get the attention around that's what she said in those ways. I think with that's what she said, we're holding off, and we're going to see what happens.

CAVANAUGH: Oh, okay.

VASQUEZ: We're approaching this festival a little differently than we've approached festivals in the past in marketing.

CAVANAUGH: We are just about out of time. I'm so sorry. This went so quickly. I want to thank my guest s, James Vasquez and Carrie Preston, producer and director, respectively of what's what she said. And Joel P. West who composed the music for I am not a hipster. Both of your films are screening on Friday. And good luck.

VASQUEZ: Thank you.

PRESTON: Thank you so much

WEST: Thank you so much.