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Two Films With San Diego Ties Screen At Sundance

Anne Heche stars in

Credit: Daisy 3 Pictures

Above: Anne Heche stars in "That's What She Said."


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"


A pair of films with San Diego ties will screen as part of the Sundance Film Festival's Next program. Sundance kicks off this Thursday.

Sundance began life in Salt Lake City in 1978 as the Utah/U.S. Film Festival and was initially designed to draw more filmmakers to the state. But in the early 80s Robert Redford's non-profit organization the Sundance Institute took over the festival and changed its name to Sundance (after Redford's character in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"), and the festival soon gained a reputation for showcasing independent films.

Several years ago, Sundance set unveiled a sidebar called NEXT to showcase films that stretch limited resources to create impactful art. As the festival website puts it, "< = > (less than equals greater than) is our speak for creativity that transcends limitations. Although these films share a Festival category, there is nothing categorical about them. By nature they embody the spirit of independent filmmaking."

The two films from San Diego are "That's What She Said," a comedy set in New York but produced by the San Diego company Daisy 3 Pictures, and "I Am Not A Hipster," a film set in the San Diego indie music scene and directed by SDSU grad student Destin Cretton. Both films are being shown out of competition.

"That's What She Said" is directed by Carrie Preston (who plays Arlene in HBO's "True Blood." Her film focuses on Bebe (Marcia DeBonis), who is getting ready for a big date. She calls on her BFF (Anne Heche) for emotional support. Things go bad, a random stranger shows up and won’t stop crying (Alia Shawkat), and of course there's lots of talk about sex.

Here's the trailer.

"That's What She Said"

Trailer for "That's What She Said"

For "I Am Not A Hipster," the protagonist is a songwriter, and director Destin Cretton commissioned Joel P. West to write the songs and develop a musical identity for the character. West is part of the band The Tree Ring, and Cretton has directed two of their music videos.

"I wrote seven songs that appear in the film," says West, "And then a few more to complete a record under the name Canines, which is the character's moniker for his music in the film. Since the film explores the realm of musicians who record at home and release music on the internet, we recorded all of the songs at home and released them online to see what people would think of them."

The film focuses on the San Diego music scene.

"All music that appears in the film was either written specifically for it or came from local bands," adds West, "And we shot scenes at The Casbah and The Habitat. Destin and I both think there's something special about the tightly-knit, non-pretentious music circle in San Diego and the film really showcases the vibe of people working creatively here - it's not just about them, it's made by them. So many of our friends donated time and talents to make the film what it is and we're excited to show off their work to people outside of San Diego."

Here's the trailer.

"I Am Not A Hipster"

Trailer for "I Am Not A Hipster"

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