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Entertainment News: San Diego Filmmakers Head to Sundance

Pair Of San Diego Films Screen Today In Park City

Above: Destin Cretton's "I Am Not A Hipster."

Today, 2 films with San Diego ties will have world premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. I met with two of the filmmakers before they left for Park City, Utah.

Last summer I helped filmmakers and former SDSU grad students Destin Cretton and Ron Najor shoot a scene at the KPBS studios for "I Am Not A Hipster," a film set against the backdrop of the San Diego indie music scene. I never suspected that within a few months they would have the film edited and accepted into Sundance. What's even more surprising is that they won't be the only San Diegans holding a world premiere at Sundance.

"I'm not surprised at all," says James Vasquez of Daisy 3 Pictures, " A lot of good talent comes out of San Diego."

James Vasquez is an executive producer for Daisy 3 Pictures' "That's What She Said," a raunchy comedy screening at Sundance's Next program. He and Mark Holmes have been running Daisy 3 Pictures out of their Normal Heights home for the past 8 years.

"We are two of the Daisies," Vasquez says, "The third daisy is Carrie Preston [Arlene on 'True Blood'] who couldn't be with us today but we did recently cut a little promo video for the Next program at Sundance where Carrie introduces the film so we wanted you to meet Carrie and hear a little bit about the film. So we're gonna play that for you now.

"My production company Daisy 3 Pictures produced the film," says Preston in the promo video, "And we shot it in 20 days right here in New York City."

Vasquez explains that both San Diego films are screening as part of a recently added sidebar called Next.

"This Next program is an opportunity for Sundance to revisit some of its original roots," states Vasquez, "and give filmmakers an opportunity to bring films in that aren't of high budgets that really are of limited budgets or no budget movies as we jokingly call them."

Holmes is thrilled that the first film they submitted to Sundance got in: "It's the biggest independent film festival in the world. It's the film festival that everyone wants to get into because getting in a lot of times means the difference between getting some kind of distribution deal and not, the difference between actually your film getting a life and not. So it's a huge, huge thing to get in."

"You get accepted into Sundance," adds Vasquez, "and the phone starts ringing immediately with distribution companies calling and wanting to set up appointments, wanting screeners of the film."

Marcia DeBonis and Anne Heche in "That's What She Said."

Daisy 3 Pictures

Above: Marcia DeBonis and Anne Heche in "That's What She Said."

Films like "That's What She Said" go to Sundance with the hopes of locking down a distribution deal. But promoting a film at the festival has been changed in recent years by social media.

"We have a 'That's What She Said' Twitter account. We've been marketing through FaceBook.The trailer has been on the Hollywood Reporter site, so the Internet changes the way you have to market. You don't have to be out there standing in the cold handing out postcards as much as I think you used to. "

"Now no one is holding a postcard," says Holmes, "Everyone is holding an iPhone. So if you have posted a trailer or like a link to the Sundance page for the film on FaceBook, they are looking at it on their phone."

Technology also means Holmes can edit on his home computer and easily share files with Preston across a continent. That makes it easier to stay based in San Diego.

"So suddenly there's this thing where it does not matter where you are," Holmes tells me, "I mean we're in San Diego but other parts of the film were being done on the East coast and west coast, the world has just completely changed in 5 years as far as what you can do and where everyone can be while you're doing it."

Right now, the 3 Daisies are sitting in a theater watching their film unspool at Sundance. And according to the Internet, they don't have to worry about filling seats, all their screenings are sold out.

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