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Arts & Culture

Entertainment News: San Diego Films Make Sundance Cut

Dominic Bogart in "I'm Not A Hipster," a film set against the San Diego indie music scene that made it into the Sundance Next program.
Brett Pawlak
Dominic Bogart in "I'm Not A Hipster," a film set against the San Diego indie music scene that made it into the Sundance Next program.

A Pair of SD Films Make It Into Next Program

San Diego Films Make Sundance Cut
KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando interviews filmmakers going to Sundance.

ANCHOR INTRO: Sundance just announced its film line up for January and two San Diego films made the cut. KPBS arts reporter Beth Accomando speaks with the filmmakers. Last year Sundance launched a program called Next in order to call attention to innovative, no-budget filmmaking. In January, Next will host 9 world premieres, including 2 with San Diego connections. "That's What She Said" was produced by the San Diego company Daisy 3 Pictures. "True Blood" actress Carrie Preston directed the quirky comedy. She says having her film selected is an extraordinary feeling. CARRIE PRESTON: It's kind of like my kid got into Yale and even if my kid doesn't go on to become a huge doctor or whatever, they still went to Yale so it's I kind of feel like it's this extraordinary thing just to be invited. (:13) "I'm Not a Hipster" also premieres at Sundance. Its story is set against San Diego's indie music scene. Director Destin Cretton went to graduate school at SDSU. In 2009, he won the top prize in the Sundance short film competition. He says getting a call from Sundance can change your life. DESTIN CRETTON: I don't quite understand it. When Sundance calls you and tells you that you are in their festival, everything changes. All of a sudden people and companies and agencies that normally wouldn't even return your phone calls are now contacting you. (:16) Ron Najor attended SDSU and produced "I'm Not a Hipster." RON NAJOR: You know there's nothing greater than having like a Sundance buzz about your movie because then it helps push it to that next level where everybody kind of wants to get it out there and have it be seen. (:10) Having his film selected for Sundance is a dream come true for Najor. The Sundance film festival kicks off January 19th in Park City, Utah. Beth Accomando, KPBS News.

On Thursday, Sundance announced the film line up for its January festival in Park City, Utah, and two San Diego films made the cut: "That's What She Said" and "I'm Not A Hipster."

Last year Sundance launched a program called Next in order to call attention to innovative, no-budget filmmaking. In January, Next will host 9 world premieres, including 2 with San Diego connections. "That's What She Said" was produced by the San Diego company Daisy 3 Pictures. The company is made up of San Diego residents James Vasquez and Mark Holmes, and Georgia native and New York resident Carrie Preston. They produced their first two features in San Diego: Vasquez's "Ready? OK!" starring Preston, and Preston's directorial debut "29th and Gay."

Preston may be best known as the actress playing red-headed waitress Arlene Fowler in HBO's "True Blood." "That's What She Said" is her second effort as director. The film stars Anne Heche and is set in New York. Preston says it's about "a big date, a bitter best friend, and a total stranger who can't stop talking about her who-ha."

She says having her film selected is an extraordinary feeling: "It's kind of like my kid got into Yale and even if my kid doesn't go on to become a huge doctor or whatever, they still went to Yale so it's I kind of feel like it's this extraordinary thing just to be invited."

Marcia DeBonis and Anne Heche star in Carrie Preston's "That's What She Said," which just got accepted into the Sundance Next program.
Daisy 3 Pictures
Marcia DeBonis and Anne Heche star in Carrie Preston's "That's What She Said," which just got accepted into the Sundance Next program.

"I'm Not a Hipster" also premieres at Sundance. Its story is set against San Diego's indie music scene. Director Destin Cretton attended Point Loma Nazarine and went to graduate school at SDSU. I have shown his student films over the years at my Film School Confidential Showcase and he was a guest blogger for Cinema Junkie in 2009 when he brought his short film "Short Term 12" to Sundance. He ended up winning the top prize in the Sundance short film competition that year.

"I don't quite understand it," Cretton says, "When Sundance calls you and tells you that you are in their festival, everything changes. All of a sudden people and companies and agencies that normally wouldn't even return your phone calls are now contacting you."

Cretton recently moved to L.A. with his producing partner Ron Najor, who also attended SDSU. Najor, who's short films I have also showcased over the years at Film School Confidential, was in a bit of a haze after getting the news just before Thanksgiving that "I'm Not A Hipster" was accepted into the Next film program.

"You know there's nothing greater than having like a Sundance buzz about your movie because then it helps push it to that next level where everybody kind of wants to get it out there and have it be seen," says Najor.

"I'm Not A Hipster" Trailer

Having a film selected for Sundance is a dream come true for Najor.

The Sundance film festival kicks off January 19th in Park City, Utah. Congrats to all the filmmakers who work outside mainstream Hollywood with little or no money but a lot of passion for their art.