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’Twas the Night Before Sundance

I'm coming for you, Robert Redford!

By Neha Aziz, 3:30PM, Wed. Jan. 15

’Twas the Night Before Sundance

What seemed like an ordinary Tuesday afternoon turned into something unbelievable. While sipping on a delicious vanilla latte, I got a voicemail that was exciting, frustrating, insane, and incredible all at the same time. What was this message that elicited such a mixed bag of emotions? An invite to work at the Sundance Film Festival.

Thanks to a last-minute cancellation, I was offered a spot – lodging and credential included. Naturally, I was at my wit's end because I essentially had one week. One week to book a plane ticket, convince my manager at my other job to give me 11 days off of work, and shop. (Let's be honest, one cannot go to a festival in the snowy mountains without buying a snazzy sweater or two.) Somehow, things fell into place, and tomorrow I will be in Park City, most likely with my mouth hanging open in shock and awe. Friends, I am warning you now, I am about to become ridiculously annoying on all social media platforms.

With 15 different categories, I am still working on finalizing and perfecting my film schedule. However, some films instantly grabbed my attention. Even though I was not the biggest fan of Joe Swanberg's mumblecore film Drinking Buddies, which premiered at South by Southwest last year, his new endeavor Happy Christmas intrigued me. The film stars Drinking Buddies alum Anna Kendrick, Melanie Lynskey, and Lena Dunham. Kendrick's character, Jenny, just went through a bad breakup and finds herself moving in with her brother and sister-in-law during the holidays. With any bad breakup, there is always some readjustment and what better way to figure your life out than with your family breathing down your neck during Christmas, am I right?

Plenty of Austinites will be showing off their work at this year's fest. UT lecturer Kat Candler will debut her film Hellion, which is based on her short film of the same name that premiered at the 2012 festival. Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul plays Hollis, the father to a troubled teenager named Jacob who convinces his younger brother Wes to stir up trouble with him. Wes is then sent to live with his aunt by Child Protective Services. Now Hollis and Wes are forced to deal with their unpleasant relationship in order to bring Wes home.

Both films will compete in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.

While on Instagram, I found out Sundance announced Richard Linklater's long-awaited film Boyhood will be showing on Sunday night. Back in 2011, I was an extra in a party scene in the film; it would definitely be a nice surprise if I did not make the cutting room floor. Boyhood is an experimental film in the sense that instead of casting different actors to portray different ages, Linklater used the same actor, Ellar Salmon. It has been in production since 2002 and follows Salmon's character and his relationship with parents as he grows up. Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette play his parents.

To see the full list of films that will be shown at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, click here

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With that, I'll see you in two weeks, Austin!

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