For the filmmaking team of Lucas Leyva and Jillian Mayer, it's Sundance 2.0.
The filmmaker/artist duo brought the short film Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, to the Sundance Film Festival for the first time last year (along with some very unpretentious film fest swag in the form of Uncle Luke whoopee cushions). And the pair will be headed back to Park City, Utah, in January. Sundance has accepted Leyva and Mayer's latest collaboration, #PostModem, from over 8,000 submissions. It'll be one of 65 short films to show during Sundance in mid-January, but will screen for the first time as part of the Borscht Film Festival at the Arsht Center on December 15.
The inclusion marks Borscht's third straight year of inclusion in Sundance. And #PostModem isn't the only Borscht connection at the festival next year. Coral Morphologic, which has shown work at Borscht in the past and will present its psychedelic films on the giant screen at New World Center December 13, did work on the Sundance selection Coral: Rekindling Venus, a film installation focused on endangered coral reefs. The Apocalypse, by Philadelphia-based filmmaker Andrew Zuchero, will also screen at Borscht before hitting the screens at Sundance. And Yung Jake, who's scheduled to perform at the Bosh Film Festival, a Borscht event at Miami Art Museum December 14, has contributed Kickstarder to this year's Sundance lineup.
We asked Leyva, who also serves as Borscht Corp's "Minister of the Interior," about what he expects from his second Sundance experience, what to expect from #PostModem, and what sweet swag Sundance audiences can expect this year.
Cultist: So, Sundance again. How excited are you?
Lucas Leyva: Very! Even though this will be the third Borscht short in a row to play Sundance (after Xemoland and Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke) we were probably the most excited for this one. There is always the fear that it's a fluke each time you get in, and there were only 18 U.S. Narrative shorts chosen. It's extra cool because Andrew Zuchero (who made Otto and the Electric Eel with us last year) also has a short going, and both will be shown at Borscht 8!
What does it mean to you to have been invited back for the second time?
While it is just one festival and programming is determined by many, many things (including luck and the taste of the jury), we would be lying if we said it wasn't really exciting that Miami stories were being programmed consistently in festivals like this. When we started Borscht we had no idea if anyone would ever care, and neither did our funders like the Knight Foundation and Midtown Video. It was a huge risk for them, and it's nice to think that it may be working in some small way.
What can you tell us about #PostModem?
A comedic, satirical, sci-fi pop musical based on the theories of Ray Kurzweil and other futurists, #PostModem is the story of two Miami girls and how they deal with technological singularity, as told through a series of cinematic tweets.
It's sort of a sequel to I Am Your Grandma, and like Luke, it is based on the visual art of Jillian Mayer, adapted into narrative form. It's got a lot of heavy ideas and theories, but explored in the dumbest, most entertaining way possible.
What are you looking forward to at this year's Sundance?
This year is special because the film was very much made in the Borscht family. The main actresses are Jillian Mayer and Kayla de la Cerda (a New World visual art student who was our intern and wrote With Me for the fest last year) as well as Arly Montes who was a producer. The audio is being designed by Diego Meza Valdes and Cory Czajkowski, who were part of the team that made Play Dead. Our longtime DP Daniel Fernandez shot it, Jonathan Kane produced it as well. The musical numbers were made by Jillian and John Hancock from ANR. It is very purely a collective effort, and we were all comfortable working with each other.
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As always we are excited to be exposed to the best films in the world -- it's always a really cool learning experience and very humbling to be around so many awesomely talented people.
Any awesome stuff in the works like last year's Uncle Luke whoopie cushions?
We are currently pricing out custom tamagotchis. I hope we can make it work.