"I received notification by phone from California the day before Thanksgiving," Jillian Mayer tells us. "I heard that Sundance makes a tradition out of calling people around Thanksgiving to make the holidays a bit more joyous."
What a joyous Thanksgiving for Mayer it must have been, as her collaboration with Lucas Leyva and Rakontur, Life and Freaky Times of Uncle Luke, was selected to screen at January's Sundance Film Festival. It will screen as part of the festival's Short Film program where 7,675 submissions were received but only 64 made the cut.
"[Six-four] shorts were chosen out of 7,675 and we may be the film with the lowest budget," adds Mayer. "I had an amazing team comprised of friends and peers that put all their effort into this project. We worked and built sets in a hot dusty warehouse with haunted stray cats and filmed in the middle of the night."
Life and Freaky Times first screened earlier this year as part of the Borscht Film Festival. It immediately stood out among the crop of films for being perhaps the most forthcoming with its message. Adapted from the 1962 French short La Jetee, its star, 2 Live Crew's Luther Campbell, recounts life in Miami and his future for the city once he's elected mayor. Of course, there's a twist -- but we won't ruin it for you.
So what did Sundance see in the film? Mayer thinks the film's style and adaptation of La Jetee may have helped.
"There is a definite aesthetic style to the film, an interesting lead character, as well an awareness of film history by it being a remake of Chris Marker's La Jetee. There is also booty-bass music, community theatre-style acting, zombies, and all around weirdness."
And in case you are wondering, Mayer will be making the trek up to Utah thanks to the Knight Foundation.
The short's screening of the film also fulfills Borscht's mission to bring awareness to Miami filmmakers.
"Borscht aims to spread the independent Miami film scene to anyone that will watch it, world-wide," says Mayer. "What made the commissions of Borscht 2011 so special was the collaborations of local musicians and film makers. More than ever the filmmakers down here are getting attention around the world.
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"Not sure if you guys knew, but Play Dead, the Borscht collabo between the Meza-Valdes Brothers and Rachel Goodrich, swept all the horror fests, won numerous awards, went to Fantasia and a bunch of French festivals. We are just starting to hear back from festivals, but we hope to be able to bring our work to Austin in March at [SXSW]."