| LOS ANGELES
LOS ANGELES Jan 24 While promoting his
directorial debut "Rudderless" at the Sundance Film Festival
this week, actor William H. Macy stumbled across a major problem
- how to avoid divulging the film's big surprise.
"It's been difficult to do the publicity this week because
we've all been trying to protect that big reveal. It leaves you
with nothing but to be charming," Macy told Reuters.
"Rudderless," which premiered at Sundance on Friday, is a
story of a father coming to terms with his son's untimely death
in a school campus shooting. With the "Fargo" star behind the
camera except for a minor role, the film stars Billy Crudup,
Anton Yelchin and Selena Gomez.
Music plays a key part in the story, becoming the voice of
the son, Josh, as his father, Sam, discovers songs written by
him before his death. When Sam (played by Crudup) starts to
bring the songs to life with the help of a band, his son's music
takes on its own personality.
The film's "big reveal" is a crucial plot twist involving
how personal music is to people and how the meaning of songs can
change as new information comes to light.
Made for under $2 million in Oklahoma over 25 days, Macy
said his biggest challenge "as a naive first-time director" was
keeping within the tight budget, and finding a way to visualize
the music cinematically.
"All that remains of Josh is his music and his lyrics. He's
a character, and the only way he can speak is through his
music," Macy said. "Music is revealing of the person who writes
the song and it's revealing of the person who sings the song."
STUDIOS SNAP UP FESTIVAL FAVORITES
"Rudderless" bookends the film premieres at Sundance, after
a week of 119 feature films shown at different theaters across
Park City. Thirty-four films will compete in the four
competition categories - U.S. drama, U.S. documentary, world
drama and world documentary - and the winners will be announced
at Saturday's Sundance Film Festival awards.
Previous winners of the Sundance awards have gone on to win
Oscars, including 2006's "Little Miss Sunshine," 2009's
"Precious," and 2012's "Beasts of the Southern Wild."
Sundance also operates as a key market for studios to pick
up independent films at the beginning of the year, although the
pace of acquisitions and the prices paid have lagged the deals
struck in last year's edition.
Key acquisitions this year include opening night film
"Whiplash," which was picked up by Sony Corp's Sony
Pictures Classics for $3 million.
Focus Features, a subsidiary of Comcast Corp's
Universal Pictures, snapped up Zach Braff's Kickstarter-funded
film "Wish I Was Here" for a reported $2.7 million, and the
Keira Knightley film "Laggies" was bought by A24 for $2 million.
RADiUS-TWC, the multi-platform boutique label of The
Weinstein Co, which made five acquisitions last year including
two of this year's Oscar-nominated documentaries, so far has
only picked up one Sundance film, "The One I Love." The deal was
made for $2 million, according to Variety.
(Editing by Mary Milliken and Lisa Shumaker)