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NYers bring Big Apple flavor to Sundance Film Festival

My Idiot Brother

My Idiot Brother Photo Credit: Handout

In the ever-evolving independent-film world, one constant remains: New York’s place at its heart. That truth is reaffirmed each January at the Sundance Film Festival, as a strong crop of movies with NYC ties debut before penetrating the national market during the year.

The 2011 edition is no exception, with New York filmmakers at the helm of many entries, some of which sport local-centric titles such as “Gun Hill Road” or “Fight for Your Right Revisited” by Beastie Boy Adam Yauch.

We spoke with a few NYC-based directors with movies competing at Sundance about their hopes for the prestigious fest that begins tomorrow.

Jesse Peretz, 42, TriBeCa, ‘My Idiot Brother’
Where were you when you heard you got into Sundance?
I was playing tennis with my brother-in-law, one of the writers of the movie. I saw my producer Peter Saraf’s number on my phone and had some feeling that he was calling about Sundance, so cut our game to pick it up, and sure enough it was him with the very exciting news.

How do you feel about taking part in the fest?
I am very excited to be taking our movie to Sundance. I brought my first film there 13 years ago and had such a great time, and really thrived off the feeling of the whole independent-film world being in one small place.

What are your hopes for it?  
My main desire for Sundance is that “My Idiot Brother” gets well received by its first public audience.

Danfung Dennis, 29, Brooklyn, ‘Hell and Back Again’
Where were you when you heard you got into Sundance?
I was at my loft in Brooklyn, trying not to let the anticipation build, when my producer called from London. He paused, then said, “Get your winter boots on — we’re going to Utah!”

How do you feel about taking part in the fest?
I’m delighted to be in Sundance.  It’s such an honor and a privilege for me to be selected that anything else that happens at the festival is just a bonus.

What are your hopes for it?  
I’m eager to finally share this story and have others experience it. I only was able to get this far with the incredible team of people that have helped me along the way.

Rashaad Ernesto Green, 32, Harlem, ‘Gun Hill Road’
Where were you when you heard you got into Sundance?
I was actually in the middle of editing when I got the call. My editor snuck out of the room to eavesdrop when I got the call. When I hung up the phone, I lifted her high in the air as she screamed in exuberance.

How do you feel about taking part in the fest?
It’s pretty wild. I haven’t had time to fully process it all. The team is thrilled.

What are your hopes for it?
There’s no telling what will happen. It’s a great first step. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play before thousands of people who will make up our eager audiences, and to screen my film in the same venues that so many great filmmakers have been. It’s a blessing.

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