Some filmmakers get an education just by showing up. In Jeremy Lovering's case, his post-graduate film school experience came partly because no one objected to him attending, despite the fact he had initially only audited. After years of writing and directing for series and TV films, he's arrived at Park City with an unscripted mind-assault starring Alice Englert ("Ginger & Rosa"). Lovering shared with us the genesis of his new thriller and all the non-Bertolucci classics that helped shaped it.
What It's About: "It’s a psychological horror about a couple who’ve known each other for two weeks and are driving to stay in a hotel in Ireland when the hotel signs lead them in circles, darkness falls and they become terrorized by something unknown. Home invasion but in a car."
Now What It's REALLY About: "I wanted to create a fable that examines fear as a state of being – the root and cause of all suffering and asks whether violence must be the inevitable consequence.
"Fear of the dark, the unknown and being lost give way to fear of being terrorized by something for no discernable reason which gives way to the fear that you have let the evil in.
"Paranoia, suspicion and anxiety are the seeds. Pride, anger and machismo help it grow.
"Blame becomes the currency in the struggle for survival. Social contracts are broken, the bonds of humanity dissolved and the choice must be made – sacrifice or revenge.
"An act of violence provoked by violence. A provocation of more violence.
"The human condition.
"The way the world works but a glimpse of how it could be different."
Biggest Challenge?: "For the movie to feel as authentic as possible, I decided the actors would never know the story and would never be given a script: they had no idea what was coming – no idea what the plot was and no idea what would happen. But as a genre film, it had to hit certain genre beats. So I had to create a framework and an environment that allowed both.
"It was a continually evolving process where every day on the shoot, the actors would be exposed to set-up events but their emotional reaction could never be entirely predicted."
What I Shot On: "Alexa. Canon 5d, Canon 7d. Go-Pro."
What I Want Audiences To Remember: "I'd love audiences to be totally immersed in the moment and excited and thrilled by a relentless escalation of tension and fear and then for the film to stick in their minds after. I'd love the themes and issues to percolate into their conscience and then who knows maybe they might see the world just a little bit differently as a result.
It would be great to say that after seeing the film the audience and myself might stop lying, cheating, fighting, being greedy, ruthless, macho, prejudice, violent, paranoid, suspicious and fearful but I think that's unlikely.
I'd just like them to buzz about it when they're there and after they've left."
Films Used for Inspiration: "Repulsion, Knife in the Water, Duel, The Vanishing, The Hitcher, Them [Ils], Funny Games, Deliverance."
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they faced and what they're doing next. We'll be publishing their responses leading up to the 2013 festival.
Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on January 17 for the latest profiles.