Meet the Sundance Filmmakers #7 : Kat Candler’s Explores Responsibility and Manhood in ‘Hellion’ Starring Aaron Paul

Meet the Sundance Filmmakers #7 : Kat Candler's Explores Responsibility and Manhood in 'Hellion' Starring Aaron Paul

Kat Candler fell in love with filmmaking at Florida State while studying creative writing. Upon graduation she moved to Austin and is now a lecturer on film at the University of Texas. Her earlier films have premiered at Los Angeles Film Festival, San Francisco International Film Festival, Slamdance, and on PBS. Her most recent short films “Hellion” and “Black Metal” premiered at Sundance in 2012 and 2013. 

What it’s about: “A thirteen-year-old’s delinquent behavior and his father’s neglect force the courts to place his younger brother with his aunt.”

What it’s really about: “Hellion plays on the idea of responsibility and manhood. It’s a story
about a blue-collar, widowed father and his motocross, heavy metal
obsessed son learning to take responsibility for their poor choices and
bad behavior in the aftermath of the mother’s death.”

Biggest challenges: “Besides the Texas summer heat and blood-sucking mosquitoes, I would
say the biggest challenge was our limited number of shooting days.
Working with five kids, we could only work a set amount of hours each
day and it often proved pretty difficult. Luckily I was armed with five
gifted young actors.”

Inspiration: “‘Over the Edge,’ ‘The Outsiders,’ ‘Kes,’ ‘Urban Cowboy,’ ‘Alice Doesn’t Live Here
Anymore,’ ‘Stand By Me,’ ‘Lord of the Flies’ … and then bands like
Metallica, Slayer, High on Fire, Pig Destroyer, Death and 70s southern
rock.”

Cameras used: “We shot on the Alexa with Kowa Anamorphic lenses.” 

Hopes for Sundance audience take-away: “While shooting our 2012 Sundance short ‘Hellion’ in the blistering summer
heat over two years ago, I fell in love with this fictional world we’d
created. Small town kids – bored and angry – stirring up all kinds of
trouble … I wanted to give voice to these good kids making heartbreaking
mistakes. These kids were struggling with adult issues far beyond their
emotional capabilities. And they wanted so badly to be heard and
understood, but often times spoke up in all the wrong ways. I want
audiences to pay attention to these kids and listen to their stories.”

What’s next? “I’m developing a feature version of the short I had at Sundance in 2013
called ‘Black Metal.’ I’d written a feature version a few years back so
now I’m diving back into that script with excited little fingertips.
It’s about a heavy metal singer who gets publicly blamed for a murder
that was inspired by his music and the personal aftermath of that blame.”

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 2014 festival.
For profiles go HERE.

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