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Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #70: Rick Alverson Returns to Divide Festival-Goers With ‘Entertainment’

Meet the 2015 Sundance Filmmakers #70: Rick Alverson Returns to Divide Festival-Goers With 'Entertainment'

Writer/director Rick Alverson (“The Comedy”) returns with this nightmarish account of a traveling entertainer lost on the brink. In Alverson’s immaculately bleak portrait, Gregg Turkington stars as The Comedian, caught in a struggle between being the center of attention and the object of alienation, occasionally challenged by an unexpected cast of characters played by Tye Sheridan, John C. Reilly, Michael Cera, and Amy Seimetz. 

An aging comedian tours the California desert, lost in a cycle of third-rate venues, novelty tourist attractions, and vain attempts to reach his estranged daughter. By day, he slogs through the barren landscape, inadvertently alienating every acquaintance. At night, he seeks solace in the animation of his onstage persona. Fueled by the promise of a lucrative Hollywood engagement and the possibility of rekindling a relationship with his daughter, he trudges through a series of increasingly surreal and volatile encounters. [Synopsis courtesy of Sundance]

What’s your film about in 140 characters or less?

En route to meeting with his estranged daughter, in an attempt to revive his dwindling career, a broken, aging comedian plays a string of dead-end shows in the Mojave Desert. 

Now what’s it REALLY about?

A last, petering, ugly hurrah of the white European-American male patriarchy. A sad inheritance of the new america, numbed and hypnotized by outsourced idiot dances to keep an uprising at bay. 

Tell us briefly about yourself.

5’11”. 168 lbs. 

What do you want Sundance audience to take away from your film?

A heavy heart. 

Any films inspire you?

Lisandro Alonso’s Liverpool, Hopper’s The Last Movie, Donen and Kelly’s Singing In The Rain, The Perry Como Show.

What’s next?

A three act, mid-century odyssey about figure skating, mental institutions, 19th century occultism and luminous hermaphrodites.

What cameras did you shoot on?

Alexa Plus with Lomo anamorphic lenses.

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 2015 festival. For profiles go HERE.

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