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

By Indiewire | Indiewire January 11, 2014 at 11:49AM

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.
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Kat Candler

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.

This article is related to: Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Hellion, Meet the 2014 Sundance Filmmakers





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