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Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | New Crop for Monday

Photo of Nigel M Smith By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire January 10, 2011 at 3:41AM

Another four filmmaker interviews join indieWIRE's "Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers" series today, continuing this year's series spotlighting the festival's filmmakers ahead of the event, which kicks off January 20.
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Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | New Crop for Monday
Scenes from all four films. Images courtesy of Sundance Institute.

Another four filmmaker interviews join indieWIRE's "Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers" series today, continuing this year's series spotlighting the festival's filmmakers ahead of the event, which kicks off January 20.

Monday's crop include Vera Farmiga's directorial debut "Higher Ground," Jon Foy's "Resurrect Dead," Drake Doremus's "Like Crazy," and Leonard Retel Helmrich's "Position Among the Stars."

Soon after the Sundance Film Festival unveiled its 2011 lineup, indieWIRE invited directors with films in the Sundance U.S. Dramatic & Documentary Competitions, as well as the World Dramatic & Documentary Competitions and NEXT section, to submit responses in their own words about their films. indieWIRE has been the place to get to know the Sundance filmmakers ahead of the festival for more than a half-dozen years.

Over 50 in the four sections provided their responses and indieWIRE will roll them out daily through the start of the festival later this month.

A snapshot of Monday's four featured interviews:

Oscar-nominated actress Vera Farmiga steps behind the camera for the first time with her debut feature film "Higher Ground," competing in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Inspired by the memoirs of Carolyn Briggs, "Higher Ground" is a coming-of-age tale that charts one woman's spiritual journey through life. As Farmiga (who also stars in the film), revealed to indieWIRE, she was inspired to direct after becoming fed up with the scripts that were landing on her doorstep. "A year ago," she said," I was outside at my burn pile tending to the smoldering coals of autumn brush and scripts featuring pathetic excuses for female characterization when my manager Jon called and offered some sound advice:  "Stop asking for permission."  What a notion!  Create my own opportunity."

Also slated for the U.S. Dramatic Competition is Drake Doremus' follow-up to his Sundance entry "Douchebag," "Like Crazy," a love story of the purest kind. On coming back to Sundance with a drama this time around, Doremus said, "Going into it with a comedy last year I was so nervous about audience reaction in the room, but this year with a drama, I'm more excited to let the movie sink in and not worry about laughs. I love Sundance audiences. I think they are comprised of some of the most film-savvy audiences in the world. They are hungry for great work and they are rooting for it."

Over in the U.S. Documentary Competition is Jon Foy's "Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles." In it, Foy recounts how a young artist, Justin Duerr, became fascinated with a horde of tiles containing cryptic messages that were found embedded in the asphalt of city streets around the world. "Believe it or not, I first met Justin, the protagonist, by prank calling him," Foy told indieWIRE. "The call was directed at his roommate, but Justin mistook it as a breakthrough in the mystery he'd been pursuing. So I introduced myself in order to apologize for the misunderstanding. Right then, as I met him, it just clicked and I told him we'd make this into a movie one day. That was summer 2000. Five years later I dropped out of school and moved back to start filming."

Meanwhile filmmaker Leonard Retel Helmrich follows up his award winning documentaries "The Eye of the Day" and "Shape of the Moon" with "Position Among the Stars" (World Cinema Documentary Competition). The film provides an in-depth portrait of Indonesia through the eyes of one family living in the slums of Jakarta. Helmrich cited fiction films as the reason he got into filmmaking: "As a juvenile I saw the films of Sergio Leone, like “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in the West,” he told indieWIRE. "It really moved me that you can tell a story by using camera movements. At first I wasn’t aware that it was the camera movements that inspired me to become a filmmaker, but when I became a filmmaker and moved from fiction to documentary I learned myself how to make camera movements by intuition. "

Four new Sundance filmmaker interviews for Monday:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Higher Ground" Director Vera Farmiga (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Like Crazy" Director Drake Doremus (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Resurrect Dead" Director Jon Foy (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Position Among the Stars" Director Leonard Retel Helmrich (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Friday's four Sundance filmmaker interviews:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "The Ledge" Director Matthew Chapman (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Buck" Director Cindy Meehl (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Family Portrait in Black and White" Director Julia Ivanova (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "to.get.her" Director Erica Dunton (NEXT)

Thursday's three Sundance filmmaker interviews:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “If a Tree Falls” Director Marshall Curry (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “An African Election” Director Jarreth Merz (World Cinema Documentary Competiton)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | “Take Shelter” Director Jeff Nichols (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Wednesday's four Sundance filmmaker interviews:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Gun Hill Road" Director Rashaad Ernesto Green (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Prairie Love" Director Dusty Bias (NEXT)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "A Few Days of Respite" Director Amor Hakkar (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Hell and Back Again" Director Danfung Dennis (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Tuesday's four Sundance filmmaker interviews:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "HERE" Director Braden King (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "BEING ELMO: A Puppeteer's Journey" Director Constance Marks (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "All Your Dead Ones" Director Carlos Moreno (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Senna" Director Asif Kapadia (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Last Monday's five Sundance filmmaker interviews:

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Benavides Born" Director Amy Wendel (U.S. Dramatic Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Crime After Crime" Director Yoav Potash (U.S. Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Bellflower" Director Evan Glodell (NEXT)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "The Flaw" Director David Sington (World Cinema Documentary Competition)

Meet the 2011 Sundance Filmmakers | "Abraxas" Director Naoki Kato (World Cinema Dramatic Competition)

This article is related to: Features, Filmmaker Toolkit, Interviews, Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles