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Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #30: Erin Greenwell, ‘My Best Day’

Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #30: Erin Greenwell, 'My Best Day'

Sundance programmer Jon Korn calls “My Best Day” “a charming, up-to-the-minute slice of Americana” and says “Greenwell’s quirky script and great ensemble performances ensure that My Best Day is both subversive and sunny.” In the film, Karen’s (Rachel Style) day goes from bad (she must work on July 4) to crazy (she falls in love and sets off a cascading domino effect of small-town antics).

What’s it about?  On the 4th of July, Karen may have found the father she never knew. To get to him she’ll have to navigate her new trailer park family. 

Says Erin Greenwell: “I was a shy kid but this gave me observation. I stumbled across the talent of being a mimic and caricature drawer of hated teachers. I did an unsolicited living history presentation as Butch Cassidy from the Hole in the Wall Gang in the 3rd grade and did not get picked on for it. Comedy became power. From that point forward I wanted to tell stories and movies seemed this biggest way to do it.

“‘My Best Day’ takes place over the course of one day on a hot 4th of July. Everything was preproduced to the hilt: 23 practical locations, 20+ dayplayers, 9 principals on any given day throughout an airtight 18-day shoot.

“Resources fell into our laps. From trailer parks to motorcyclists to cop cars; someone had access or knew someone who had access. We had a great cast, gorgeous locations and an amazing crew.

“Production designer and liaison to the town we were shooting in (Bangor, PA) James Gloria exclaimed, “Everything is working out too well! What, are we going to get 18 days of rain or something?”

“Cue thunder. Bangor had a freak string of torrential downpours, blue skies and/or rolling morning fog daily. Contingency plans occurred on a minute-by-minute basis as weather sites would show sunny icons and then clouds would blow in and dump buckets of water.

“The good news was, it took our minds off of any doubts. Not being able to control the weather humbled and emboldened us at once. We felt so lucky when the weather was behaving, adrenaline distilled all fear into creative energy and we would go for it.

“My most political, sharp, sincere and true moments as a director have been hearing a room full of audience members relate to characters across lines of race, gender, class and sexuality.

“As a filmmaker, I want nothing more than this. I want to be specific about my own perspective enough to present the much larger reality of life that we all share.

“In other words, I want you to laugh.”

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 2012 festival.

Keep checking here every day up to the launch for the latest profiles.

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