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Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #36: Mike Birbiglia, “Sleepwalk With Me”

Meet the 2012 Sundance Filmmakers #36: Mike Birbiglia, "Sleepwalk With Me"

Comedian Mike Birbiglia is in the NEXT section with his debut film “Sleepwalk with Me.”

What’s it about? Reluctant to confront fears of love, honesty, and growing up, a standup comedian has a hilarious and intense struggle with sleepwalking.

Director Mike Birbiglia says, “I grew up in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts and went to college in Washington D.C. I immersed myself in my college’s improv troupe and got a job working the door at a comedy club in D.C. I majored in screenwriting and playwriting in school- and wanted to make films as a career. But when I directed my first short in college- which was called “Extras” – I lost thousands of dollars and made an unsatisfying and incomplete film. Standup comedy became an outlet where I could perform my writing without losing thousands of dollars per week. After doing standup comedy as my job for 13 years, I circled back to film and here we are.

The fact that film is a marriage of 6 or 7 different art forms (photography, music, sound design, production design, storytelling, acting, etc.) is a sometimes shocking reality to face. Every time you think you’ve figured out a scene or a sequence, you haven’t. There seem to be an endless amount of elements you need to create to truly fill out a scene. And when you’re in the process, it feels like it will never end. That’s a hard reality to face.

“I feel extremely lucky to be a part of the Sundance family (I guess that’s what they call it.) If it weren’t for Michelle Satter and the Sundance Institute, I’m really not sure this movie would have been made. So it’s very special to me that we’re premiering at the festival. That’s all.”

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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