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Meet the 2013 Sundance Filmmakers #53: Chris Nelson Celebrates Delusion in “Ass Backwards”

Meet the 2013 Sundance Filmmakers #53: Chris Nelson Celebrates Delusion in "Ass Backwards"

A road movie inspired by the likes of early Almodovar and Peter Sellers comedies, “Ass Backwards” is the first feature from Los Angeles filmmaker Chris Nelson. The film follows two best friends who travel back to their hometown to win the beauty pageant they lost as kids. The film starring Vincent D’Onofrio and Alicia Silverstone screened in the Park City at Midnight category.

What It’s About: “Ass Backwards” is about two very delusional best friends, Kate and Chloe, who met as kids when they both finished last in their hometown beauty pageant circuit. Years later, when they get an invitation to compete one last time, they take a wild road trip home that brings them face to face with each other and their past.

And So It’s Really About: Friendship. The way in which two close friends can simultaneously lift each other up and keep each other back. And it’s a celebration of delusion. Ignorance can be bliss.

What was your single biggest challenge in bringing this to the screen? “Ass Backwards” is a road trip movie which means there are a lot of different locations, set-pieces, and driving scenes. All of those things are expensive and time consuming. So making this film as a low-budget indie was my biggest challenge. I really wanted the film to feel as big and colorful as the two lead characters are. So extracting the most out of our budget was a big challenge. And I feel fortunate that I was surrounded by people who cared as much about this as I did.

What previous films impacted this one? The early comedies of Pedro Almodovar, Blake Edwards/Peter Sellers comedies, and a handful of 80’s comedies.

What will you expect of Sundance audiences?  I hope they feel like they’ve seen something new. I was attracted to this project because I felt like Casey and June, the writers and lead actresses, had a unique voice that I wanted to help shape and bring to the world. I love films that feel like discoveries. I hope audiences feel that way about “Ass Backwards.” And I hope they have a complete cinematic experience and a full-throttle good time.

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 2013 festival.

Keep checking HERE every day up to the launch of the festival on January 17 for the latest profiles.

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