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Meet the Sundance Filmmakers #18: ‘Napoleon Dynamite’ Co-writer Jerusha Hess Makes Her Directorial Debut With ‘Austenland’

Meet the Sundance Filmmakers #18: 'Napoleon Dynamite' Co-writer Jerusha Hess Makes Her Directorial Debut With 'Austenland'

Jerusha Hess first made her mark at Sundance with “Napoleon Dynamite,” which she co-wrote. She was also the film’s costume designer. Since then, the Salt Lake City resident has co-written the screenplays for “Nacho Libre” and “Gentlemen Broncos” with her husband, Jared Hess. “Austenland” marks her directorial debut. It stars Keri Russell, Jennifer Coolidge and JJ Feild.

What It’s About: “An obsessed Jane Austen fan lives out her fantasy at an ‘Austen’ themed resort. There she navigates the delicate line between fantasy and reality and discovers what she really wants.”

What’s It REALLY About: “It’s a story about wish fulfillment — about that thing you’ve always wanted and when you get it, it’s not what you expected. But really truly it’s just a very fun rom com.”

My Biggest Challenge: “It has been a joy throughout but the biggest challenge for me was balancing my family and career. My poor daughter still hasn’t forgiven me.”

Inspirations: “Wizard of Oz,” “Dirty Dancing,” “West World,” all reproductions of Jane Austen’s books…

What I’m Up To: “I have a brand new baby so I will write this year.”

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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