When filmmakers Elan and Jonathan Bogarín inherited their deceased grandmother’s home where she had lived for more than seven decades, they couldn’t bring themselves to follow their mother’s advice and simply toss out her belongings and sell the house. Once a year, for her last ten years, the sister-brother filmmaking duo had interviewed their grandmother about her life, and that need to know more about her and the life she lived led them to make one of the more original and visually innovative documentaries at last year’s Sundance Film Festival.
In the first trailer for “306 Hollywood,” we see how the Bogaríns turned their grief into a poetic documentary and their grandmother’s cluttered New Jersey home into a magical archeological dig. The filmmakers used their reflective, almost Anges Varda-like footage of their aging grandmother talking about the most intimate details of her life as anchors to build outward.
Recruiting professional help from a funeral director, a fashion conservator, a historian, a physicist, and an archeologist, they excavate the house to find meaning in the layers of her possessions. Meanwhile, their imaginative recreation of her life takes on the diorama-style of a Wes Anderson film – even employing dollhouse miniatures – mixed with a heavy dose of magical realism of transforming her home into a dreamscape of jungles, trains, 1950s fashion, and starry nights.
“306 Hollywood” was one of three 2018 festival films selected, along with SXSW winner “Thunder Road” and “The Devil We Know,” to be part of the Sundance Creative Distribution Fellowship. Following in the footsteps of the program’s inaugural films – “Columbus” and “Unrest” – the Bogaríns received a sizable grant from the Sundance Institute to help cover the cost of marketing and distributing the film themselves, in exchange for being willing to be transparent with their expenses and financial bottomline. The fellowship is part of Sundance’s efforts to help forge a viable financial path of self-distribution for well received festival films that don’t attract distribution offers that live up to a niche film’s full potential.
Elan and Jonathan Bogarín’s documentary will premiere at the Quad in New York City on September 28, with 15 cities to follow. Check out IndieWire’s exclusive trailer below.