The Sundance Film Festival — touted as the most important independent film festival in North America — will play works by local filmmakers Trevor Anderson and Niobe Thompson when festivities kick off Jan. 24.
Anderson’s new, four-minute film, Docking, which explores the filmmaker’s fear of dating, will be seen in the Midnight Shorts section of the festival, which takes place in Park City, Utah. Though Anderson has had two films previously viewed at Sundance, he is nonetheless thrilled to have Docked make the festival lineup.
“It hasn’t lost any of the adrenalin spike that comes with that phone call,” said Anderson, a former actor, director and writer in theatre who has created 11 films since he branched into filmmaking in 2005.
Most of his work is on his website, trevorandersonfilms.com. But Edmonton audiences will have to wait to see Docking at the Docking Variety Hour, presented by Anderson at the Garneau Theatre at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The film, said Anderson, feels like a “very fast blockbuster.”
“We’re riffing on science fiction, horror, and we wanted to pack the feeling of those into four minutes to make it seem like an intense creature-feature.”
Other former Edmontonians have a part in Docking, including production designer Todd Cherniawsky (Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Star Trek: Discovery; Avatar) and editor Justin Lachance (Sharp Objects; Big Little Lies). Locally-based cinematographer Peter Wunstorf shot the film. Fish Griwkowsky, an Edmonton Journal arts writer, is associate producer and puppeteer on the project.
Fast Horse, by Edmonton filmmaker Niobe Thompson of Handful of Films, will compete in the International Shorts program at Sundance. (Readers may also be familiar with Thompson’s work; in September, he debuted a three-part series called Equus: Story of the Horse on CBC television.)
Fast Horse, which is 13 minutes long, is about the horse-racing tradition among Plains First Nation. Thompson followed a Blackfoot team from the Siksika First Nation over the course of a year to make the film. Directed by emerging Indigenous filmmaker Alexandra Lazarowich, the film focuses on Siksika horseman Allison Red Crow and new jockey Cody Big Tobacco as they challenge the best riders in the Blackfoot Confederacy.
“Indian relay is North America’s original extreme sport,” said Thompson, who was travelling in Australia and not available by phone, in an email.
Commissioned by the CBC, Fast Horse was recently awarded best short documentary after its world première at the ImagineNative Film and Media Arts Festival in Toronto.
Fast Horse and Handful of Films’ other new short film, Boy Nomad, were both recently selected for a world tour hosted by the Banff Mountain Film Festival, the world’s largest adventure filmmaking festival. The best films of each year are selected for a 12-month theatrical run, playing in 45 countries to an audience of more than 600,000 at more than 1,000 worldwide screenings.