One of the films catching fire ahead of the Sundance Film Festival is 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints,' starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (straight off her Oscar nomination for 'Girl With The Dragon Tattoo').
The film is about an outlaw who escapes prison and sets out across Texas to find his wife and the daughter he never met. Director David Lowery, who is also garnering loud buzz, spoke to us before heading out to Park City, Utah, to premiere his film.
RedBullUSA.com: You've been making films for several years and your first feature 'St. Nick' inspired The New York Times to suggest you were "ready for a bigger canvas." It must be exciting to have 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' in competition at Sundance. Do you remember what you were doing when you found out? How'd you celebrate?
David Lowery: It's definitely exciting. Every film feels a little bit like your first one in its own way. You're always sort of starting over with each one you make. That being said, I wish I had a more exciting "getting the phone call story" with this film. I was in the edit suite, working on something, trying not to think about Sundance, and my producer texted me to let me know that we got in. I'm sure getting the call was very exciting for him! As for me, I just kept editing, with a much more concrete and imposing deadline suddenly on the horizon.
RedBullUSA: What's been the toughest part of this whole process, from going through the Sundance Lab to where you are now?
David Lowery: I don't know. Making movies is always tough, but it's a good kind of tough. Working with a bigger budget means working with more people, and dealing with more cooks in the kitchen was definitely something I wasn't 100 percent used to. But it was fine. Sometimes you get in fights with people or agree to things you don't want for reasons you later realize were nonsense -- and you learn from those experiences and if you've got your wits about you, they don't hurt the movie.
RedBullUSA.com: You got an amazing cast with Casey Affleck, Rooney Mara and Ben Foster. How did you come about landing them? Were you intimidated on first meeting them or was it no big deal?
David Lowery: I lucked into it. I have no idea how it happened. I love them and am happy to count them all as friends and collaborators. They took the movie and ran with it, and I'm eternally grateful for that.
"[The title] predates the movie, I know that much. I think I came up with it in 2006 -- a title waiting for a movie. It was meant to sound like a fragment from an old song or something like that. Something folksy."
RedBullUSA.com: You've been back and forth from Los Angeles to Texas and I'm sure people have said, "move to L.A. to really pursue film." What keeps you living and working in Texas, instead of L.A. or New York?
David Lowery: I just like it a lot. I'm comfortable here. L.A. is good in bursts, but Texas is nice and quiet and big. It gets a little too hot these days, but other than that I feel like I get more done here. Plus my family is here, and so as much as I might travel or work elsewhere it'll always feel like home for that reason.
RedBullUSA.com: 'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' is such a cool title. How did it come about?
David Lowery: It sort of just came into existence. It predates the movie, I know that much. I think I came up with it in 2006 -- a title waiting for a movie. It was meant to sound like a fragment from an old song or something like that. Something folksy.
RedBullUSA.com: I know you said you would pull a Red Bull Stratos and jump from 128,000 feet in the air for your movie. If Sundance said, "We'll only show your film if you make that jump" would you do it?
David Lowery: I absolutely would... if I could go tandem. I've only gone skydiving once, and I loved it, but I don't know if I'd trust myself yet to pull the chute myself.
'Ain't Them Bodies Saints' premieres at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, and it screens in Houston on January 31 as part of an initiative by the Sundance Institute.
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