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SXSW loves a success story.
Far removed from the shark-infested Hollywood food chain, the festival’s intimate and laid-back setting allows for smaller films to shine that much brighter (see: Short Term 12, Drinking Buddies) while serving as an effective launching pad for promising new careers (see: Lena Dunham).
And that’s precisely what Charles Rogers and Sarah-Violet Bliss, who met at NYU film school, are banking on as they prepare to debut their first feature, Fort Tilden, in this year’s narrative competition.
Rogers and Bliss — which, as comedy duos go, has as sweet a ring to it as Nichols and May — cite Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off as inspiration for their buddy movie, which follows two friends from Williamsburg on an ill-fated day trip to Fort Tilden, a popular seaside destination among the New York hipster set.
The idea struck the writer-director pair last May and “we kind of just made ourselves make it by the end of the summer,” Rogers says of the production’s breakneck pace.
Standing in for Romy and Michele are Allie and Harper. Allie, the blonde — played by Bliss’ friend Claire McNulty (the two met at Oberlin College) — is the idealistic one, sort of, having signed up for the Peace Corps only to regret the decision and spend much of the movie dodging the organization’s phone calls.
Harper, the brunette — played by Bridey Elliott (“We stalked her on the Internet from the UCB website,” says Bliss) — is the spoiled artiste, waiting on a check from Dad to follow through on her creative plans.
In this exclusive clip, Allie and Harper, stranded in pizza-oven heat, are targeted by an opportunistic car service. This isn’t the first instance of “Uber angst” committed to film — he’s just your garden-variety livery cab driver — but it still manages to capture something zeitgeisty about our growing dependence on price-surged SUVs.
For more laughs, check out the gang’s Kickstarter video.
Fort Tilden premieres at SXSW on Saturday, March 8, at 9:30 p.m.
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