Exclusive Video: In 'Sequoia' Trailer, a Former Disney Star Makes a Play for the Indies

In the film debuting at SXSW 2014, Aly Michalka plays a young woman with a terminal illness who plans to take her own life among the redwoods.

She got her start on the Disney Channel, but Aly Michalka -- she of musical sister-act Aly & AJ and The CW's cheerleader drama Hellcats fame -- graduates to something a little grittier in Sequoia, a new indie drama bowing at SXSW 2014.

In this exclusive trailer premiere, we follow Michalka as she embodies Riley, a tough-talking, cigarette-puffing young woman who has been handed a terminal diagnosis. (Warning: We get a close-up view of the tumor in her mouth.)

Riley is headed to California redwood country to end her life on her own terms when she meets Ogden (90210's Dustin Milligan), a sensitive musician just dreamy enough to make her second-guess a plan to OD on antidepressants. 

Sequoia also stars noted easel comic (and onetime Ang Lee muse!) Demetri Martin as Steve, geeky romantic foil to Riley's mom (Joey Lauren Adams, who has never looked more like Ellen Barkin). There's also a brief glimpse of Lou Diamond Phillips in a leather jacket and fedora, looking on the verge of imparting some crucial third-act wisdom. 

From first-time feature director Andy Landen working from a script by Andrew Rothschild, Sequoia makes its world premiere at SXSW on Sunday, March 9 at 5 p.m.