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January 23, 2012 at 11:50 AM

Seattle at Sundance: ‘Safety Not Guaranteed’

The Sundance Film Festival is underway in Park City, Utah, and if you missed our story about Seattle producers who shepherded projects to the indie-movie world’s biggest fete, you can read it here.

One film mentioned in that story, “Safety Not Guaranteed,” premiered there Sunday night. Here’s freelancer Christy Karras’ report from the event:


By Christy Karras

Special to The Seattle Times

The audience at Sunday night’s premiere screening of “Safety Not Guaranteed” broke into spontaneous applause and cheers before the movie even hit its final scene.

That was one of a few good signs for the Seattle-based film, chosen as part of the Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

Another good sign: the number of potential buyers lining up for tickets to the screening, so many that even some people involved in making the film couldn’t get in. After the screening, some of Hollywood’s best negotiators buckled down to work on a distribution deal that will likely come before the festival ends, ensuring that Seattle audiences will get a chance to see the movie.
Plenty of Seattle filmmakers and supporters were on hand for the premiere, including Lynn Shelton, whose “Your Sister’s Sister” (pictured below) screened a couple of days prior; it was picked up for theatrical distribution at the Toronto Film Festival in September and will also headline SIFF this year. Shelton is also on the Sundance dramatic competition jury panel.
Other film heavyweights in the audience included Jonathan Demme, in town with the Neil Young documentary he directed.
Based on an actual classified ad, “Safety Not Guaranteed” follows a reporter and two interns from Seattle Magazine who set out to investigate the oddball man behind an ad seeking a partner for a trip back in time.
Starring indie veteran Mark Duplass (who also executive produced the film with his brother Jay), and Aubrey Plaza (“Parks and Recreation”), the movie was shot on location in several city neighborhoods and in Ocean Shores (called Ocean View in the movie). Although the screenwriter and director are not locals, most of the crew and many supporting actors were from Seattle.
After the movie, the director, Colin Trevorrow, praised the crew, especially production designer Ben Blankenship, for making the film look much better than its budget should have allowed.
Critics are already praising the film for its big heart and many funny lines, courtesy of screenwriter Derek Connolly in his feature debut.
Trevorrow got another round of applause when he said, “The theme of this movie, for me, is that even crazy people deserve to be loved. So find your crazy person and march through time with them.”
Photos: “Safety Not Guaranteed” and “Your Sister’s Sister,” both taken by Benjamin Kasulke.



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