David Michôd talks Sundance selection

Simon de Bruyn, Contributing Writer
The man with the most famous circumflex in Australian filmmaking - and the bane of sub-editors everywhere - David Michôd, bounced back into headlines again last week with the news that not one - but two - of his feature films have been accepted into Official Competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. 

Yes, that's right - both Michôd's feature directorial debut Animal Kingdom, a gangland movie set in the Melbourne criminal underworld, and Hesher, the Joseph Gordon-Levitt-starring independent US feature he co-wrote with director Spencer Susser, will screen at the Park City alpine festival in January.

Michôd first sprang to international attention after practically taking over the short film circuit in 2008 when Crossbow (which he wrote and directed) premiered at Sundance along with two other shorts he co-wrote, Nash Edgerton's Spider, and Spencer Susser's zombie film I Love Sarah Jane.

In 2009, the festival also screened another of his short films, Netherland Dwarf

To find out how he was coping with this most recent Sundance embrace, Twitch tracked Michôd down to ask how he felt being back at the Park City festival with a feature so shortly after being there with a swag of short films.

"2008 felt really strange when we were all there with our shorts - like a great, weird coincidence that'll never happen again," he says. 

"But just two years later we're back, and on the big stage this time, and now that I'm thinking about it's actually making me feel dizzy like maybe I'm gonna throw up." 

He sounds like a kid in a candy store, who faced with a wall of sweets, is reeling from the realization that he just might be allowed to eat them all. And who can blame him; his success over the past two years has been a whirlwind; an indie filmmaker's dream run. 

Thankfully Michôd also has a sense of humor about it all, and given his antipodean roots, is also looking forward to a fun holiday in the snow.

"I remember when we went in 2008, [editor] Luke Doolan and [actress] Mirrah Foulkes, having grown up in the desert and the jungle respectively, had never seen snow before and I just got a thrill out of watching them roll around in the stuff, throwing it at each other, building snowthings with it - basically just running around like beautiful, little special kids. I can't wait to have that experience again." 

A blistering journey into the Aussie criminal underworld, Animal Kingdom stars Guy Pearce (Memento, The Road), Ben Mendelsohn (Knowing, Australia, Idiot Box), Joel Edgerton (The Square, The Waiting City) Anthony Hayes (Beneath Hill 60, The Square), Jacki Weaver (Alvin Purple, Picnic at Hanging Rock) and Mirrah Foulkes (Dying Breed) and was produced by Liz Watts (Little Fish). 

Animal Kingdom is slated for a May 6 2010 release in Australia, with other territories yet to be announced. 

Directed by Spencer Susser, Hesher is the story of a mysterious, anarchical trickster who descends on the lives of a family struggling to cope with a painful loss. It stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Natalie Portman, Rainn Wilson, Devin Brochu, Piper Laurie and John Carroll Lynch.
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