Sundance Speed Dating with... LAND HO! Cast and Crew

Valentina I. Valentini, Contributing Writer
Co-writers and directors Martha Stephens and Aaron Katz bring a funny, sweet, bromance like none you've seen before to Sundance. One-liners from first-time actor/full-time physician Earl Lynn Nelson (who is Stephens' cousin and someone she always wanted to make a movie with) riddle the opening, and immediately comfort the audience into going along on their quirky ride through Iceland. 

Twitch sat down with Stephens, Katz, Nelson and co-star Paul Eenhoorn (beloved from last year's Sundance Audience Award-winner This is Martin Bonner) after the premiere, which was given a standing-O, to try and pull out some more inspirational one-liners. 

Twitch: if you weren't acting or writing/directing what would you be doing?
Martha Stephens: I would be have a farm in the middle of nowhere in West Virginia and have Jersey cows.
Aaron Katz: Well I wanted to be a scientist when I was a kid. I wanted to study insects or dinosaurs. I don't know if I'd still do that, but maybe. 
Paul Eenhoorn: I'd be a professional golfer.
Earl Lynn Nelson: Probably an aquatic botanist, and learn how to farm the ocean.

If you had $100 million and no restrictions, what would you make with it?
MS: I would make something for myself, but I'd also try to help my friends finance their films.
AK: Well I'll say the same thing, but also I really want to make a western.
MS: Oh yea, I want to make a western.
ELN: Oh we could do blazing saddles!
MS: I think Aaron and I both know that westerns don't make money so it'd have to be our $100 million film.

Who's the person thats had the most influence on you or your work?
ELN: It was my mother and daddy. Doing without, for me.
MS: Every experience you have growing up attributes to what you become and what your interests are. Living in Appalachia and also discovering people like Bruce Springsteen at a really young age. I'm going with Appalachia and Bruce Springsteen.
AK: My high school theater teacher, who also taught the film classes. I thought I wanted to be an actor and without him I don't know that I'd be making movies.
PE: Women.

How do you define success in the marketplace for your film?
MS: I feel like I'm successful if I resonant with at least a few people. 
AK: This movie is a comedy and it feels so great to see the work that we did make people laugh. The more people that can see if the better. I do really think and hope that people will connect with this film if they get the opportunity to see it.
ELN: The award is right in there. [pointing to the theater]

In three words or less, what is it like to see yourself/your film up on the big screen?
PE: Same as it ever was.
MS: That's five words.
ELN: Paul's favorite word [fuck] with an ing on the end of it, amazing.
AK: The best feeling.
MS: Alright, alright, alright.
AK: That's a Matthew McConaughey quote.

What did you do the moment you found out the film was accepted into Sundance?
ELN: I thought someone was bullshitting me.
PE: I drank some wine.
AK: We were all in different places, so we couldn't celebrate together. But when I got the call it was from a number I didn't recognize. I got it when I was doing dishes at home and I thought maybe it was from my landlord's maintenance guy. I couldn't quite believe it when I finally listened to the voicemail. Not that I couldn't believe it because I believe in the movie, but it's amazing when you realize that people are going to see this thing we did together.

When have you been most satisfied with your life?
MS: I feel like I'm never completely satisfied. I'm very hard on myself and beat myself up. But this is pretty close, this moment now.
AK: In relation to filmmaking I never feel satisfied. I love this movie, but it just makes me want to go make another one. In life, my wife Elizabeth (who's in the movie), I've very happy with her.
MS: Oh yea, I'm very happy with my husband and my home life. I'm talking strictly professionally. With this kind of occupation you never know when the next thing is going to happen. That is great because it keep you motivated and focused, but it also is unnerving.
PE: One moment is when I'm on a plane flying to somewhere to shoot a film and someone else is paying for it. That's a professional level you reach where you realize you are actually living part of what your dream was. The other moment is when you're approached by audience members after the film and they love it.
AK: I have one more thing to add, which is my real answer. Eating a sandwich.
ELN: I was pretty satisfied to see that Aaron got the Tabasco tie I sent him.

If you could have a superpower what would it be?
MS: I want to live forever and stay this age.
PE: It's not printable.
AK: I don't think I would want a superpower. There are a lot of tempting superpowers, but as we've learned from TV and movies they always have negative consequences.
MS: I'm sorry, but the characters of Twilight seem pretty happy about being able to live forever. They get to be in love forever. They're beautiful and young. I live in Twilight, let me stay here. 
ELN: Is there a superpower for healing people? I'd do that.

What would I find in your suitcase if I looked in it.
PE: Underwear.
MS: I can tell you what would be in Aaron's suitcase: crossword puzzles, mystery novels and snacks.
ELN: Cheez-Its, don't forget them. My suitcase has all kinds of clothes and shoes. My feet are so big I can't fit anything else in there.

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