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Sundance: Spike Jonze strikes 'I'm Here' deal

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Director Spike Jonze has proven again that he can make magic in any format. The director of Where the Wild Things Are created a beautiful 30-minute short called I’m Here about young love in Los Angeles. The film, which debuted here as part of the festival’s short program, feels like a modern-day retelling of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree, with two crudely constructed robots serving as the protagonists. Financed by Absolut Vodka, IFC claims it has reached a deal to air I’m Here — while others say the details has not yet been finalized.

Regardless, the buzz about Jonze’s short is undeniable. The director admits to the Silverstein influence, adding that he named his main character Sheldon in honor of the 1970s poet and storyteller. “I was trying to take the influence of The Giving Tree, but write about relationships,” says Jonze. “I love Shel Silverstein. I just love him.” Jonze hired Andrew Garfield (The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus) and Sienna Guillory to don robot costumes, while his special effects crew did a fantastic job drawing emotions out of robot heads that resembled the old Apple Macintosh Classic computer.

And how does Jonze feel about Where the Wild Things Are — his risky, big-budget adaptation of the children’s classic — now that some time has passed. He’s thrilled. “I feel like we got to make the movie that was in my heard,” says Jonze. “It was hard along the way but in the end, I feel like we got away with murder. We got to make this personal film on this [huge] scale.”

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