Sundance: Prize-winning 'Whiplash' short aims to go long
If you’re an aspiring filmmaker, sometimes the best thing you can do is sell yourself short.
Most of the talk at the Sundance Film Festival is about feature-length movies, but the shorts program is actually where many aspiring directors take their first steps into the storytelling business.
EW spoke with two such filmmakers — one a veteran, one a newcomer — about starting out this way at Sundance.
Fifteen years ago, Jason Reitman brought his student film Operation to the indie festival’s shorts program, long before he would become an Oscar nominee for Juno and Up in the Air. This year, Reitman and fellow executive producer Jason Blum helped another young director, Damien Chazelle, make his own Sundance breakthrough with the intense, 18-minute music-school drama Whiplash. (The project was also produced by Nicholas Britell, Helen Estabrook, and Couper Samuelson.)
They all got some welcome news last night– Whiplash won the Sundance short film Jury Award for fiction.
Think of the movie as Full Metal Jacket at Juilliard, with J.K. Simmons starring as a brutal jazz orchestra teacher, unloading his frustrations on a novice drummer (The Perks of Being a Wallflower‘s Johnny Simmons.)
In the video above, EW presents an exclusive clip from Whiplash, and the producers and director reveal that the short was designed as a proof-of-concept piece to help secure funding for a full-length version of the story.
Are you ready for J.K. to go full-on Buddy Rich when he flies off the handle?