Home is swell, but if Orange County-raised filmmakers Drake Doremus and Ben York Jones really want to feel the love, they go to Utah--Park City to be more precise and the Sundance Film Festival to be preciser.
It was announced Monday that Breathe In, the latest independent film directed by Doremus with a script he co-wrote with Jones, will roll during Sundance's Jan. 17-27 run.
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Doremus, who grew in Santa Ana and Newport Beach, first went to Sundance in 2009 as a fan. During a break from Doremus' first film, the quirky rom-com Spooner, playing at Slamdance, the even-indier Salt Lake City film festival that overlaps Robert Redford's joint, the 25-year-old made a side trip to Park City to catch a movie and dream of showing one of his own there some day.
Some day came the next year, when his follow-up Douchebag was entered into Sundance's U.S. Dramatic competition. The dramedy about estranged brothers taking a road trip co-starred Jones, Doremus' boyhood friend out of Irvine and Corona del Mar, who if you blinked you missed in Spooner because he was busy making music videos and finishing film school at Chapman University.
In 2011, Doremus and Jones not only returned to Sundance with a love story they co-wrote, Like Crazy starring Anton Yelchin and newcomer Felicity Jones, their film won the U.S. Dramatic grand jury prize that year.
After a one-year break from the Utah snow, the pair return with Breathe In, a project that reunited them with Felicity Jones. In Like Crazy, she was a Brit who fell in love with a Yank while here on a student visa, then faced challenges sticking with him after she was forced to return home. In Breathe In, she's an exchange student who upends her host family. Guy Pearce co-stars.
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"It's a different style," John Cooper, the Sundance festival director, tells Entertainment Weekly. "There's more play between all the different characters. That family dynamic is harder to pull off. It has more weight to it, because he's moving away from youth."
Indeed, you can see the growth of Doremus as a filmmaker and man by watching all his films (make it a Netflix weekend!). But the promise was there right from the start with Spooner, which starred Tustin High grad Matthew Lillard as a slacker forced by love to grow up.
Breathe In plays in the Premiere section, meaning it won't be in competition like Doremus' previous Sundance entries. But he and Jones will face stiff competition for buzz in Park City. Among the eagerly awaited titles there are: Lovelace, a biopic on the Deep Throat actress starring Amanda Seyfried; jOBS with Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs; Before Midnight, the third film in the Richard Linklater-directed, Ethan Hawke and July Delpy-starring series; Two Mothers, a drama by French filmmaker Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel) about two women (Naomi Watt and Robin Wright) who fall in love with each other's sons.; and The Way, Way Back, which re-teams Little Miss Sunshine's Steve Carell and Toni Collette as well as The Descendents' co-writers Jim Rash and Nat Faxon, who co-direct here.