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Up at the top of Park City's Main Street, Sundance's younger, funkier cousin has staked its annual claim alongside the larger festival. The Slamdance Film Festival is happening right now, and for an insider look at what it's like to bring your film there-- and how hard you have to work to promote it-- we've got Halley Feiffer and Ryan Spahn to bring us dispatches about their film, He's Way More Famous Than You, which premieres today at Slamdance.
In the film Feiffer plays a version of herself, a fame-seeking aspiring actress who will do anything-- including kidnapping the Karate Kid-- to hit it big. She co-wrote the film with Ryan, and it's directed by Michael Urie, who you might know from Ugly Betty. For more on He's Way More Famous Than You, click here.
In this first dispatch, Halley talks about the thrill of surprising people with her much more normal real-life demeanor, while Ryan is already regretting the baggage he's brought to Park City. Read below and come back for much more!
"Here I am hanging up a poster for our film which will poster-ed over in like an hour but that's cool then I'll just hang up another one."
"Yeah, when I talked to you on the phone,” the Slamdance Submissions and Programming Manager is telling me, “I was so relieved! Because you seemed so normal. ‘Cause, like, when I saw how you were in the film… I was scared.”
I’m here at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City with a movie that I co-wrote, produced and acted in, called He’s Way More Famous Than You, which is about a delusional, narcissistic actress with a severe drinking problem named Halley Feiffer. “Halley” in the film is convinced that the solution to her misery lies in finding as many celebrities as she can and exploiting them into helping her catapult herself into worldwide notoriety.
When I wrote the film with my friend Ryan Spahn, it felt very clear to us that we were writing a parody of our younger selves – two self-absorbed, insecure actors trying desperately to throw themselves against every wall, hoping something will stick. “Hahahaha!” we thought – “It’s so funny how sad we used to be! And how not like that we are, now!”
And yet, here I am in Park City, trying to drum up interest for my film amidst the avalanche of press being generated for the literally hundreds of other films being screened here, and suddenly it seems so tempting to let myself become that character I wrote again. Walking down Main Street here feels to a film fan how walking through Times Square must feel to a tourist, his first time in New York – everywhere you look there is something mind-blowingly exciting and so glittery and high-octane that it almost hurts to think about it. Dave Grohl is playing an intimate live set with all his awesome musician friends? Where?! The guy who “The Dude” was based on is hosting a party tonight?!? Put me on the list I’ll bring White Russians!!! Some company I’ve never heard of is giving out free sunglasses??!!?! GIVE THEM TO ME ALL RIGHT NOW JUST PUT THEM IN MY BAG MORE PLEASE MORE PLEASE THANK YOU!!!!!!!
I have to keep reminding myself while I’m here, I think, that we are here to show our film and support other films, and be a part of a bustling, enthusiastic community that exists around a common passion – a passion for an art form, not for one-upping expectations every second and seeing as many famous people as you can and stuffing as many free things in your bag as possible. I like surprising people with how “normal” I am, and I want to try to keep it that way.
I didn't have to go to school today 'cause I'm famous for three days. I made a movie I co-wrote & starred in & it got into a big-time festival in Park City, Utah. Okay... so it's not Sundance, but who gives a care?! This is my virginity lost; my cherry goodbye; my first festival. &... this movie is my baby made with my baby-mama, Halley Feiffer, & birthed under the acute guidance of Dr. Michael Urie, & we are gonna explode all over this dang festival, & show our gorgeous love-child loud & proud. But... this line... this massive line at JFK. A woman over the intercom shouts, "zone 2, zone 2. Now boarding zone 2 for Salt Lake." "What about zone 3?! Give me zone 3! Give me Park City! Give me frostbite! Give me Slamdance!"
Ugh. I overpacked. Physically & emotionally.
"Here is director / costar Michael Urie sticking condoms to postcards for us to hand out to make people want to see our movie cuz they'll maybe think they'll get to have sex with us then."