Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Proper Kvell. For Jem, from Scout.

As some of you already know, on Tuesday I'll be headed out to the Sundance Film Festival.

A three day vacation! Without any kids! It's going to be great. I just checked out their website. And -- OMG! -- it turns out they show MOVIES there! How cool is that?

Excited? Me? Maybe a little. Enough that in an email about the logistics of my return flight, my husband did feel compelled to remind me that I "do have to come home eventually."

So yes, my brother Matt and I are going to Sundance to see 3 Backyards, written and directed by our brother Eric, and starring Edie Falco, Embeth Davidtz, Elias Koteas and Kathryn Erbe. It's our first time at the festival, but Eric's third; in 1999, he won the Directing Award for his debut feature, Judy Berlin. (A fine addition to your Netflix queue, by the way; it also stars Edie, and features the final, heartbreaking performance of the late great Madeline Kahn.) Since nobody could possibly be less of a horn-tooting attention seeker than my brother, who happens to be one of my very favorite people in the universe, I thought I'd take a moment to sing his praises and link to some of the pre-festival buzz on him and his film, which premieres tonight at 8.

  • LA Weekly just wrote an amazing piece about Eric and his singular artistic vision, not to mention a few fun tidbits about growing up Mendelsohn. (I even get a mention!) You can read it here.
  • A short video interview with Eric, talking about the film, here.
  • Or maybe you'd like to read Emmy-winner Edie "Carmela Soprano" Falco, who also happens to be Eric's best friend, on why it's a crime that Eric hasn't been able to make more movies. That would be here.
  • The New York Daily News wonders if 3 Backyards is this year's Precious; I'm going to go with, "one can only hope."
  • Indiewire did this interview with Eric, in which he talks about making the leap to shooting digitally, and in color.

I'm enormously proud of Eric. I don't care if he wins a thing at Sundance. I don't care if I don't get to any celebrity-studded parties. I'm just so pleased that in a cultural climate that prizes all things flashy and commercial and anything-but-subtle, a thoughtful filmmaker like Eric can make exactly the kind of film he wants, and then find a venue like Sundance where his work can be celebrated. I'm proud that he's managed to be so uncompromising and principled as an artist, and I'm thrilled to be there supporting him.

Oh, who am I kidding? I just want to meet Kristen Stewart and James Franco and look cute in my warm sweaters and fake Uggs.

No, seriously. Getting into Sundance -- there were 1058 submissions for the 16 Dramatic Competition slots -- is an extraordinary accomplishment in itself. Please join me in congratulating Eric and the hardworking cast and crew of 3 Backyards on this amazing achievement. Here's to a great time for everyone in Park City. I'll be the one with the enormous smile.


  1. Congrats to your whole family; definitely so much fun to see you kvell. Hope we will hear from you while you are out there... Have a blast, so jealous!

  2. I am really excited for Eric and for all of you. What an incredibly talented family you are - each and every one! Have a wonderful time. I've been meaning to do a post on the film, and what nicer tribute could there be than yours . . . so I may just link to your post. Congratulations to Eric!

  3. I am so excited for you! (And for your brother. And your other brother. Okay, all the Mendelsohns. And the cast. And the audience who gets to watch. Will you tweet pictures for we the poor masses who have to stay home? Please?

  4. It has taken me days to finish reading this post! I would click on one of your links to check it out. Then I had to go to Netflix to put "Judy Berlin" in my queu. Then back here. Click on the next link to check that out. Then back here. ~ You packed so much fascinating material into one post, Jen. And, wow! You certainly have a lot of high achievers in your family. I bet every one of your siblings is bursting with pride over you. I hope you're having a fabulous time at Sundance. I'm off to read your first post from there now. Dani