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Sudbury film makes a splash at Sundance

Every year, it seems, the film sector in the Nickel City reaches a new milestone. It could be number of productions filmed here, amount of money spent or the quality of big-name actors brought in to work.
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Who's that familiar face in front of the Sundance Film Festival banner? Well third from the right is none other than David Anselmo, the CEO of Hideaway Pictures and Northern Ontario Film Studios, who was at Sundance this week for the Midnight Madness premier of "Antibirth", which was filmed in the Nickel City. Also pictured is (from left) actors Jessica Greco, Emanuel Kabongo and Natasha Lyonne, director Danny Perez (in back), actor Chloë Sevigny, Anselmo, executive producer Lee Broda and editor Aden Bahadori. Photo supplied
Every year, it seems, the film sector in the Nickel City reaches a new milestone. It could be number of productions filmed here, amount of money spent or the quality of big-name actors brought in to work.

This year, that milestone just might be having a film shot in Sudbury featured at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, the largest film festival in the U.S.

The film premiered at a Midnight Madness screening on Jan. 25 at Sundance and an early review from Screen Daily plays up the film's deft directing and writing, hallucinogenic cinematography and strong performances.

The pre-party for Antibirth attracted a good crowd, who were treated to a performance from rapper Nas. The screening itself attracted people like actor Maya Rudolph, comedian Nick Kroll and actor Jason Ritter.

For David Anselmo, CEO of Sudbury's Hideaway Pictures and Northern Ontario Film Studios, one of the producers of the film, having a local film at Sundance validates the skill and talent of Greater Sudbury's film sector.

"It was a great experience to represent Northern Ontario and Canada at this major international festival," he said today in a message to Northern Life. "Very proud of the whole team involved, especially all the northern talent that contributed to the project.

"It shows how talented we really are."

He said the premier of Antibirth attracted several A-listers and everyone seemed to enjoy the film.

The horror film is director Danny Perez's debut feature. It's a tale of illegal drugs, strange pregnancies and weird experiments. Screen Daily reviewer Kim Newman called it "intentionally ramshackle and hallucinatory ... highly crafted and unsettling."

"A seam of good character acting runs through the outrageous horror, and the promising Perez works hard to ground the flights of fancy in credible low-life excesses," Newman said.

Look for a Sudbury screening of Antibirth in the near future.

Production details

Production Companies: Traverse Media, Hideaway Pictures, Culmination Productions, Green-Light International, Timshel Pictures, WeatherVane Productions

International Sales: GreenLight International

Producers: David Anselmo, Justin Kelly, Natasha Lyonne, Roger M. Mayer, Cole Payne

Executive Producers: Tommy Ardolino, Lee Broda, Tim Burke, Tom Butterfield, Jeff Elliott, Anders Erden, Jeremy Loethen, Ben McConley, Chad Moore, Jeff Rice, Gregory P. Shockro, Jason Van Eman, Rob Weston

Co-Producer: Veronica Radaelli

Screenplay: Danny Perez

Cinematography: Rudolf Blahacek

Editor: Aden Bahadori

Production Designer: Peter Mihaichuk

Main Cast: Natasha Lyonne, Chloë Sevigny, Meg Tilly, Mark Webber


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