I can remember interviewing Adam Green this time last year one late night for an article about Grace, Paul Solet’s film that had premiered during the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, which Green helped champion and produce.
One year later, Green is back in Park City for the 2010 Sundance Film Festival, but this time as a writer/director for his own film, Frozen (review here). I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to speak with him to find out how different the Sundance experience is for him this time around and to find out the latest surrounding Frozen’s February 5th release.
So how is Green holding up with the frenetic pace of Sundance? He had just one word to sum it up: exhausting.
“Being at Sundance and seeing my film with an audience has been somewhat of an emotional experience for me,” explained Green. “I don’t know if it’s because I am not sleeping and barely eating, but getting the type of responses to Frozen that we’ve gotten has been so overwhelming.”
Frozen premiered on Sunday evening to a sold-out crowd at the famed Egyptian Theater in Park City as part of Sundance’s “Park City at Midnight” film series. I asked the director to talk about how it felt being there with an audience for the premiere.
Green said, “It was probably the most amazing thing ever, to have a room full of people there watching Frozen for the first time and having my parents in the audience with me. Then, at the Q&A afterwards, it was just one of those moments that you realize everything has paid off, even for my parents who tirelessly worked five jobs between them just to provide for our family. I work so hard at this because of them. That’s what matters most to me — making sure I make them proud.”
While Frozen so far has enjoyed several successful screenings within the confines of Park City, it’s the Salt Lake City screening tonight that Green is the most anxious and excited about.
“The screening in Salt Lake isn’t a regular Sundance audience. It’s not just industry people or press; it’s definitely more of a fan-filled screening since it’s not in Park City. People have been lining up there since around 1 pm today so I am really excited to see what the response is going to be,” Green said.
Green went on to talk about the responses he’s experienced so far by saying, “I’ve been so lucky that 90 percent of the reviews and responses we’ve gotten with Frozen have been very positive. As a director, the most rewarding thing to me is when someone comes up to me and tells me that my work has affected them in some way.”
Green is keenly aware though that, true with anything in life, you won’t always reach everyone, and that’s something he can definitely live with.
“Look, I made Hatchet — I am the king of bad reviews,” joked Green. “I’ve never expected that everyone will love everything that I do. I just always ask for people to be fair when they are reviewing my stuff. When you have a publication that gives you a bad review and you see them during the movie on their phone and writing a review for another screening during it, then it’s clear that there’s no way they could understand what I was doing or that they really have any business reviewing the movie at all.”
“When I make movies, I always keep my fans in mind. If you like my work, then Frozen is for you. If you don’t like me or my previous work, then this isn’t going to be your cup of tea, and that’s okay. My priority as the writer/director on Frozen was to deliver a terrifying film, and the bottom line is that I know I’ve done that here,” Green added.
One issue that Green wanted to set the record straight on with Frozen was something posted in a recent review about the amount of CGI used in the film.
Green said, “I was so frustrated after reading one review because they talked about our CGI wolves. There is nothing in Frozen that is CGI. Our wolves are real; you’ll see that with the DVD special features that Adam Barnick is working on right now.”
“Our cast was really on a ski lift on a mountain, freezing their asses off. The way we shot Frozen, I put my life on the line for this movie. Everything had to be authentic for Frozen to work, and I think that people tend to doubt the authenticity with the wolves or whatever else is because these days no one could really fathom that a director would put actors in a space with live wolves, but I knew we had to,” Green added.
Another shot I wanted to talk to Green about was the scene (also seen in the trailer so there are no spoilers here) where one of the characters attempts a jump off the ski lift chair.
“We shot that using prosthetic legs and a camera,” explained Green. “We attached the camera to the legs, went up the lift, and just tossed the legs with the camera down into the snow and ice.”
“There was no other way for us to make that shot work without making it feel unrealistic or like it was CGI. So we just went for it. It paid off, though, because when that part of the movie hit the screen during Sundance, you could hear the audience collectively gasping. It’s such a great feeling to know that some of our risks are paying off now,” Green added.
It was also announced today that Anchor Bay is adding more screens to the slate for the February 5th release of Frozen. I spoke to Green to get his thoughts about the upcoming release and Anchor Bay’s theatrical plan based on the Sundance buzz surrounding his film.
“Currently, Anchor Bay is putting Frozen on 93 screens, but the 5th and the 6th are really important for the film,” Green explained. “Basically, if we do well enough, Anchor Bay is ready to pull the trigger and release the movie wide the next week. But it’s those first two days that are the most important because they make or break us.”
Want to see Frozen but aren’t sure where it’s playing? Check out the ArieScope site that lists all the theaters, and don’t forget to check out the film when it hits theaters on February 5th!
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