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Jared said if you threw a hot dog boil, people would come. I was most taken with the incredible sense of family loyalty and friendship loyalty. In 1997 the aspiring moviemaker was elected student-body president of the Idaho high school, winning with a skit. For a BYU screenwriting class, Hess wrote and directed Wyatt: We needed a lot of extras for the final dance scene. Coon: Film stock that could shoot in a dark interior [like the school auditorium] was more expensive, so we had one roll, and it was about 11 minutes. He danced to two Michael Jackson songs and one Jamiroquai song. Gries: I would go to the church on Sunday with everyone.In almost every interview, being LDS would come up.It kind of gave the Church exposure in a different area for a while. It’s like Han Solo being trapped in carbonite—it kinda looks like him but with little drippy drips coming from his crevices and mouth. And probably my favorite is my MTV movie popcorn award for winning best film. Napoleon would be on a professional gaming team competing at the world championships in South Korea.
It was just this hinterland kind of perspective on life that they had never seen before, but it rang true to them in some shape or form. Coon: The next day we had seven or eight offers from different companies for the film, which is amazing. She wanted the viewer to have some degree of discovery of the movie, to think they were finding something nobody else knew about it.
Lorenzen: After we finished making it, everybody was like, “Well, okay, that was cool,” and we all went on with our lives. He calls me and tells me, “You’re in.” Not just that—but in the dramatic competition. Coon: No person who was not a friend of ours or who was not being paid for work on it had seen the film.
I went to grad school, Jared went back and was a cameraman for the Utah Jazz. Only 16 films get into the dramatic competition, what all the awards are for. This would be the first raw audience to give us an honest opinion. I think I would just gag until my eyes turned red, and then it would stop.
And yet they were almost more hip, more up on current things, more ahead of the curve on music and humor.
This was a very hip crowd, very smart crowd, and extremely confident, which was really lovely to see.