Asheville movie gets a ticket to Sundance

It took three years to make, attracting no small share of buzz, rumors and speculation. But now it’s done, and word came Nov. 28 that Anywhere, U.S.A, formerly known as Asheville: The Movie, will premiere in January at the Sundance Film Festival.

Going places: Early publicity art for Asheville: The Movie, now on its way to the Sundance Film Festival as Anywhere, U.S.A.

The creation of director Chusy Haney-Jardine and his wife, Jennifer MacDonald, Anywhere, U.S.A. has been a local labor of love. An announcement on the film’s Web site reads: “We’re all chuffed up here in Asheville, North Carolina where the film was shot in its entirety. We wanted to thank all the wonderful people, artists, musicians and businesses from our beautiful home town that helped this little film transcend itself, including our spectacular cast, most of whom had never set foot before a camera. Thanks to all of you who said ‘yes.’ Perversely, thanks to all of you who said ‘no.’”

Jardine told Xpress that despite the name change, “our film is an Asheville home-grown project—always has been, always will be” and adds that with the exception of the L.A.-based director of photography, the entire cast/crew is from Asheville. “If they weren’t from Asheville when they started the film, they ended up living here in the end!”

As for the name change, Jardine said that a variety of artistic and personal reasons drove it. “The film itself ultimately decided what the title was to be—the themes explored, the foibles, and the hopes experienced by the characters are relevant to and could happen, well, ANYWHERE in the U.S.A.,” he wrote Xpress via e-mail.

However, Jardine said that viewers will still see many Asheville locations in the film.

He was also bombarded by friendly (and some not-so friendly) messages about how the town should be represented in the movie, and in the end, decided changing the name was the best step.

He noted that Asheville itself had also changed since he began the project. “Since the germination of the idea, this town has changed significantly and some of the assumptions that held true for me about the place are no longer the case.”

The description of the movie, from Sundance, reads: “Told in three segments ranging from satirical to tragic, the film is a wildly original look at American manners, prejudices, and family dynamics.” The only cast member listed on the Sundance Web site is Perla Haney-Jardine, the filmmakers’ daughter. Jardine said that due to the space on the Sundance application, he couldn’t list the 25 other cast members, all of them local, featured in the movie.

Sundance takes place Jan. 17 to 28 in Park City, Utah. Jardine says he hopes to have an Asheville premiere of the movie early next year. “There is nothing that would give me more satisfaction than to screen my film at the Fine Arts Theatre,” he told Xpress. “When I moved here ten years ago from Brazil I dreamed … of the day that I might be able to have the privilege of showing my film there. I can’t wait.”


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