Paradise Hills (NEXT)
Who: Alice Waddington, director
Logline: Paradise Hills is an eccentric institution where well-off families from all over the world send their daughters to be reformed.
The greatest flash of inspiration or brilliance we had making this film was: realizing that many of us were doing it for our younger selves. We want our audience to accept themselves as they are—to learn that together they can conquer monsters. For me, the film is dedicated to my teenage self, who would lock herself up in the school bathroom stalls during recess to read The Hobbit.
A darling I had to kill along the way was: a few sets that needed to be merged into each other in order to sharpen the focus of our complex third act. The sets were gorgeous, but had to go.
My favorite film festival moment in my life so far is: winning Best Director and Silver Feature Project of the Market at Fantastic Fest 2015, which opened the door for my producers and me to meet Guillermo del Toro that night. Watching Crimson Peak for the first time at Fantastic Fest, and the Belladonna of Sadness restoration the next morning, was unforgettable.
I’m most excited about seeing: any of the 26 glorious debut features directed by women in competition during this historic Sundance year. I’m always cheering for films directed by, and starring, female people of color, such as Hala by Minhal Baig, or Selah and The Spades by Tayarisha Poe. I would love to meet them in Park City.
When I heard we got into Sundance I: sobbed on the phone for about 15 minutes to Dilcia Barrera, the incredible festival programmer who called me. Then, I proceeded to call my mama and cry again for a slightly longer period of time.
The 35th Sundance Film Festival runs January 24-February 3, 2019 in Park City, Utah. This article appears in MovieMaker’s Winter 2019 issue. Photographs in featured image by Manolo Pavón, Ben King, Jomo Fray, Eric Lin, and Ian Routledge, courtesy of Sundance Institute.