Both 'Crystal Fairy,' 'Magic Magic' topline Michael Cera

Who: Sebastian Silva, writer/director
What: “Crystal Fairy” and “Magic Magic”
Where: “Crystal Fairy” — Friday at 4:00 p.m. at Redstone Cinema 2; “Magic Magic” — Saturday at Midnight at the Egyptian

Director Sebastian Silva returns to Sundance after his breakout film “The Maid” won the world dramatic competition at Sundance in 2009, two years before his other movie “Old Cats” screened out of competition. The Chilean filmmaker has two movies starring Michael Cera at this year’s festival – “Magic Magic” and “Crystal Fairy,” the latter of which is an acquisition he says was “a little miracle” that resulted from a delay on the former picture.

“We were in Santiago, Chile waiting for ‘Magic Magic’ to come together. Michael had already been there for three months and I knew I could just make it with my brothers. The story was always in the back of my mind because it happened to me and a friend of mine. We didn’t even have a screenplay, so it was largely improvised. We wrote an outline and knew every scene, but there wasn’t much dialogue written, so Michael came up with a lot of stuff. ‘Crystal’ isn’t really a ‘movie movie.’ It’s a really lucky, fun happening that was filmed,” explained Silva.

“The way they were made and planned was so different. With ‘Crystal Fairy,’ you never turned off the digital camera or said ‘cut.’ You’re just capturing life. Who wouldn’t enjoy that kind of filmmaking? There’s less pressure and more fun. It’s a very straightforward, linear story. There’s nothing really avant-garde or experimental about it. If you went to Kim’s Video [in New York], it’d be in the comedy section,” Silva said of “Fairy,” which UTA is selling domestic rights to at Sundance.

It’s a road trip movie. We were like, what about this restaurant? Can we film here? We’ll pay you and buy your food! But ‘Magic Magic?’ That’s much darker,” warned Silva, who said he was especially excited about this year’s festival.

“I got influenza the first time I was at Sundance. Everyone is coughing on each other in those little bars and everyone looks like shit in their parkas. But I enjoy answering most of the questions at the Q&As, and I’m looking forward to this particular festival because it’s stuff I’ve been working on for three years,” explained Silva. Helmer also planned to go snowboarding with his brothers, who star in “Crystal Fairy.”

“Michael watched ‘The Maid’ one winter’s day in New York and he loved it, so he reached out and we met in L.A. We promised to collaborate one day and became really good friends. He’s always playing the same quirky, shy kid which is something they tend to do — stereotype actors. We take him out of that character, and I was impressed by his skill and intelligence. We had great fun.”

As for what’s next, Silva said he is writing a larger-scale family thriller titled “Captain Dad,” as well as a little movie he’s been trying to make forever about an eight year-old homosexual who falls in love with his godfather. That may sound like a challenging premise, but Silva has proven himself capable of delivering the unexpected.

One in a series of profiles on filmmakers and talent from the Sundance Film Festival 2013.

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