Laughs, thrills for Sundance winner

'Maid' director gets spate of new projects

After winning Sundance’s World Cinema Grand Jury Prize in 2009 with his sophomore feature “The Maid” (La Nana), Chile’s Sebastian Silva, who’s also an artist and musician, has proven to be quite a multifaceted talent, mastering the English language after just a few years in Canada and New York, and making his mark with a theatrical thriller and a shortform comedy.

“Silva perfectly understands the relevance of content over style, of truth over artifice,” says “The Maid” producer Gregorio Gonzalez. “He delivers his stories with honest and blunt blows, shot after shot, to an audience that can’t help but fall for his characters and immerse themselves in his narrative.”

Silva wrote and directed HBO comedy Web series “The Boring Life of Jacqueline,” which debuted this month, and recently wrapped an yet to be titled psychological thriller toplining Michael Cera, Juno Temple, Emily Browning and Catalina Sandino Moreno, which Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions snapped up for the U.S. and select international territories.

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Working with Cera was made easier for the writer-director by having previously collaborated with the star on an under-the-radar road movie, “Crystal Fairy,” produced by Chilean shingle Fabula, which backed Silva’s first pic, “Life Kills Me” (La Vida me Mata). “It was a small, fun experiment and helped me to get to know Michael,” Silva says of “Crystal Fairy.”

Family has always been a key part of Silva’s life. His three brothers starred in “Crystal Fairy” while the youngest, Agustin, has a key role in the untitled thriller, and played the young boy in “The Maid,” which was shot in the family home.

For the thriller, Silva, his talent and crew were ensconced in a massive house in a secluded part of southern Chile for more than a month. “We were one big, happy family,” he recalls. “It felt like a reality show.”

His next project, appropriately enough: a family thriller.

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