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10 Directors to Watch: Augustine Frizzell Goes Back to Sundance With Rowdy ‘Never Goin’ Back’

The latest auteur to hail from the Lone Star State, Frizzell will shake up Park City with this glimpse of two girls gone wild.

Born and raised in Texas, Frizzell was convinced that directing a film wasn’t in her cards. “I got pregnant when I was 18, and after that, I was a single mom on the verge of poverty,” she says.

Then she met indie maverick David Lowery. She starred in the director’s 2003 short film, “Still,” and later played smaller roles in his Sundance hits “Ain’t Them Bodies Saints” and “A Ghost Story.” (The two married in 2010.)

Lowery eventually persuaded Frizzell, who considers herself a “mediocre” actor, to take the plunge and direct a short called “Clean” in 2012, which she wrote and starred in alongside her daughter, Atheena.

“We spent 16 hours shooting that film, and even though I didn’t really know what I was doing, I knew right away that I loved directing,” she says.

That same year, Frizzell wrote “Never Goin’ Back” — a roman à clef in the form of screenplay — about high-school dropouts Jessie and Angela who plan on spending a week on the beach but are derailed by teenage negligence and bad luck. Selected for the Midnight section at Sundance, the high-energy romp plays like a cross between “Spring Breakers” and “Tangerine,” as directed by Richard Linklater.

Frizzell actually shot the script in its entirety twice, first in 2014 and again last year. “I wasn’t happy with the final product back in 2014,” she says.

So she turned that first attempt into a short called “Minor Setback,” which debuted at SXSW in 2016. She then reshot the film with a new cast and crew in August.

Looking forward to her upcoming Park City premiere, Frizzell can’t stop thinking about two scripts she’s completed, including “The Strays,” which was selected for the Film Independent 2017 producing lab.

“I just really like being on set,” she says.

Influences: Paul Thomas Anderson, Quentin Tarantino, Abbi Jacobson
Agents: WME
Lawyer: Frankfurt Kurnit Klein & Selz

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