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Ballardite has two films in Sundance Film Festival

Posted by Ryan McNamee on January 10th, 2011

It was not until senior year of high school that Ballard resident Lacey Leavitt had realized she could write film scripts. “I was on track to do journalism,” Lacey says, “then it dawned on me that you could actually write films for people to make.” Today she has two films being premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, “The Off Hours” and “The Catechism Cataclysm”. “My first two feature films got into Sundance,” She said smiling, “It’s a good feeling.”

Lacey on set of "Off Hours". Taken by Regan MacStravic

The “Off Hours” was partly shot in Ballard:

You’re awake when everyone else is asleep. You’re standing still as traffic is whipping by at 70mph. Your off hours are spent trying to figure out why you’re here, whether you want to stay, and how to leave.

In THE OFF HOURS, Amy Seimetz (TINY FURNITURE) alluringly commands the screen as Francine, a waitress whose liberation from her mundane existence is long overdue.  In the restless world of the night shift at a highway diner, Francine’s life consists of casual encounters and transient friendships.   What she wants is out of reach—or is it that she’s lost track of wanting anything at all?   When a banker turned big-rig driver (BAGHEAD’s Ross Partridge) becomes a regular, he sparks hope in Francine.  As change begins to invade the quiet diner, Francine is reminded that it is never too late to become the person she was meant to be.

Writer/director Megan Griffiths draws complex characters and stays true to them, respecting their shortcomings and yearnings for connection.  The all-star indie cast of THE OFF HOURS is rounded out by Lynn Shelton (HUMPDAY), Scoot McNairy (MONSTERS), Tony Doupe (CRIMES OF THE PAST), Bret Roberts (THE VIOLENT KIND) and newcomer Gergana Mellin.

Amy Seimetz, lead actress in The Off Hours. Photo taken by Jason Ganwich

In The Catechism Cataclysm,

Storytelling in all its forms is skewered in THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM. In this divinely bizarre and funny tale, wild characters infuse stories within stories until the lines between the Bible, Mark Twain, and campfire tales are hilariously blurred.

Father Billy (Steve Little), an eccentric young priest, is forced to take a sabbatical by his superiors when he is discovered telling inappropriate parables to his flock.  Billy tracks down his high-school idol Robbie (Robert Longstreet), who begrudgingly agrees to a canoe trip.  On the water, the two men reminisce about Billy’s days as the keyboardist in a Christian band and Robbie’s as a guitarist for a metal band.  When night approaches, they realize they have lost their way–and that’s when things get weird.

Buoyed by commanding comedic performances by Steve Little (EASTBOUND & DOWN) and Robert Longstreet (GREAT WORLD OF SOUND) and deft handling by director Todd Rohal, THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM shines a light on the power of absurd fiction.   THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM is a production of Rough House Pictures (David Gordon Green, Danny McBride, Jody Hill).

Robert Longstreet has four films premiering at the festival this year including THE CATECHISM CATACLYSM, SEPTIEN, THE OREGONIAN, and TAKE SHELTER.

Screen Shot of Steve Little in The Catechism Cataclysm

More Screen shots of “The Catechism Cataclysm” can be viewed here.

Although they are two drastically different films, Lacey feels very good about both of them. “Since we don’t have any connections to Sundance, we wanted our first film to be perfect.” She has submitted two short films before, but with no luck.

Lacey is currently the board president for IFP (Independent Film Project) Seattle, the nations largest non-profit film organization and has co-directed and produced the award winning documentary, “Blood on the Flat Track” about roller derby. Recently she became a Rat City Rollergirl, which practices in Ballard.

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5 reader comments so far ↓

  • 1 Andrew Reichel // Jan 10, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    Steve Little rules in East Bound and Down.

  • 2 WildernessBarbie // Jan 10, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    I’ve had the pleasure of working with both Lacey and Megan, I’m ecstatic that they’re doing so well and setting such a good example for other females in the field of film making!

  • 3 Anonymous // Jan 10, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    Any idea when we might be able to see these films around town?

  • 4 Gimlet // Jan 11, 2011 at 1:44 am

    I’m happy for Lunch Box Lab, but I’m sad for Ballard!

  • 5 Gimlet // Jan 11, 2011 at 1:46 am

    Whoops…old comment appeared.

    We just watched “Blood on the Flat Track” on Netflix (Watch Instantly). It’s a great documentary. I love the cuts, the interviews and the filming both the fans and the girls as they raced.

    Congratulations on all your films and for getting accepted into Sundance!

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