Luis Guzman is one of America's most successful character actors. He's appeared in dozens of films and television series, from Short Eyes in the 1970s to Miami Vice in the 1980s to Carlito's Way, Boogie Nights and The Limey in the 1990s. Now he's featured on the new HBO show How To Make It In America.
He talks with us about growing up in New York's Lower East Side, and about his work there as an activist and social worker. As a teen, he hung out at the legendary New Yorican Poets Cafe, watching poets and writers like Amiri Baraka, Allen Ginsburg and Miguel Piñero, who cast Guzman in Short Eyes in the late 1970s, and got him his first television audition, for Miami Vice in the 1980s. Since then, Guzman has become a favorite of directors like P.T. Anderson and Steven Soderbergh, among others.
Jeffrey Blitz and Sean Welch were nominated for an Oscar for their first documentary feature, Spellbound. They made the film as a duo with money borrowed from credit cards - Blitz behind the camera, and Welch holding the microphone boom.
Trevor Groth is director of programming at the Sundance Film Festival. He started at the festival as a teenaged volunteer; today he's charged with reinvigorating its rebellious spirit. He and his team watch thousands of films each year, working to build a lineup for the world's most prestigious festival of independent film.
Derek Waters and Jeremy Konner are the creator and director of Drunk History, a series of shorts in which comedians get very, very drunk, then re-tell their favorite stories from history. The stories are re-enacted, with drunken narration and dialogue, by notable actors. Past participants have included Michael Cera and Jack Black. At Sundance, Konner and Waters screened two shorts, one featuring the story of Tesla and Edison, with actors John C. Reilly (above) and Crispin Glover, and one telling the story of Lincoln and Douglass, who were portrayed by Will Ferrel and Don Cheadle.
The cycling enthusiast, muscle car parts salesman, and wildlife worshipper Frank P. DeLarzelere III, aka Biker Fox, is both loved and loathed in his hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Director Jeremy Lamberton found himself fascinated with the character of Biker Fox, and set out to make a documentary feature about the complexities of his persona and lifestyle. The film explores the sometimes-strained relationships between Biker and the people of Tulsa. Biker Fox premiered at the Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.
BONUS: TSOYA documents some of Biker's characteristic attention-grabbing stunts on the streets of Park City.
Taika Waititi is the writer, director and star of "Boy," which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival. James Rolleston is his pre-teen co-star. The film, based on Waititi's Oscar-nominated short, is a funny and affecting coming-of-age story set in a rural New Zealand village.
Rolleston plays "Boy," a young Maori boy who lives with his grandmother. When she heads off to a funeral in the city, he's put in charge of the house, and is shocked when his father, played by Waititi, comes home from jail. Boy and his father struggle to connect, as the father struggles with the responsibilities of adulthood. Rolleston and Waititi both offer vibrant and hilarious performances.
Waititi previously directed "Eagle vs. Shark," which starred his former comedy partner Jemaine Clement of Flight of the Conchords. "Boy" is based upon his Oscar-nominated short "Two Cars, One Night." Waititi famously feigned sleep when his nomination was read at the Academy Awards.
The Sound of Young America was in Park City, Utah for the Sundance Film Festival this year, and we took the opportunity to talk to the hottest film directors, actors, and creatives. Here’s our first part in that series, in which we talk to actor Kevin Kline.
Kevin Kline is one of America's greatest actors. He's one of the few to have won an Oscar for a comic role (his amazing turn in "A Fish Called Wanda"), and he's been acclaimed for his work in everything from contemporary drama to Shakespeare to light opera. We spoke with him at Sundance after the release of "The Extra Man”, a film adaptation of a Jonathan Ames novel. Kline stars as Henry, an eccentric older gentleman who makes his living as a social escort to New York’s high society widows.