Two Sundance favorites are heading back to the winter festival. Zach Braff and Kevin Smith will be in Park City this January, the former to premiere his Kickstarted-funded movie, Wish I Was Here, and the latter to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Clerks.
Braff made a big splash at Sundance 10 years ago, when he premiered Garden State at the festival. Last April, he announced a Kickstarter campaign to raise $2 million for his directorial follow-up. Fans responded and Braff reached the goal in just three days. Braff wrote the screenplay with his brother, Adam, and he also stars as a struggling actor and stay-at-home dad who decides to home-school his 5- and 12-year-old kids. “It’s about a family struggling to get by and barely surviving financially and the dad’s a bit of a f— up,” Braff told EW in April. “Basically it’s a story about a man learning to become a great husband and father and person.”
Wish I Were Here won’t play in competition but instead will debut as part of Sundance’s Premieres category.
Smith is a Sundance regular, though his last major appearance in 2011 was the awkward screening of Red State, in which he basically turned his back on the Hollywood establishment and went his own way. Back in 1994, however, Clerks became one of the festival’s great discovery stories, with Smith’s credit-card funded, black-and-white movie getting picked up by Harvey Weinstein’s Miramax and launching the director’s career. Smith is expected in Utah for a special “From the Collection” screening of Clerks on Jan. 24, in which he’ll introduce the film and participate in a Q&A session.
Wish I Was Here / U.S.A. (Director: Zach Braff, Screenwriters: Zach Braff, Adam Braff) — Aidan Bloom, a 35-year-old struggling actor, father, and husband, is still trying to find purpose in his life. In coming to terms with the death of his father, Aidan and his family unite to discover how to turn the page onto the next chapter. Cast: Zach Braff, Kate Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, Josh Gad, Ashley Greene, Joey King. World Premiere