Sundance 2019: Jessy Hodges, Anna Greenfield talk Sundowners

Jessy Hodges appears in Sundowners by Lisa Steen, an official selection of the Shorts Program at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. Photo by John DeMenil.

Jessy Hodges and Anna Greenfield spoke with Solzy at the Movies prior to the world premiere of Sundowners during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Jessy Hodges
Jessy Hodges

Congrats on Sundowners being selected for Sundance.  How thrilled are you for the opportunity?

Jessy Hodges:  Just like completely beyond.  We never even thought that there was a possibility to the extent that we were we were really hardly even paying attention to things beginning to be accepted. I think we submitted it and then forgot that that had ever happened.

How did you come up with the idea for the script?

Anna Greenfield:  It’s based on my family.  And we actually filmed at the house that I grew up, in Carmel.  Jessy and I have been best friends since college.  We’ve been making shorts for the past few years, amongst other things, with our director, Lisa Steen.  Jessy wanted to make something this summer and I’ve been trying to write something about my dad.  There was a lot of kismet that went into the making of this short.

What was your writing process like?

Jessy Hodges:  So we have in the past conceived ideas together and then Anna would go away and write them.  We went to NYU together with the experimental theatre wing and we would we would workshop performances essentially and it evolved from there.  This was actually the first time that we essentially conceived the idea and then didn’t go apart but stayed together and actually wrote it together. I have an acting background—I’m obviously still acting and Anna is primarily writing now but I would say that a lot of the process was actually us kind of acting through the dialogue together.

Anna Greenfield
Anna Greenfield

This one has quite a bit of political commentary.

Anna Greenfield:  It does. The point is with that is about a conversation that we all were having at a certain time or still having but you can replace the names or you could make it about a different subject.  We really wanted to be someone from a younger generation talking to her father, whose of an older generation and in the next room something very serious to both of them going on and you still have to talk about the politics or whatever happened that day in the news or like some stupid thing you saw on TV but the heat under their argument is fueled by the grief that they’re both sharing but not really talking about. So it’s not like a pro-Hillary Clinton ad and at the same time, it was important for us to have a subject that is difficult to put words to as a woman.  That is one of the subjects that Jessy and I have found it difficult to explain why we feel so passionately but when people do say certain things about her being a woman it triggers something within us that we don’t quite always have the right words for. And I find as a writer sometimes with speaking I have a hard time in arguments and giving my side of the argument eloquently and with the right words. And my dad—who in real life is a really verbal great talker—we’re just interested in like how these two kinds of people talk to each other.

Have you considered writing a feature film together?

Jessy Hodges:  We definitely would like to turn this idea into a feature and we’re working on that now.

Jessy, not only do you have Sundowners playing at Sundance but your husband, Beck, is co-starring in a midnight selection, Greener Grass.  How exciting is it for the both of you to have films screening on the mountain?

Jessy Hodges:  It’s so fun.  I will admit there was one time—I think at the end of the summer—when he had finished shooting that I had finished the shoot.  We were sitting up late on the couch and I was like it would be really cool if they both got in.  Oh, no, don’t say it out loud!  But never in a million years did I think that that would happen. It’s absolutely great.

Is this going to be your first Sundance?

Jessy Hodges:  I’ve been there before actually with another short film that I just acted in but as a filmmaker, yes

Anna Greenfield:  This is my first time and Lisa, our director’s first time.

Thanks again for your time and congrats on the film.

Jessy Hodges:  Thank you so much. Have a great time at Sundance.

Sundowners screens with Sister Aimee during the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.