Sundance (and Slamdance) 2013: 'Dirties' talk

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Wunderkind: 'The Dirties'

Festival veteran Jesse Hawthorne Ficks files his second report from the 2013 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals. Check out his first report here.

The most controversial and inspired film amid this year's Utah fests actually screened at the Slamdance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Sparky Award for a Narrative Feature. The Dirties, by 28-year-old Canadian writer-director-star Matthew Johnson, is an utterly brilliant, unstoppably hilarious found footage entry that follows two high school cinephiles as they try and make a documentary about "bullying," while they themselves continue to get uncomfortably bullied at their own school.

Both characters use their real names in the film and have bedrooms filled to the brim with movie posters, comic books, and Magic: The Gathering cards. Johnson and co-star Owen Williams are such self-aware and self-referential movie geeks that you might feel as if you are watching a documentary about your own high-school experiences.

While I could tag the film nicely as Dawson's Creek meets Man Bites Dog (1992), I'm betting Johnson's already thought of that one. So what I want to stress is the level of honesty, originality, and terrifyingly timely subject matter this filmmaker brings to this incredibly contemporary story. His 10-episode Canadian web series, Nirvana: The Band The Show (2008), showed his knack for frenetically exposing a teenage boy's passion. The Dirties digs a whole lot darker and deeper. Could he be the male counterpart to Lena Dunham? Make sure to watch the Red Band teaser trailer (above); it's as chilling and funny as the film itself.

Comments

When is this going to be shown in Toronto?

Posted by Guest on Feb. 19, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

Matt is Curt Cobain and Dave Grohl

Posted by Guest on Feb. 09, 2013 @ 9:19 am

i totally thought matt was 31.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 9:07 pm

bruce springsteen!

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 7:08 pm

Can confirm that Ava Ziemsen did NOT write that comment.

Posted by Milliskoop on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

ah ha! reall funny guys party's over, im shutting this thing down. he looks to be about 22

Posted by Juwanna_Mann_fan_32 on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 4:54 pm

Matt is the age of Aquarius

Posted by Ben_gggg on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 4:49 pm

Matt is the age of innocence.

Posted by Ben_gggg on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 4:47 pm

This article is full of beans

Posted by Ava Ziemsen on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 4:46 pm

Matt is 9 1/2 weeks, this a fact.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 08, 2013 @ 10:57 am

Imdb said 24 and a half but now its blank.

Posted by Dirtiesfan9 on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 9:29 pm
23

I go to school in Toronto with him. He's 23. 100% for sure.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:52 am

Wait Im confused, how old is he?

Posted by Dirtiesfan9 on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:25 am

Wait I'm confused, how old is he?

Posted by A Dirties fan on Feb. 07, 2013 @ 11:20 am

flipped my noodle when I read this.

Posted by Hot Krissy on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 3:49 pm
ok

I noticed the age in the article changed to 28 to reflect the comments of "Guest". This is ridiculous. I AM 16!!

Posted by The real Matt J on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 3:00 pm

Sweatpants are out

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:59 pm

I am 16, born in 1996.

Posted by The real Matt J on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:57 pm

Matt is 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:46 pm

I can confirm that Matt is 28.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:43 pm

Matt is 28

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:26 pm

Matt is 26.

Posted by Guest on Feb. 06, 2013 @ 2:14 pm