HELLO I MUST BE GOING to Sundance '12's U.S. Dramatic Competition

HELLO I MUST BE GOING is a true Sundance film, and not just because it’s premiering later this week at Sundance ’12′s U.S. Dramatic Competition. Screenwriter Sarah Koskoff and director Todd Louiso — himself a Sundance alum from his 2002 feature directorial debut, LOVE LIZA — first developed the project at the Sundance Institute’s 2009 Screenwriters Lab and the 2010 Screenplay Reading Series. Then, as Louiso explains in his Meet the Artists interview below, Louiso went to the 2011 Sundance Film Festival looking to find a producer. On January 19th he gave the screenplay to Mary Jane Skalski. One year later, on January 19th, 2012, the film — produced by Skalski — makes its world premiere at the Eccles Theatre at Sundance. And that, is the stuff an indie filmmaker’s dreams are made of.

The film, whose title comes from either the classic Groucho Marx song or the even-more-classic Phil Collins album, stars Melanie Lynskey as Amy Minksy, 35 and recently divorced by her husband. Looking for some kind of connection, she finds one in the form of an unlikely romance with a teenager, played by Christopher Abbott (MARTHA MARCY MAY MARLENE). Louiso describes the film as an exploration of a theme that’s really popular in modern comedy — growing older without getting more mature — from a more dramatic perspective. “While the film has a very strong and traditional narrative thrust,” Louiso told Indiewire, “it’s also (I hope) working on a spiritual and visceral level… the film is very much about encountering the void — the experience of complete loss of self, of identity, of everything we think we are.”

Ironically, as skilled character actors both Louiso and Lynskey are know for their ability to lose themselves and their identities in their roles. You might recognize him as one of John Cusack’s fellow record store clerks from HIGH FIDELITY and her from a variety of projects including HEAVENLY CREATURES, AWAY WE GO, and UP IN THE AIR. Around the time Louiso was scouring Park City for a producer last year, Lynskey was delivering a wonderful supporting performance in the Sundance 11′ selection WIN WIN, where she played a single mother and addict fighting for custody of her son and control of her father’s estate.

So we have a character actor director and a character actor star. Would it be cheesy to say I expect a film with a lot of character? It would, right? That’s why I won’t say it. Regardless, it would seem to be appropriate, given the film’s title, to end this preview with a either a Groucho Marx quote or a Phil Collins lyric. A child of five would understand this. Send someone to fetch a child of five. And if her name is Sussudio, all the better.

HELLO I MUST BE GOING premieres Thursday, January 19th at 9:30pm at the Eccles Theatre. For a full list of festival playdates, go to Sundance.org.