A Minute With: director Miguel Arteta at Sundance

Thu Jan 27, 2011 12:42pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

PARK CITY, Utah (Reuters) - Like other directors, Miguel Arteta borrowed money to make his first movie, 1997's "Star Maps, which shown at the Sundance Film Festival and launched a career that included independent hits, "The Good Girl" and "Chuck and Buck."

After the success of 2002's "Good Girl," which starred Jennifer Aniston, Arteta moved on to directing television for several years and worked on shows such as "Six Feet Under," "The Office" and "Ugly Betty." He returned to indie movies in 2009 with "Youth in Revolt," starring Michael Cera.

Arteta's new comedy "Cedar Rapids" tells of a naive insurance salesman's wild weekend at a convention in the big city. It premiered this week at the Sundance Film Festival to strong reviews and will open in theaters on February 11.

He spoke to Reuters about the festival and his new movie.

Q: At the premiere of "Cedar Rapids" you likened Sundance to a big creative pond for moviemakers. What did you mean?

A: "I'm one of many incredible stories that happened here. You come here from nowhere and get a shot of validation overnight. Nowhere else can you get that sense of discovery. I made a movie on credit cards. It took me four years. We were living in my garage and completely in debt when we got here."

Q: But Sundance is not just the festival, there's the institute and it offered you support and training.

A: "This is like an artist colony for filmmakers. What Sundance understands is that when you are making a movie, you have to put your absolute best foot forward because you most likely will never get a second chance. They find filmmakers who are getting ready to do their first movies and really help them with their scripts and directing skills, so they have the very best chance at success their first time out."   Continued...

<p>Cast member Ed Helms and director Miguel Arteta (L) pose with a cardboard cutout of Helms' character from the film "Cedar Rapids" at the movie's premiere during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 23, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>