Film Festival

Seattle Film Safety Not Guaranteed Is a Hit at Sundance

And it all started with an Internet meme.

By Laura Dannen January 27, 2012

(L-r) Aubrey Plaza, Karan Soni, and Jake Johnson hunt down a lead in Safety Not Guaranteed.

Ever since its January 22 premiere at Sundance (hell, even before that) Seattle-based comedy Safety Not Guaranteed has been one of the most talked about films of the festival. For good reason: It’s based on the too-bizarre-not-to-be-true story of Seattle magazine writers (no, that other magazine) on the hunt for the guy who placed this ad in Backwoods Home magazine in 1997:

The ad became an Internet sensation, but it was up to screenwriter Derek Connolly to create the saga around that mullet. He scripted a back story about magazine writer Jeff (played by Jake Johnson of New Girl) who gets intern Darius (Aubrey Plaza, Parks and Recreation) to feminine wile her way into the life of time-traveler Kenneth (Mark Duplass, The League). As the film stops by familiar Seattle spots—the Shipwreck Tavern in West Seattle and the Marco Polo Lounge on Aurora—an unlikely love match between Kenneth and Darius starts to form. "Even crazy people deserve to be loved," director Colin Trevorrow said at the Park City premiere. After a rousing ovation, out came the reviews:

"A small movie with a big heart…endearingly scrappy and romantic romp." (Variety)

"Four stars… Director Colin Trevorrow and writer Derek Connolly create a touching and funny comedy that veers from absurdity to tenderness with ease." (Salt Lake Tribune)

"It took long enough, but the 2012 Sundance Film Festival finally produced a big winner." (Hitflix)

"Expect a lucrative sale for this one, which has tons of mainstream breakout potential." (New York magazine)

This is great news for local producer Lacey Leavitt (featured in a recent Seattle Times article) and the Seattle-based supporting cast and crew who made up the movie’s ranks. Bring on the bidding war for Safety Not Guaranteed. UPDATED 1/30/12. FilmDistrict (the company behind Drive ) secured the rights to Safety Not Guaranteed for a little over $1 million, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Sundance Film Festival
Thru Jan 29, Park City, Utah

Bonus: Hear what Mark Duplass has to say about this "sensitive, relationship-oriented time-travel movie" in his interview with Vanity Fair.

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