The Unforeseen

Director: Laura Dunn

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival

Description

The American Dream of owning a house with a white picket fence goes head to head with environmental sustainability in Laura Dunn's lyrical and beautifully crafted documentary The Unforeseen.

Dunn tracks the career of Gary Bradley, a west Texan farm boy who went to Austin and became one of the largest real estate developers in the state. In the '80s, Bradley had plans to transform miles of pristine hill country into large-scale subdivisions. But the development jeopardized Barton Springs, a watering hole treasured by locals, and served as a lightning rod for mobilizing environmental activism that flourished under Governor Ann Richards. When George W. Bush took the state's executive reins, however, development patterns changed, and the water quality at Barton Springs, as well as the surrounding landscape of Austin, was irreversibly transformed.

The Unforeseen is a meditation on the destruction of the natural world and the American Dream as it falls victim to the cannibalizing forces of unchecked development. It is an intricate tale of personal hopes, victories, and failures, and debates over land, economics, property rights, and the public good. In a time when development and property values have skyrocketed in nearly every major city, Dunn makes a plea for our development-oriented society to consider restructuring the relationship between our values and the environment that sustains us.

— Shari Frilot

Screening Details

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]