Next Stop, Wonderland

Director: Brad Anderson
Screenwriters: Brad Anderson, Lyn Vaus

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Brad Anderson follows up his first feature, The Darien Gap (which played in the 1996 Dramatic Competition), with an accomplished new work. An unconventional romantic comedy, Next Stop, Wonderland delicately threads a tapestry of friends and strangers and skillfully plays with the possibilities of destiny.

Set in Boston, the film centers around Erin, a young night-shift nurse who’s just been dumped by her boyfriend. Her overbearing mother, eager for her daughter to begin dating again, plays matchmaker by taking out a personal ad. Appalled by this ploy, Erin claims she is more interested in knowing who she is than searching for love or companionship. Alas, as the voice mails pile higher, her curiosity is piqued. What’s the harm in seeing what’s out there? Across town, there’s Alan, an ex-plumber who’s working his way through school and volunteering at the Aquarium. He, too, is trying to alter his destiny while struggling to get out of debt and avoid winding up like his gambling father. Despite their parallel lives, fate keeps pushing them farther and farther apart.

Anderson’s strength lies in his truthful storytelling. He seamlessly weaves together a myriad of characters and story lines, each delicately nurtured and full of wit and humor. He deftly depicts a female protagonist with rare sensitivity and insight. Using a mixture of scripted and improvised footage featuring the brilliant ensemble cast, led by a radiant Hope Davis, Anderson reveals himself as one of today’s brightest young filmmakers.

Brad Anderson, Director
Brad Anderson grew up in Connecticut and studied ethnographic film at Bowdoin College in Maine and film productin at the London Internatinal Film School. He recently moved to New York City form Boston, where he spent eight years directing and editing documentaries and shorts and teaching a class called Guerrilla Filmmaking. His first feature, The Darien Gap, screened in competition at the 1996 Sundance Film Festival. Last year he was honored as one of Variety’s “Ten Leading New Independent Directors to Watch.”

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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