The Corndog Man

Director: Andrew Shea
Screenwriters: Jim Holmes, Andrew Shea, David Steen

Institute History

  • 1999 Sundance Film Festival


It is a rare pleasure when a film takes a concept and explores all its dramatic potential. With all elements working perfectly in sync, The Corndog Man becomes a fascinating study of the effects of a lifetime of bigotry on one southern gentleman.
Ace Barker is the top boat salesman for Triple K Marine in Boughgerville, South Carolina. One day he receives a call from a person who claims he wants to buy a boat. Too greedy to pass up a future sale, he continues to accept calls from this mysterious stranger, but something doesn’t seem right. After he discloses that he is really Ace’s illegitimate son, it becomes evident this stranger definitely has an agenda, and he methodically sets in motion a campaign to drive Ace out of his mind.
Andrew Shea, who brought us Santa Fe in 1997, returns to Sundance with a totally different style of film. Moody and dark, The Corndog Man is beautifully shot, the low-budget constraints working phenomenally well to create a trapped, watched atmosphere. Shea and his production team make the thick southern air crackle with tension. Noble Willingham is amazing as Ace, alternately haunted and hunted by the caller, mining the character for every redneck nuance and spewing cuss words and racial slurs. Even the boil on his neck becomes a metaphor for his festering anger and denial. You hate the guy but can’t help but be mesmerized by a man whose checkered past rears its head and “bites him in the ass.”

Andrew Shea, Director
Andrew Shea’s first feature, Santa Fe, premiered at Sundance in 1997. His short film, Take My Breath Away, screened in the International Critics Week at Cannes. Shea founded the New Mexico Repertory Theatre, where he directed and produced more than forty plays. In Los Angeles, he directed the world premiere of Mark Medoff’s Gila. His next project is the ABC television movie, Beat of a Different Drum, which he is cowriting with Medoff and directing.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

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