Beaver Trilogy

Director: Trent Harris
Screenwriters: Trent Harris

Institute History

  • 2001 Sundance Film Festival


Of all the films that have ever been or will be, nothing compares to Beaver Trilogy. It's an organic cinematic experience which evolved over 18 years from a chance encounter in a parking lot into a haunting and hilarious film that resonates with pure emotion rooted in reality but transformed into fiction. Trent Harris, whose Plan 10 from Outer Space played at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, is more than the director of this phenomenon. His role as both observer and artist was a key component in the intricate development of the film.

It all began with his videotaping an earnest, small-town dreamer from Beaver, Utah, giving a breathtaking monologue. Motivated by his newfound "friend," the man staged a talent show and performed in drag as Olivia Newton-John, which Harris had the genius to tape.

This episode inspired the next segment, which has a young Sean Penn reenacting the same scenario. Utilizing Penn's astonishing ability, Harris adds to the story, commenting on the motivations and fate of the sweet outsider as well his own function as objective documentarian. In the final piece, Crispin Glover portrays the same character. The names and places have changed, but the evocative undertones remain.

Each segment adds a layer to viewers' interpretations of not only the film but also their reactions to it, offering a unique opportunity to witness the transformation of inspiration into creation. Don't miss being part of this unique odyssey as Beaver Trilogy returns to the state where it all began.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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