Director: Deborah Kampmeier
Screenwriters: Deborah Kampmeier

Institute History

  • 2007 Sundance Film Festival


Like a lily growing in the swamp, Lewellen, a precocious southern girl, radiates splendor amidst the murk that surrounds her. She is being raised by her abusive father and disciplinarian grandmother, and finds comfort, joy, and strength in music—she is obsessed with Elvis Presley and breaks into his songs whenever the mood strikes. In addition to music, playing in the woods with her friend, Buddy, brings a few other moments of childhood happiness. Their playing drifts toward innocent sexual games, however, and it becomes evident that Lewellen has a painful history that she keeps buried inside. When another tragedy strikes, will her spirit finally break, or will her inspiring resiliency carry her on?

A southern Gothic tale about a girl finding strength to overcome debilitating obstacles, Hounddog is endowed with a phenomenal performance by Dakota Fanning. She tackles an immensely challenging role—a role that would have scared off even the most seasoned of actors—with an awareness and ferocity that will leave audiences shaken to their core. Writer/director Deborah Kampmeier displays a delicate touch in handling the horrific events, which makes their impact even greater. Lacing the film with compelling imagery, she crafts a powerful story about an indomitable spirit and the power of the blues.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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