Slouching Towards Kalamazoo

Institute History

  • 1991 June Screenwriters Lab


Based on a novel by Peter De Vries, SLOUCHING TOWARDS KALAMAZOO is a coming of age story set in a small North Dakota town in the 60's. It centers upon the relationship between Anthony Thrasher, a fifteen-year-old underachiever who cannot grasp the mundane realities of the 8th grade, and his free-spirited teacher, Miss Maggie Doubloon.

Enter Maggie, a bit of a rebel herself. To escape her father's pressure to go to an Ivy League college, she has opted to come to Ulalume, North Dakota and teach. When the story begins, Maggie finds herself pitted against an essentially restrictive small town mentality. Her problems stem from the fact that she assigned The Scarlet Letter to her class. Seeing in Anthony a similarly rebellious, yet intelligent soul in need of help, Miss Doubloon offers him her tutorial services. At first, Anthony is less than enthusiastic, but his parents insist, and what results is a rather unique relationship between teacher and student.

Anthony's parents (Matthew and Iris) are also an unusual pair. Matthew Thrasher is a minister who could easily be mistaken for a good looking actor. Indeed, Matthew's preferred pastime is to act out literary classics, (such as James Joyce's Ulysses), in front of his family every evening. A crisis develops when, after many years of watching and listening, his wife, Iris, informs Matthew that she's had enough; she can't listen to these readings any longer. The Thrasher household is thrown into further disarray, when Iris divulges her doubts of God's existence, and her dreams of owning a red convertible Corvette.

SLOUCHING TOWARDS KALAMAZOO is a comedy about love, religion, social mores, and growing up. Its oddball characters and left of center situations express Peter DeVries' unique beliefs about the absurd wonders of life, love, and the pursuit of happiness.


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]