Institute History

  • 2012 Sundance Film Festival


Piano prodigy Eli Smith has talent to burn, but he is constantly derailed by his troubled mother, whose vices keep getting in his way. On the day of his big audition for a prestigious music program, Eli attempts to get his life on track by taking her to rehab. Enlisting help from two hapless drug dealers, mother and son embark on a riotous journey where events spiral comically out of control. Along the way, this gang of misfits faces the mistakes of the past, the challenges of the future, and the possibilities of love.

Phil Dorling and Ron Nyswaner return to the Sundance Film Festival with an extended version of their short that played in the 2009 Festival. Making the most of the full-length format, they humorously and poignantly flesh out the complicated nature of addiction and how it affects those around us . . . especially family. The all-star cast, including Jesse Eisenberg and Melissa Leo, wonderfully bring to life the shrewdly conceived script by the two writers/directors, who reveal a deft ability to balance the disparate notes in a film that will make you laugh out loud one moment and swell with emotion the next.

Archives note: See also the 2009 short film Predisposed.

— Trevor Groth

Screening Details

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]