“Third time’s the charm,” said Michigan Theater director Drew Waller about hosting Sundance USA for the third year in a row, echoing the excitement and anticipation within one of Ann Arbor’s characteristic establishments.

The Michigan Theater stands amidst central Ann Arbor as a remnant of the glorious “good old days” of American cinema, acknowledging and featuring of smaller-budget independent productions that often tend to be far more competent and masterful than their blockbuster counterparts. It seems a natural fit for Sundance, which shares the mutual goal of promoting independent talent.

Sundance’s Senior Programmer David Courier discussed the strong relationship that the festival and Ann Arbor have built over the past three years.

“(Michigan Theater CEO and Executive Director) Russ Collins is the greatest, and Michigan Theater has been remarkable. This has been a very, very happy partnership. Ann Arbor was a no-brainer for us,” Courier said.

For the Michigan Theater, the collaboration is the perfect opportunity to attract new theatergoers.

“We’re hoping people understand that they’re not only going to get the quality experience of being at the Michigan Theater, but also have that great, added bonus of watching a Sundance movie,” Waller said. “For those who are new to being a part of the Michigan Theater, it’ll be a great introduction. Everybody’s going to be laughing, and why not be in a shared experience like that?”

Ann Arborites aren’t the only ones who have something to gain from this event.

“For filmmakers, it’s an opportunity to connect with growing audiences in local communities,” Courier explained.

Sundance will be premiering “For a Good Time, Call…” in Ann Arbor tomorrow night. In attendance will be first-time director Jamie Travis, screenwriter and co-star Lauren Miller (“50/50”) and supporting actor and ‘U’ alum James Wolk (“You Again”).

The theater had no idea what they would be showing when they were re-selected this year for participation in Sundance.

“This is a year for female comedies. (“For a Good Time, Call…”) is about two friends who are enemies in college and end up becoming friends after. It’s definitely going to relate to a college town. It’s a sexy, raunchy, female-driven comedy,” Courier said.

“This film was selected because it will be a crowd-pleaser,” Waller added. “Sundance knows that even though we’re one of the smallest cities selected, we’re the largest venue. They want to make sure the film they give us is going to have everybody walking out saying ‘That was fantastic!’ ”

As one of the larger Sundance venues, the Michigan Theater is trying to fill 1,700 seats for an independent movie in Ann Arbor, a relatively small city. Some of the other cities selected include Los Angeles and New York — veteran cities for organizing film festivals and should have no problem finding an audience for whatever movie set to premiere. But Waller is confident the theater will rise to the challenge.

“Ann Arbor, though it is a smaller community, has a very smart collective of people,” Waller said. “They get it, they understand art, and they come to us. We’re able to present this as the thing you need to go to, so that’s really worked in our favor. The obstacle, if you’d call it one, is getting people of all ages to know that they need to come to this.”

Waller also said that this year’s premiere appeals to one large part of Ann Arbor’s population: its students, members of a generation that he believes will most appreciate everything “For a Good Time, Call…” has to offer.

“The people behind this film are them,” he explained. “If they came and watched this film, the students would recognize that the actors are their age, the screenwriters are their age and the directors are their age. They’re going to perceive this in a completely different way than some of our older members. They’re going to respect it because it was done on a shoestring budget and, you know, anybody can do this.”

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