March 11, 2019
Sundance 2019

'Don't be Afraid if You Didn't Go To Film School': The Method to Success Behind 'Greener Grass'

Directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe on how collaboration across the board is the most crucial part of filmmaking.

Greener Grass is a project that has been on a whirlwind path to success since the very beginning. 

Directors Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe's first iteration of the surreal comedy turned heads as a short film back in 2016, when it won awards at major festivals like SXSW and the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in France. 

Upon its release online, it also achieved viral status and earned distinctions from Short of the Week and Vimeo. It's rare that a short finds success like that both on the festival circuit and online, but hey, when you watch Greener Grass, it's easy to see why.

Though they claim to have had no intention of doing so initially, the duo expanded the short into a feature film which hit Sundance in a big way back in January. 

The film's meticulously crafted aesthetic places it on a level somewhere between Adult Swim and David Lynch. With the aid of talented production designers, costume designers, and a brilliantly specific script, DeBoer and Luebbe's film brings us into a candy-coated utopia that we've never seen the likes of in film before. 

Of course, things descend into dystopia by the time the film's through. Suburban tensions reach their boiling point after one mom willingly gives up her daughter to a friend, who I might add later goes on to give birth to a bouncing baby soccer ball. 

Things get weird. But not odd enough to sway IFC Midnight from purchasing the film earlier this week, or SXSW programming it into their festival to be seen in Austin later this week. 

I sat down with the directors and producer Natalie Metzger at Sundance this year to talk about using characters to build a world, hiring geniuses as collaborators and more.


For more, see our ongoing list of coverage of the coverage of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

No Film School's podcast and editorial coverage of the 2019 Sundance Film Festival is sponsored by RODE Microphones and Blackmagic Design.     

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