Film Produced by Matt Thurm ’10 to Premiere at Sundance

Matt Thurm '10

Thurm was an Honors comparative literature major at Swarthmore with minors in film studies and interpretation theory.

The second feature film produced by Matt Thurm ’10 will make its world premiere later this month at the Sundance Film Festival, the latest in a string of successes for the Bronxville, N.Y. native.

“I was thrilled to learn that "H." got into Sundance,” says Thurm. “It's the Holy Grail for an American independent film and a great place to launch a movie.”

Also nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award, H. is a “mysterious, modern interpretation of a classic tragedy in which two women, each named Helen, live mirrored lives in the town of Troy, N.Y.,” reads the synopsis. “One night, something unexplainable falls out of the sky and explodes over the town … and bizarre things begin to happen. As people in the town go missing en masse and unnatural cloud formations begin appearing in the sky, the two women find themselves and their lives spinning out of control.”

Thurm previously produced Rover (Or Beyond Human: The Venusian Future and the Return of the Next Level), which began its festival run at The Slamdance Film Festival last year. Lessons gleaned from that first feature carried over to his experience with H., Thurm says. “Film production at any level is an exercise in frugality and pushing limits.”

Acclaim from the Biennale College Cinema for H. gave its creators funds to produce the film as well as three showcase screenings at the Venice Film Festival in August to build buzz.

“Writing and directing partners Rania Attieh and Daniel Garcia show remarkable ingenuity in crafting a disturbingly phenomenal world grounded in the fears of reality, where subconscious tensions collide with the tempestuous forces of nature,” says one reviewer. “Insanely creative, ambitious, and enigmatic, this spellbinding odyssey makes an astoundingly perceptive and soulful observation about humans’ irresistible fixation on doom and beauty.”

Thurm was an Honors comparative literature major with minors in film studies and interpretation theory at Swarthmore. A black-and-white short, Going Halfsies (or Un Homme Galant), which he shot on 16mm film was screened in his senior year at the Cannes Film Festival — which he attended in between his oral and written exams.

Recalling his time at the College, Thurm cites his first impression: “how passionate everyone was about what they were doing.”

“Swarthmore gave me the support and flexibility to treat film as my third language when I was working towards a degree in comparative literature,” he adds, “which allowed me to discover what I was into — and chalk up movie marathons and TV binges to ‘work.’”