My review and pictures of “American Milkshake” World Premiere Q&A at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival

On Sunday, January 20, 2013 I attended the World Premiere of American Milkshake (formerly Milkshake) at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The sold-out screening was held in the elegant 486-seat Library Center Theatre. The film was a selection in the NEXT <=> section.

As I make the festival rounds every year I search for that elusive "sweet little American indie." I don't come across them very often, certainly not often enough, but when that moment happens there's a little pitter-patter in my heart as I know I'm witnessing what could be the launching pad for hot new talent -- writers, directors, actors -- who will go on to produce exciting, creative work in the years to come. I found that here in American Milkshake. This exquisite coming-of-age film is an auspicious feature debut for co-writers/directors/editors David Andalman and Mariko Munro. Tyler Ross stars as Al Jolson's great-great-grandson Jolie Jolson, with Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Eshan Bay, Leo Fitzpatrick, Nuri Hazzard, and Danny Burstein in support.

These are real kids telling a real story, with high production values and a compelling narrative that defies genre. So much is unexpected here, from the clever cultural references rooting the story firmly in the '90s, without dependence on the traditional soundtrack of needle-drop hit singles, to the refreshing Gus Van Sant-influenced long takes that are rarely seen in the typical high school dramatic comedy. The laugh lines are contained within protagonist Jolie's voiceover, giving the visuals more authenticity as sight gags become unnecessary. What a brilliant device. Most of all, though, American Milkshake is a star vehicle for young Tyler Ross. He was selected as one of Indiewire's 10 Actors to Watch at Sundance, and it's easy to see why as he effortlessly carries American Milkshake from opening to closing credits.

Co-writers/directors David Andalman and Mariko Munro were joined onstage for an entertaining Q&A after the screening by stars Tyler Ross, Shareeka Epps, Georgia Ford, Nuri Hazzard, and Eshan Bay.

Here are some pictures I shot during the Q&A:

Q&A GALLERY (54 photos on 3 pages)


NOTE: I selected American Milkshake as one of my Top 8 Picks from the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It also made my list of Top 19 Narratives of the Year So Far.


Larry Richman

Larry Richman

For 20 years I was a professional in the entertainment industry, from commercial broadcast radio in America's fourth largest market to band management to record production. But my passion is independent film, and I spend much of the year traveling to film festivals to see indies and meet the actors, directors, and others responsible for creating them. I'm a writer, photographer, and videographer, currently serving as Senior Vice President for Media & Technology and Public Relations at PROnetworks as well as Editor at

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  • Author: Larry Richman
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