Oklahoma native premieres first film at Sundance

For Oklahoma filmmaker Sterlin Harjo, the 2007 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, was work. His feature-film debut, “Four Sheets to the Wind,” was one of 16 in dramatic competition.

“I’m doing photo shoots and interviews. That’s all I do all day,” said the 27-year-old Holdenville native. “I screen the movie and go to bed.”

Harjo, a Seminole/Creek man, shot “Four Sheets” over an 18-day period in Oklahoma last summer. Not surprisingly, its Sundance premiere proved a nerve-racking experience for Harjo.

“I was pacing and pacing,” he said. “I bit my nails the whole time and my legs shook. I was really nervous. I thought I was going to be sick.”

Although the movie did not win a major award at the festival, it continues to reap critical accolades and positive buzz. The Hollywood Reporter hailed it as “a captivating crowd-pleaser,” while Tamara Podemski took home a special acting prize for what a Sundance jury called “a fully realized physical and emotional turn.”

Harjo already is looking ahead to his next film. He plans for his next project, “Before the Beast Returns,” to aim for laughs.

“It is set in a small town in Oklahoma,” he explained. “It’s about a medical examiner who is shunned by the people in his hometown because he went public with a Bigfoot sighting.” “Phil Bacharach

Phil Bacharach

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