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“DARE” director, Adam Salky

[PREMIERE SCREENING: Monday, Jan. 19, 5:15 pm — Racquet Club, Park City]

It’s very hard to begin creating a story with a defined set of rules. It has to come from the gut and has to be truthful. David Brind, the writer of Dare, and I set out to tell a story within the format of a full-length film. It started out as a 15-minute, first-year film-school project that left us with a distinct “What happens next?” feeling. We’ve spent the last four years turning it into a feature.

Dare is a story about the need to take chances when you’re young in order to find out who you are or who you’re not. It follows three high school seniors in their last semester: Alexa, the overachieving good girl played by Emmy Rossum; Ben, her lonely, outsider best friend played by Ashley Springer; and Johnny, the rich, seemingly perfect bad boy played by Zach Gilford.

This idea of taking chances, especially when you’re an adolescent, strikes a very personal note within me. I wanted to tell a story where an audience could feel the intensity of adolescent desire. For me, those emotions were so pure, focused and raw, especially when I was terrified to take a chance to reach out and go for something or someone I wanted. I’ve always loved how cinema can transport an audience and provide unique emotional experiences. Whether that is achieved in 2 minutes on YouTube or 90 minutes in a theater, as a filmmaker, it’s still an accomplishment. If an audience can relive the thrill and awkwardness of some of these adolescent moments through Dare, I’ll be ecstatic.

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