In 1991, 21-year-old Ethan Hawke
was shivering in the woods of Park City, Utah, playing a sergeant in the small World War II drama “A Midnight Clear
,” when thousands of people suddenly invaded town.
“That was the first time I’d ever heard of the Sundance Film Festival,” says Hawke today. “I thought, ‘Aw, this will never work.’”
The indie film revolution hadn’t happened, but it was about to. That week, while Hawke strapped on a helmet and tromped through the slush, Richard Linklater
premiered an experiment called “Slacker
.” “Some wacky kid made a punk rock movie that beat the system,” says Hawke. “It was an event. You had to see it.”
Hawke was inspired to direct. “I was suspicious of my ability to sustain an acting career,” he admits. So he spent his “Dead Poets Society” salary shooting his first short, a 21-minute romance named “Straight to One,” and submitted it to the 1994 Sundance, now that he