EXCLUSIVE: The Slamdance festival is always a reliable place to find real gems that might otherwise get overlooked in the crush the coinciding Sundance festival, and if the teaser for Dave Made A Maze is any indication, 2017 will be no exception. The debut feature from director Bill Watterson, the pic follows Dave, an artist who has yet to complete anything significant in his career. When he builds a fort in his living room out of pure frustration,he ends up trapped by the fantastical pitfalls, booby traps, and critters of his own creation. Thus it falls to his girlfriend Annie to rescue him. Ignoring Dave’s warnings, she leads a band of oddball explorers on a rescue mission inside the maze, where they find themselves caught in an ever-changing supernatural world, threatened by booby traps and pursued by a bloodthirsty Minotaur.

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A comedic take on 80s-era fantasy adventure, the charming practical effects, amiable weirdness and quest structure call (at least to my) mind films like Evil Dead, John Dies At The End, and yes, actual Labyrinth. The film features more than 30,000 square feet of donated/scrap cardboard used to create more than 20 unique sets. The result is the handmade fantasy world of puppetry, stop-motion animation, and in-camera optical illusions you see in the exclusive teaser above. In other words, SOLD.

Co-written by Watterson with Steven Sears, Dave Made A Maze stars Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, James Urbaniak (Venture Bros), Adam Busch, Kirsten Vangsness, John Hennigan (aka WWE champion John Morrison), and Timothy Nordwind of music video pioneers OK Go. John Charles Meyer produced.

It has its World Premiere in the Narrative Features section at the 2017 Slamdance Film Festival Saturday, January 21 at 8:00PM in the Ballroom Screening Room, Treasure Mt. Inn. An encore screening at the same venue is scheduled for Monday, January 23 at 10:30AM – Ballroom Screening Room, Treasure Mt. Inn.