Viewing the short film Hot Winter from Jack Henry Robbins—son of actor Tim Robbins, who is also at the festival this year with Michael Almereyda’s Marjorie Prime—you’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled on something that was discovered, not created. With the official title Hot Winter: A Film By Dick Pierre, the short is a fictional, socially conscious pornographic film from bygone times, which Robbins created with now-obsolete VHS cameras and a taste for all things meta.
“We decided we wanted to make a VHS film, and when we said, OK, what are the things that are really VHS-ey—and then we were like, well, porn. We decided, how funny would it be if there was a porn that had a conscious message?” the director explained, sitting down at Deadline’s Sundance Studio with his father and the film’s star, Nunzio Randazzo, who co-wrote the film.
Looking at Robbins’ list of upcoming projects, it’s clear the filmmaker takes an interest in playing with artistic form. “What Jack’s doing is kind of giving himself limitations, and then working within those limitations. He finds really creative ways to work around stuff like, the zoom only goes at a certain pace—stuff like that,” Randazzo said.
Check out our conversation above.