‘I Saw the TV Glow’ Director Explains How ‘Buffy’ Fandom Inspired Personal Tale of Queer Experience | Video

Sundance 2024: “It’s much more about feeling so in love with a television show because you’re not able to be present and be yourself in the real world,” Jane Schoenbrun tells TheWrap

“I Saw the TV Glow” writer and director Jane Schoenbrun pulled from their own obsession with the TV series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” for their second feature, but the “We’re All Going to the World’s Fair” filmmaker told TheWrap at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival that this new film is about much more than being an obsessive fan. It’s a personal tale of their own queer experience.

The trippy original feature stars Justice Smith and Bridgette Lundy-Paine as two kids who become obsessed with a very “Buffy”-esque show, but their fandom is driven as much by their love of the show as it is their desire to escape their personal lives.

Schoenbrun, who uses they/them pronouns, said the film was born out of their own deep love for “Buffy.”

“I was recently proving my muster to my partner by telling her how for years when I had insomnia and couldn’t sleep, I would just say the names of each ‘Buffy’ episode in order in my head to fall asleep, and then I did this for her and she was like, ‘Alright, what the film is about is real.’ Yeah I was obsessed with ‘Buffy’,” Schoenbrun told TheWrap’s Drew Taylor at TheWrap’s Sundance Interview and Portrait Studio, presented by NFP.

But Schoenbrun, who is a trans and non-binary filmmaker, cautioned that fandom is only one aspect of the movie.

“I mean the movie is about something other than ‘Buffy’,” they continued. “It’s much more about feeling so in love with television and a television show because you’re not able to be present and be yourself in the real world. So it’s about fandom in a way, but I think it’s about much more about – at least for me – a queer experience of kind of looking for glimmers of a magic that I thought couldn’t exist in real life in art and in entertainment. And it’s about how that can be a really loving exchange, but also how that can trap you in the ways that we all, I think, culturally dissociate.”

A24 will distribute “I Saw the TV Glow” this year.

For all of TheWrap’s Sundance 2024 coverage, click here.

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