Sundance Interview: ‘Fancy Dance’ Is Personal For Writer/Director Erica Tremblay

While riding the shuttle to a late-night Sundance premiere, I ran into a wonderfully chatty group of people. As we settled into our seats, we started talking about what we were doing at the festival. I mentioned I was a film critic and they revealed they were the crew of the film we were about to see, Fancy Dance. As we pulled into the parking lot of the Eccles Theater, they raved about how attentive and caring their director, Erica Tremblay, was.

That personal touch runs rampant through Fancy Dance. It follows Jax, a Native woman taking care of her niece when her sister disappears and loses custody to the child’s white grandparents. Soon she decided to take matters into her own hands and the two ride off to a powwow.

I sat down with Tremblay to talk about the film and learned that the film comes from her own life being raised by an Indigenous mother with the fear that her white father’s side would come for them. Proud of her matriarchal family tree, Tremblay clung to that side’s identity, immersing herself in the language and bringing her culture into her work with her short films and in her writing and director second season of Reservation Dogs. 

Check out my interview with Tremblay as we continue the discussion about the wonderful leads Isabel Deroy-Olson and Lily Gladstone.

Cortland Jacoby
A D.C area native, Cortland has been interested in media since birth. Taking film classes in high school and watching the classics with family instilled a love of film in Cortland’s formative years. Before graduating with a degree in English and minoring in Film Study from Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania, Cortland ran the college’s radio station, where she frequently reviewed films on air. She then wrote for another D.C area publication before landing at Punch Drunk Critics. Aside from writing and interviewing, she enjoys podcasts, knitting, and talking about representation in media.