Andy Samberg helps brings ‘Palm Springs’ to the mountains with Sundance debut of his newest movie |

Andy Samberg helps brings ‘Palm Springs’ to the mountains with Sundance debut of his newest movie

Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti appear in "Palm Springs," directed by Max Barbakow and written by Andy Siara. Siara used the experience of his wedding as inspiration for the story.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute | Photo by Chris Willard

“Palm Springs,” an entry in the Sundance Film Festival’s U.S. Dramatic Competition, is set to screen at the following times and locations:

Sunday, Jan. 26, 3 p.m., Library Center Theatre

Monday, Jan. 27, 11:30 p.m., Prospector Square Theatre

Wednesday, Jan. 29, 6:30 p.m., Rose Wagner Center, Salt Lake City

Thursday, Jan. 30, 6:30 p.m., Eccles Theatre

Saturday, Feb. 1, 8:30 a.m., Redstone Cinema 7

When Andy Siara got married in 2015, he couldn’t have known that the series of events that ensued would lead to a bid into the Sundance Film Festival.

But here he is, attending the festival for the fist time with “wide eyes,” as he puts it.

“The closest thing I can compare this to is when my band played at the ‘South by Southwest’ festival a million times,” Siara said. “A festival taking over the entire city, where every bar and restaurant is all about serving the festival. I am excited to do that with the film side of it all, meet all these people and go see a movie at 9 a.m. … That’s the dream.”

Siara will be in attendance for the annual film festival as the movie he wrote, “Palm Springs,” premieres. He began writing the movie a month or two following his wedding, using his own special day of nuptials as inspiration. The film is directed by Max Barbakow and stars Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti.

“Max and I chatted about what we want to talk about, and with my wedding being so fresh in our minds, we decided to develop the movie around that,” Siara said. “There are a lot of emotions that go into a wedding day. The idea of committing life to another person, the fear of never being able to give yourself to another person and admitting to share your life with another person, it’s emotional and we wanted to capture that.”

“Palm Springs” is based on the connection between Sarah (Milioti), the reluctant maid of honor and black sheep of her family, and Nyles (Samberg), the date of a boring bridesmaid. Nyles’ carefree way of life is eventually embraced by Sarah following an unexpected interruption, leading to chaos and havoc during the day of celebration.

To Siara, the interaction between the two main characters, as well as the multiple plot lines, are directly reflective of his own experiences.

Siara said his parents have been happily married since their early 20s, so he never really questioned if that’s how life was supposed to be. But a breakup with his high school girlfriend, who he says he would’ve married, after seven years of dating changed everything.

“I know that if I would’ve gotten married to her, at that young age like my parents, it would’ve been one of the biggest mistakes I’ve ever made,” Siara said. “After those seven years of devoting my adolescence to a relationship, I know that shaped me in a good way. I met my wife at 27 and this was a totally different type of love.”

Around the time that Siara was getting married, he and his wife were attending many weddings in the desert. These experiences combined with what he felt on his own day is what helped shape the main characters of his movie.

“When you go to a wedding, you either feel that this is special and real, or is it artificial and are they just going through the pageantry of what we are supposed to be doing on a day like this,” Siara said. “Nyles and Sarah are on both sides of that coin, kind of reflecting my own struggles with what I see at weddings. They both see the world different and it’s sort of this push-and-pull battle that we all feel within ourselves.”

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