Director Carey Williams Talks ‘Emergency’ at Sundance Film Festival 2022
Reporter: LaKisa Renee
Kunle (Donald Elise Watkins) and his best friend, Sean (RJ Cyler), are both seniors in
college about to embark on an epic night of Spring Break parties. Sean has the whole
night planned out, including every party they will hit on their “legendary tour”. Kunle is
down but mostly concerned with finishing up his mold experiment in his lab, as his
acceptance to Princeton is hinging on the results. They return to their apartment to pre-
game, but find that their roommate, Carlos (Sebastian Chacon), left the door open. As
they enter with trepidation, Sean and Kunle discover a drunk, semi-conscious white girl
they don’t know on the floor and an oblivious Carlos, who didn’t hear her come in over
the videogame blaring in his ears. Kunle wants to call the cops but Sean vehemently
opposes the idea concerned how it will look when the cops show up (two black men, one
Latinx man, and a passed out white woman). Together, Carlos, Sean and Kunle load the
girl (who they nickname Goldilocks, but whose real name is Emma (Maddie Nichols) into Sean’s van, with the intention of taking her somewhere safe rather than calling the police. Meanwhile, Emma’s sister, Maddy (Sabrina Carpenter), has realized that Emma left the
party they were at, and begins to search for her in a drunk panic using Emma’s phone’s
location. What ensues is a chaotic, hilarious, and tension-filled chase all over town as our
trio grapples with their differences while attempting to bring Emma to safety.
Cultured Focus met with Director Carey Williams on his film that is getting great buzz at the Sundance Film Festival 2022. See the full video below.
The Filmmakers| Emergency| Sundance 2022
CAREY WILLIAMS (Director) Carey Williams is hailed by Filmmaker Magazine as one of 2018's New Faces of
Independent Film, Carey Williams is a director bringing a unique and visually striking
cinematic eye to the exploration of the human condition. Williams' short film Cherry
Waves, won Best Short awards from HBO, NBC Shortcuts, San Diego Film Festival, as
well as Best Narrative from Hollyshorts Film Festival. He recently premiered his feature
R#J, a modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet, at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and is in post-production on the feature version of his 2018 Sundance and SXSW Award-winning short film EMERGENCY.
K.D. DA’VILA (Screenwriter) K.D. Da’Vila is a Mexican-American television writer and filmmaker based in Los Angeles.
K.D., studied Arabic and creative writing at Princeton University before earning her
Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Writing for Screen and Television from USC's School of
Cinematic Arts. She has been a fellow of the Film Independent Episodic Lab, Film
Independent Project Involve, the Almanack Screenwriter's Colony, and the Universal
Pictures Emerging Writers Fellowship. She is the writer of EMERGENCY, a feature-length film based on the short of the same name, which won Best Narrative Short at SXSW 2018 and the Special Jury Award at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Her directorial debut PLEASE HOLD made the 2022 Academy Award Shortlist for Live Action Short Film.
CAST| Emergency| Sundance 2022
RJ CYLER (Sean)
RJ Cyler recently began production on the HBO/MAX series, Rap Sh#t from Issa Rae.
Cyler can currently be seen in a strong supporting role in Netflix's, The Harder They Fall opposite Johnathan Majors, Idris Elba, and Regina King. This year he wrapped a starring
turn in the Amazon Prime feature EMERGENCY opposite Sabrina Carpenter. Last year he starred in two projects: R#J for Timur Bekmambetov, which premiered at this year's
SUNDANCE – and the civil war epic Freedom's Path. He starred on Showtime's, I'm Dying Up Here; White Boy Rick with Matthew McConaughey and he has recurred on Black Lightning.
DONALD ELISE WATKINS (Kunle)
Donald Elise Watkins recently wrapped shooting the Studio Canal feature film, Cat
Person opposite Nicholas Braun, Isabella Rossellini & Hope Davis, directed by Susanna
Fogel. He can be seen as a recurring character in the Amazon series, The Underground
Railroad, created by Barry Jenkins and based on the bestselling book of the same name.
Prior credits include the Amazon feature, Black Box, opposite Mamoudou Athie and
Phylicia Rashad, the STX feature, Free State of Jones opposite Matthew McConaughey & Mahershala Ali, and the History Channel miniseries, Roots.
SEBASTIAN CHACON (Carlos)
Sebastian Chacon was born and raised in New York City. After graduating from NYU
with a BFA in Drama, he started acting in the theatre, performing in venues such as The Duke on 42nd, Cherry Lane, and The Public Theater. He got his first TV role in the series, The Get Down and then continued to guest star in shows in shows, Mr. Robot, Gotham, and Narcos. Chacon played "Pito" in the FX television series, Pose, as well as appearing on the Netflix series: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Tales of the City. He portrayed 'Fly Rico' in the Showtime television drama, Penny Dreadful: City of Angels. Chacon is also part of the cast of the upcoming Amazon original series, Daisy Jones & The Six, about a fictional band and based on the bestselling novel. Chacon will take on the role of the band's drummer, 'Warren Rhodes.'
SABRINA CARPENTER (Maddy)
Sabrina Carpenter has enchanted an audience of millions as a singer, songwriter, actress,
designer, producer, and style icon. On-screen, she has generated mega-fandom throughout television and film, ranging from her central role on the smash Girl Meets World, to critically acclaimed independent fare such as The Hate U Give. In her music, she has delivered one anthem after another on stage and in the studio, earning multiple gold certifications, performing to sold-out crowds far and wide.Carpenter had her first leading role in the 2019 movie The Short History of the Long Road, which premiered at The Tribeca Film Festival with rave reviews and earned her the Jury Award for "Best Performance" at the 2019 SCAD Savannah Film Festival. Sabrina also led the cast and executive produced Netflix's, Work It which debuted at #1 on the platform upon its release in 2020. In the same year, Sabrina made her Broadway debut starring in Mean Girls. She then starred in Justin Baldoni's Warner Bros feature Clouds Disney+). Carpenter's growing musical catalog encompasses gold singles— "Thumbs", "Sue Me" and “Why"—and the albums "Singular: Act I & Singular: Act II." Of her music, Time Magazine wrote "She's one to watch" and V Magazine added, "With two successful pop albums and a hard-hitting social commentary under her belt, Carpenter's career has matured faster than many of her Disney-bred predecessors." In addition to her growing list of acting and music credits, in 2020 she was selected for Forbes' prestigious "30 Under 30" list. Carpenter is set to produce and star in Alice, a musical reimagining of Alice in Wonderland (Netflix). Alice will be the first project under Sabrina's newly minted banner “At Last Productions." She is also set to co-star in the upcoming comedy thriller film
EMERGENCY (Amazon Prime). She recently signed to Island Records, where she released her newest smash hit singles "Skin" and "Skinny Dipping". She will release a new studio album in 2022.
MADDIE NICHOLS (Emma)
Maddie Nichols can next be seen in the Netflix miniseries, ECHOES. Most recently she
was seen in the Lifetime feature, The Stockholm Syndrome. Other feature projects
include Ann Rule's, A Murder to Remember, Darlin', which premiered at SXSW, Little
Darlings, and Daisy and the Smiling Jack.
Nichols’ television credits include roles on the CBS drama, Hawaii Five-0; NBC's, Council of Dad's; HBO's, The Outsider; and Shudders, Creepshow. Most recently, she can be seen in the Blumhouse TV series, The Purge; Dwayne Johnson's movie, JUMANJI; Amazon's horror anthology LORE, and as a guest star in Ryan Murphy's 9-1-1. Nichols brought a sincere, anchoring performance in Tamzin Merchant's award-winning short, American Virgin, and has since had starring roles in Madeleine's Oil, Grave Shivers, and God's Not Dead. She is represented by Alexander White Agency and Authentic Talent & Literary Management.
MADISON THOMPSON (Alice)
Madison Thompson’s talent for storytelling has established her as a force to be reckoned
with in the competitive entertainment industry. She can be seen in Season 3 of Netflix's
hit series Ozark and the upcoming Season 4, as she plays "Erin Pierce," the teenage daughter of cartel attorney "Helen Pierce" (played by Janet McTeer). As "Erin," Thompson brings commitment and depth to the screen, bringing the character to life as she navigates her teenage years while living in the Ozarks. Thompson’s performance has received much praise, including being named one of the breakout stars of Season 3 by the LA Film Institute. Thompson's previous credits include a recurring role as 'Jordan' on CBS' The Young and the Restless and numerous guest appearance roles on hit shows including ABC's, American Housewife; CBS', NCIS: New Orleans; and FOX's, Shots Fired, to name a few. Madison currently attends the University of Southern California and is awaiting the SUNDANCE premiere of EMERGENCY, a comedy thriller that hails from Amazon Studios and Temple Hill Entertainment, that she stars in as "Alice," alongside Sabrina Carpenter and RJ Cyler. Since she was young, Thompson has also been a huge supporter of the Foundation for Hospital Art, an organization that aims to bring murals to hospitals around the world to inspire and brighten the lives of people in the hospital. She is so passionate about this organization that she brought it to her high school, where a club participating in the organization remains.
DIEGO ABRAHAM (Rafael)
Diego Abraham is a native of North Carolina, Diego Abraham got his start in acting when
a friend's mother generously offered to add him to the roster at STW Talent. From there,
he set the TV world alight with his singular line in an episode of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and soon after began taking acting classes while pursuing a film degree at Northwestern University. If there was ever a time when acting began to make sense for the confused young man, it was under the instruction of indie filmmaker and professor, Stephen Cone. Employing a style equivalent to a film set, wherein his students are thrown before a camera and directed by his masterful touch, Stephen created an environment that would leave Abraham buzzing from both his gas station Dunkin' and a certain exciting feeling. Fast forward to March 2020, and EMERGENCY’S search for Rafael, a white-looking, Hispanic, early 20s man, came full circle for Diego who had been training for this his entire life, staying out of the sun, eating his mother's Puerto Rican dinners to play this part; and play the part he did.
Film Screens with Shorts Program 2
Fri. 1/19, noon, Temple, PC
Sat. 1/20, noon, Redstone 7, PC
Sat. 1/20, 9:45 p.m., Broadway 3, SLC Thu. 1/25, 6:00 p.m., Park Ave., PC
For more visit: https://www.sundance.org/projects/emergency