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SXSW Filmmaker Spotlight: Exploring Truths, Lies and Cults in 'Faults'

Writer/Director Riley Stearns grew up in Pflugerville – but has been making his living in L.A. He says bringing the movie to SXSW Film for its World Premiere is like a homecoming.

“Faults" follows a cult deprogrammer who is hired by some parents to kidnap and de-program their brainwashed daughter. But as the film progresses, the cult deprogrammer – and the audience – start to question who is really the most negative influence.

KUT talked with Stearns about his film:

On Why He's Telling This Story:

"I've always been fascinated by cults. It's kind of a weird thing to say but I think everyone has an innate fascination with mind control and groups that brainwash and control other people. And as much as I've been interested in cults, I've even more so been interested in the de-programmers who were there to help families and get family members back in the 70's and 80's and I thought that would make a really great story and there's only been a few films that have followed a de-programmer but there's not a lot of them and I thought that I could maybe have a different take and spin on it."

On the Multiple Truths Featured in the Film:

"There are many truths, as there are in life. We see things progress as it goes along. Maybe we're on his (the de-programmer's) side in some cases, and maybe we're on the parent's side in other cases and then the daughter's side. It really lets you go along with his perspective and it doesn't force any one idea or angle on you the entire time. It definitely has ebbs and flows."

On Premiering the Film at SXSW:

“Being an Austin native and not only premiering my first film but premiering my first feature is something I can't explain. It’s the best feeling possible and my parents and sister are coming. We’re just very, very excited... I've definitely been trying to play Austin for a while with my shorts and this definitely makes up for not getting in with all of my shorts. It's a cool thing to have the feature play here for sure."

Laura first joined the KUT team in April 2012. She now works for the statewide program Texas Standard as a reporter and producer. Laura came to KUT from the world of television news. She has worn many different hats as an anchor, reporter and producer at TV stations in Austin, Amarillo and Toledo, OH. Laura is a proud graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia, a triathlete and enjoys travel, film and a good beer. She enjoys spending time with her husband and pets.
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