PARK CITY, Utah -- How far will a musician go to become a virtuoso?
Can a despotic jazz band conductor actually bring out the best in his students through fear and intimidation?
And why was "Whiplash" the hardest movie Miles Teller ever made?
Damien Chazelle, the writer-director of the Sundance Film Festival drama, dropped by the Los Angeles Times Studio in Park City, Utah, to discuss how these issues touch on his film, which opened the festival Thursday night.
Chazelle, who was a drummer in a high school band run by a heartless teacher, first came to the festival last year with an 17-minute version of "Whiplash," which focused on the relationship between an ambitious drummer named Andrew Neiman and his cruel conservatory instructor, Terence Fletcher.
The short won a top award in 2013, and Chazelle is back this year with the feature version of the story, which stars Teller as Neiman, J.K. Simmons as Fletcher, Melissa Benoist as Neiman's love interest, Nicole, and Austin Stowell as a rival drummer named Ryan.
After its first screening, the film attracted significant buyer attention, including interest from Summit Entertainment and Roadside Attractions. Early reviews have been glowing.
Watch the video of our conversation with Chazelle, Teller, Benoist and Stowell above.