The rising stars of Sundance
Screen profiles five hot new film-makers heading to Sundance 2013: Alexandre Moors, Stacie Passon, Jeremy Lovering, Fredrik Bond and Shaka King.
Alexandre Moors, Blue Caprice (NEXT)
French music-video director Moors’ sub-$5m Blue Caprice stars Isaiah Washington and was inspired by the 2002 Beltway Sniper attacks in the Washington DC area that claimed 10 lives. “It is about a Jamaican boy who is lured into America by this dark father figure who over the course of a year turns him into a weapon,” says the 40-year-old Brooklyn resident. Moors persuaded friends to stump up funds before producer Stephen Tedeschi, SimonSays Entertainment and select private investors weighed in. “It’s not a biopic,” says Moors. “From the get-go I saw this story as a metaphor for the use of violence in America.” Cinetic represents US rights. At time of writing international rights were available.
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Stacie Passon, Concussion (US Dramatic Competition)
In the privately funded Concussion, a woman changes her life after a blow to the head. “It is about a 40-something lesbian housewife who becomes a prostitute for women. She’s suburban, worldly and is in a marriage that’s decaying sexually and tries to recover herself,” says Passon, a commercials director from New Jersey who became obsessed with the character after she herself suffered a blow to the head courtesy of her child’s baseball. “I remember waking up and feeling very different and I started writing this script.” Paradigm represents North American rights. At time of writing international rights were available.
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Jeremy Lovering, In Fear (Park City At Midnight)
For his feature debut In Fear, UK director Lovering wanted not only to scare the audience, but also to scare his cast: he did not let his actors (Iain De Caestecker and Alice Englert) know how the story ended, so their surprised and fearful responses were more authentic. “The cast had to be in a position where things were unknown,” says the writer-director, who talked through guidelines for every scene and then allowed for improvisation. The story follows a young couple lost driving in a maze of country roads one night, and the four-week shoot took place mostly at night around the UK’s Bodmin Moor. Lovering says the film turned out to be more frightening than he anticipated. “It targets primal fears in a very ambiguous way. You’re not sure where you are and what’s going on. It’s fear of the unknown, that’s why it’s scary.”
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Fredrik Bond, The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman (Premieres)
“It took me a while to get here,” says Swedish commercials director Bond. “I’ve been looking for the perfect script.” Four years ago Bond read the script for The Necessary Death Of Charlie Countryman and dropped everything to make it happen. He convinced financiers Voltage Pictures as well as Little Miss Sunshine producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger that he was the man for the job. Bond found an ally in Shia LaBeouf, who stars opposite Evan Rachel Wood as a young man who falls for a gangster’s girl. “We shot in the summer in Bucharest over 34 days,” says Bond. “It was the best experience ever.” CAA represents US rights and Voltage handles international sales.
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Shaka King, Newlyweeds (NEXT)
A disgruntled New York repo man loses himself in a haze of marijuana while his girlfriend tries to coax him into a better life. “It is personal in that the scenes are very much things I have dealt with in my own life,” says 32-year-old Shaka King of his NYU thesis film. “This movie is very much the last decade of my life.” While King stresses he was never a repo man, the privately funded sub-$500,000 project comes from the heart and the home. “My whole building in Brooklyn worked on this. My room-mate did the costume design, my best friend edited it, we shot in the building and also in my parents’ house.” Amari Cheatom, newcomer Trae Harris and Isiah Whitlock Jr from The Wire star.
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