US producers Jay Van Hoy and Lars Knudsen of Parts & Labor are lining up a busy slate of projects including Adam Rapp’s Red Light Winter, Gregg Araki’s The Womb, and new films from Robinson Devor and Ben Foster, the latter making his directorial debut.
Van Hoy and Knudson are working with Oren Moverman to produce work on Ben Foster’s directorial debut. Details aren’t announced yet, but the drama could be ready to shoot in the summer.
Robinson Devor (Police Beat, Zoo) will direct You Can’t Win, a late 1800s period piece about a petty criminal who mixes with the criminal underworld in the American West. The project is adapted from adventurer Jack Black’s memoir, which was a favourite of William S Burroughs. The film will likely shoot in Washington state.
Parts & Labor recently struck a new output deal with K5 Media Group. “For us as independent producers it’s a necessity to have direct ascces to a sales company,” says Knudsen.
Previously announced films on their slate include Adam Rapp’s theatre adaptation Red Light Winter, being being financed now for an autumn/winter shoot.
Mark Ruffalo will play an anxious emerging writer, Billy Crudup will play his friend, a cocky, newly successful book editor. It emerges that they have a shared past with the same woman. The story starts in Amsterdam, when Crudup’s character hires a prostitute, played by Kirsten Dunst, to cheer up his friend. The action picks up a year later when the friends are back in New York City.
“It’s about the troubled friendship between these guys…and it’s based on two love triangles in a way,” Van Hoy says.
Scott Rudin produced the play and will also be on board for the film.
Gregg Araki’s The Womb is out to cast now and could shoot as soon as this summer. The “twisted police thriller” is set in Los Angeles. Van Hoy said that it will see Araki “step into a bigger, broader scope.”
Most of Parts & Labor’s projects are in in the $3m-$5m range. “We understand how to maintain or creative production values at these low budgets,. That’s how we’re approaching the company,” says Knudsen, who noted that their Oscar-nominated Beginners was made for only $3.2m. “You need to find that price point where it’s attractive for everyone. That’s how we’ve been able to make so many films.” (Their credits include Treeless Mountain, Old Joy, Here and Berlin selections Keep The Lights On and The Loneliest Planet).
Another hot title in production now is Shaul Schwarz’s documentary Narco Cultura, about the drug cartel culture in the US and Mexico, including narcocorridas (cartel folk singers), filmmakers making B-movies about the cartels, and a Juarez-based crime scene investigator overwhelmed by the number of killings there.
Van Hoy adds: “It’s one of the films I’m most excited about. When you add together those storylines, you see the bigger picture that no one else has told.”
They are also set to produce Jens Assur’s feature debut Close Far Away, which recently won the 2012 Sundance/NHK International Filmmaker Award. The film is described as “a dramatic thriller about people’s behavior in vulnerable situations.”
Van Hoy and Knudsen are also part of a new independent producers alliance in the US, similar to European organisations such as EAVE, EPC or ACE.