《银幕》选出50位备受瞩目青年制片人,中国三人入选

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原文链接:http://www.sohu.com/a/232462979_758090

2018-05-22 11:54 深焦DeepFocus

《银幕》是国际上最具权威的电影杂志之一,该刊“未来领导者”栏目对电影行业关键领域人才的关注已经持续了七年。今年,他们将目光投向了制片领域,选出了在全球范围内正在对整个电影产业生态正在产生重要影响的50位青年电影制片人。

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与往年一样,《银幕》杂志也坚持了“国际化”的评选标准。入选者普遍具有开放的国际视野,他们的影响力已经超出了他们所在国家的影视行业。《银幕》选择了那些被电影行业的同行们形容为“初露锋芒”的制片人才,大多数入选者虽然都只有一到三部电影作品,但足以璀璨夺目,引起了业内的广泛关注。中国地区本次有三位青年电影制片人入选,分别是杨城、王子剑、宋晓文。

入选名单

50位入选者中,有曾为柏林银熊奖影片《悲伤秘密的摇篮曲》担任制片的新加坡制片人Jeremy Chua,早年间他移居巴黎,做艺术电影发行相关的工作。回到新加坡后,他参与制片了新加坡电影《一只黄鸟》,影片在2016年的戛纳电影节影评人周首映。

Jeremy Chua

以及《布鲁克林》的联合制片人Bennett McGhee。他曾经独立制片过由皮尔斯·布鲁斯南主演的喜剧电影《自杀四人组》,以及获得第57届意大利大卫奖最佳欧洲电影的《四重唱》。

Bennett McGhee

英国制片人Andy Brunskill也是入选者之一,他在许泰丰的《轻轻摇晃》中担任制片。Andy对于非传统的发行方渠道非常感兴趣,曾通过一个互动APP发行过一部短片。现在还在继续“通过做针对数码平台的故事片去挑战常规”。

Andy Brunskill

Stephanie Wilcox

名单中还有参与过制作《爆裂鼓手》和《夜行者》的美国制片人Stephanie Wilcox,以及西班牙青年电影制片人Valerie Delpierr, 她制片的电影《九三年之夏》获得了第67届柏林电影节最佳处女作奖。

Valerie Delpierr

作为三位中国地区入选者之一的杨城,去年制片的黑色幽默动画电影《大世界》于2017年成功入围第67届柏林国际电影节的主竞赛单元,是中国电影史上第一部入围三大国际电影节主竞赛单元的动画长片。在这届柏林国际电影节上,他监制的真人电影《空山异客》也同时入围了“全景”单元。《大世界》也获得第54届金马奖最佳动画长片奖,并由法国知名发行商Memento(代表作:《一次别离》《请以你的名字呼唤我》等)发行到30多个国家。《大世界》完整体现了杨城的制片观念:以创新思维和国际视野做言之有物、兼具艺术个性和市场竞争力的中低成本电影。

杨城

杨城在北京电影学院文学系获得了硕士学位,早在《大世界》之前,杨城就已经在艺术电影领域取得了令人瞩目的成绩,由他担任制片人或联合制片人的《家在水草丰茂的地方》《有人赞美聪慧、有人则不》《我的青春期》等片皆入围了威尼斯、柏林、东京等A类国际电影节。2016年,他创办了自己的制片公司哪吒兄弟影业。

哪吒兄弟影业

除了制片工作之外,杨城也将自己融入到行业的各个领域中,他长期进行电影文化报道和影评的写作,曾为专业电影杂志任柏林电影节、威尼斯电影节的特派记者、撰稿人。他也是一些影展和创投会的策划人及评审。他和中国新导演群体有着广泛和深入的联系,2017年,他联合“画外”“凡影”两家机构,历时一年推出了“2017中国青年导演生存状态调查”,引发了广泛讨论。来自电影行业多个领域的浸润使他对电影生态的变化格外敏锐,也形成了自己独特的职业理念。

对杨城来说,正在快速发展的中国电影市场充满了机遇,但陷阱也无处不在。“做好的电影是一件太难的事”,他对《银幕》表示,“制片人不仅要应对持续在发生着变化的市场环境、电影管理部门的要求,最重要的还有人才的贫瘠和行业浮躁的气氛。”目前,他正在为一部前所未有的家庭电影《难念的经》而工作,他坦言这是一个令人兴奋的巨大挑战。

《难念的经》海报

另一位入选者,制片人王子剑,曾参与了一系列高质量艺术电影的制片工作,例如《路边野餐》,《轻松+愉快》等,这些影片不仅在各大国际电影节上斩获奖项,在国内也有着不俗的口碑。2013年,王子剑创立制片公司黑鳍Blackfin, 他认为“一个制片公司所带有的品牌价值,有能力给整个行业带来改变,这是仅靠个人的力量做不到的”。

王子剑

面对如今的市场语境,坚持做艺术电影的他对自己的制片工作有很多思考,他认为:“作者电影目前仍缺乏最本质的盈利渠道及稳定的观众群体,并且政府审查也带来了一定程度的干扰。制片人必须学会在投资和回报之间找到平衡,才能给做电影这件事本身更稳定的发挥空间。“

宋晓文

与前两位不同,中国另一位入选者宋晓文则将美国作为自己制片工作的主场,最近一部她参与制片的电影《孩童杰克》在圣丹斯首次亮相即收获许多赞誉声。

谈到自己的制片工作时,宋晓文表示:“美国的电影市场相对而言更加规范,因而单就制片工作而言,美国更容易,但不可否认的是中国市场的资金更好找。”因此,她希望以后能够继续做中美电影之间的桥梁,和更多的中国本土的电影人合作,“把高质量的、带有创新性的内容,推广给全世界的观众看。”

《银幕》指出,随着行业的不断发展,这些来自世界各地才华横溢的制片人,都意识到了建立和维持国际合作的重要性。他们的共同点显而易见——渴望与世界接触,并与独特的创作人才合作去讲述别具一格的故事。在专题报道的最后,《银幕》表示为入选者至今取得的所有成就而感到喜悦,也期待看到他们更加璀璨的未来。

华裔女制片人好莱坞做新片 盼中美电影健康发展

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原文链接:http://ent.sina.com.cn/m/f/2017-08-17/doc-ifykcppx8730022.shtml

2017年08月17日 17:39 新浪娱乐

新浪娱乐讯 继今年春天再度以合作制片的Halfway(《半路》)拿下美国和国际八个国际电影节提名并斩获Julien Dubuque国际电影节和Woodstock电影节两项最佳长篇电影大奖之后,来自北京的好莱坞华裔制片人宋晓文与知名电影人合作的A Kid Like Jake (《杰克》)、Nancy (《南希》)、Billionaire Boys Club (《亿万少年俱乐部》),目标紧盯明年1月的圣丹斯电影节,未演先热。

《杰克》由好莱坞一线演员演员“谢耳朵”吉姆·帕森斯和克莱尔·丹尼斯主演,并请到了大热美剧《透明家庭》的导演塞拉斯·霍华德执导,讲述的是一对对四岁儿子期望极高的夫妇,在儿子被幼稚园老师建议利用其性别双向性申请昂贵的私立学校时所必需面对来自社会、学校和家庭及教育等令人哭笑不得的多重压力。

《南希》的制片人除了宋晓文之外, 还有从1979年起就参与007系列的制片人芭芭拉·布洛克利。本片讲述单身女性南希和患有帕金森症的母亲在穷困潦倒的生活中沉迷于社交媒体而最终卷入另一家庭的欺骗与救赎。

两部影片分别投资350万元和40万元,与好莱坞动辄千万上亿的大手笔相比,沧海一粟,但它们的故事深深吸引了宋晓文。“我希望用电影的方式讲出我们生活和这个世界的好故事”,她说,“但作为中国人,还是非常希望讲中国故事。”

宋晓文表示,当年帮助李安的首部长篇并最终获得奥斯卡最佳外语片的制作人Ted Hope和James Schemus,一直是自己崇拜的制片人。她希望帮助真正有才华和年轻的导演和编剧,可以远离资本市场和炒作喧嚣,潜心开发自己想讲的故事。

“让全世界观众听到中国电影人的声音,被中国的故事所感动,这是我的梦想。” 她相信无论是中国和美国,这些故事存在民间,需要制片人敏锐地挖掘出来,帮助他们开花结果。

说到走上影视这条道路,宋晓文说,其实家里没有人是干这一行的,但是电影、戏剧和音乐是她从念小学以来最大的兴趣,上了中学之后开始热爱写作和戏剧,人生中看的第一部外国电影《天堂电影院》成为了她对影视行业的启蒙,“第一次觉得原来电影是如此美好的东西,看电影的人也许会因为一部好电影而改变一生。”宋晓文回忆说。

自那时起,宋晓文开始看大量的美国和欧洲电影,高中毕业考入了北京大学的影视编导专业,大学期间的兴趣逐渐转向了话剧和音乐剧,当时宋晓文自己担任制作人和女主演的话剧‘琥珀’就获了奖,她也开始制作演出一些英文独立音乐剧,后来作为中国著名导演田沁鑫的制作助理,参与了《夜店》、《大家都有病》等大型话剧的制作和巡演。

大学毕业之后,宋晓文最初选择了纽约Pratt Institute的艺术管理专业,在纽约的两年尝试了不同艺术领域的机会,更重要的是接触了很多优秀的独立电影人,接触了很多当下的美国独立电影,她发现自己内心对于电影的热情一直都在,于是决定前往Carnegie Mellon University的娱乐产业管理硕士专业继续深造,学习如何做一名专业合格的制片人。

硕士第二年搬到洛杉矶之后,宋晓文开始和各国朋友一起制作小成本短片和电影,也在好莱坞娱乐经纪公司和国际销售公司实习,增加经验,后来加入了中国麒麟影业的海外子公司,主要负责海外影视项目和合拍片的制片工作。

2015年底,宋晓文和同事一起创业,建立了Vantage Entertainment娱乐公司,之后自己创立了XS Media,从事国际独立电影的制片。

“小投资拍电影,关键是要故事讲的精彩。” 她认为,虽然美国人的电影娱乐市场很大,但讲好故事的电影,并不见得与商业相克,即便是中国和华人的故事,讲得好,同样会在美国和世界拥有观众。

宋晓文坦言,作为年轻的亚裔女性制片人,在好莱坞打拼并不容易,虽然前几年中国资本纷至沓来,中国的影视圈看起来很有钱的样子,但是真正做成事的人少,言过其实赚快钱的多。

宋晓文说,在努力学习和沟通的同时,还要在多重诱惑下保持初心,做一个诚实、善良有担当的电影人,在这个鱼龙混在的圈子和年代并非易事。但只有踏实做事真诚做人,始终不忘初心自己为什么爱电影、想做电影、想讲故事给观众感动观众、想让世界多一些美好少一些纷争,才不会迷失,别人才会愿意跟你合作,这个行业是人的行业,大家互相帮助才会一起做出成绩。

作为国际项目的制片人,和中方资本沟通幷非易事,很多资本没有电影背景,也不了解美国的电影行业规则和娱乐法,沟通起来有一定难度。所以遇到一拍即合的合作方不容易,但宋晓文有幸接触过为数不多的一些,也很珍惜和他们的合作机会。她表示,中国目前的影视圈,各行各业的人都有,也有人喜欢炒作,但想踏踏实实真诚做电影,讲好故事的人幷不太多,希望自己能为中国电影多出一份力。

(tg/文)

(责编:加缪)

‘A Kid Like Jake’s Claire Danes On Silas Howard’s “Intensely Relatable” Family Drama | Deadline

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Adapted by Daniel Pearle from his own play, Silas Howard’s A Kid Like Jake was “intensely relatable” from the get-go for star Claire Danes.

Starring Danes, Jim ParsonsThe Shape of Water‘s Octavia Spencer and Priyanka Chopra—not to mention Ann Dowd, who has five films at Sundance—A Kid Like Jakefollows Alex (Danes) and Greg (Parsons), a married New York couple who struggle to navigate their role as parents of a young son who prefers Cinderella to G.I. Joe. For Howard, how Alex and Greg navigate this unforeseeable scenario defines the kind of characters and material he likes to explore.

“I’m very fond of characters saying the wrong thing and then ultimately doing the right thing, being able to look at human issues instead of messaging or explaining, and it did that,” Howard said of A Kid Like Jake, appearing at Deadline’a Sundance Studio with Parsons, Danes, Spencer, and Chopra. “It just sort of went to the core of things that come up in a relationship, out of care and concern, especially when someone that you care about is maybe at risk of being hurt or made fun of.”

“In spite of a lot of movement towards understanding differences, it’s still very difficult to have inclusiveness,” the director continued, “and this really does it in a human way.”

For Danes—herself a New York mom of a four-year-old son, “in the depths of marriage, in the best possible way,” the material in hand was “very accessible,” although it wasn’t exactly “self-referential.”

“Daniel does such a deft job of talking about these political concepts, but doing it through the voices of really layered, complex, grounded people who are in actual relationship with each other,” the actress said.

In conversation with Deadline, Chopra touched on her drives as an artist, which involved fighting for onscreen representation and playing characters that defy societal expectations. “To fight that fight for the next generation that comes in and break that concrete, I think for me that’s a huge, huge drive,” Chopra explained—”to just normalize being who I am, and what I look like.”

To hear more from Deadline’s conversation with the A Kid Like Jake cast and director Silas Howard, click above.

‘A Kid Like Jake’: Film Review | Hollywood Reporter

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Sugar and spice and all things nice, but with a big dash of vinegar, too. Claire Danes and Jim Parsons star as a Brooklyn couple facing the possibility that their four-year-old might be trans in Silas Howard’s comedy drama.

Claire Danes and Jim Parsons star as one-time lawyer Alex and therapist Greg, New York City parents struggling in different ways to process what their four-year-old son’s preference for dressing up in skirts and playing with so-called girls’ toys might signify about his gender identity in the simply lovely comedy-drama A Kid Like Jake. Adapted for the screen by Daniel Pearle from his own play, the film strives to present an even-handed account of the couple’s increasingly divergent views, with Alex resistant to “putting a label” on their child, and Greg more open to embracing Jake’s transgender nature.

Director Silas Howard, trans himself, elicits superb performances not just from the leads but from the crack cast of supports, which includes Octavia Spencer, Priyanka Chopra, Ann Dowd and, in an especially vivid turn as a neurotic patient, Amy Landecker from Transparent, a show for which Howard has directed several episodes. In fact, the deployment of that Transparent house style — with its overlapping dialogue, dodging and weaving camerawork and a milieu that centers around an assortment of lovable-vile boho-bougie characters — makes this feel almost like an East Coast spinoff of Jill Soloway’s award-winning series.

Although they live comfortably in a spacious Brooklyn duplex, like so many young New Yorkers Alex and Greg still don’t have enough to afford the astronomical costs of sending gifted Jake to a private school next year when he starts kindergarten. Luckily, they’re good friends with Judy (Spencer), the director of the local preschool where Jake is now, who gives them sound advice on the complex game theory they need to play to get a scholarship for Jake.

Alex throws herself into the time-consuming project, drawing on the skills and naturally ambitious drive that must have made her a good lawyer before she gave up practicing to be a full-time mother. Greg, absorbed with his patients and role as breadwinner for the moment, lets Alex take the lead on the private-school project. When Alex discovers she’s pregnant, a source of joy but also anxiety given she had a miscarriage not long ago, the stakes feel even higher.

Like so many progressive, liberal-minded parents today, Alex and Greg have always tried to be supportive of their child’s desires and interests. They’ve been mindful not to impose gender norms on him with toy trucks and train-themed Thomas & Friends when he clearly expresses a preference for dolls, pretending to be a princess, and watching Cinderella or The Little Mermaid. But when Judy suggests they emphasize Jake’s “gender nonconforming play” in their applications as a positive, hinting that they could work the diversity angle to their advantage, Alex at first balks, hesitant to embrace what the title phrase, “a kid like Jake,” might really mean.

Greg isn’t an expert in child psychology, but he’s more open to the idea that Jake’s femininity might be a sign of a more deep-seated, possibly immutable trans identity, which, according to a growing body of opinion, needs to be accepted and dealt with sensitively to help Jake be the happiest child he can be. Although Jake’s best friend, Sanjay (Rhys Bhatia), the son of Alex’s good friend Amal (Priyanka Chopra), accepts Jake as he is unquestioningly, already other kids have started to call Jake names (such as “flag,” a childish mispronunciation of the word “fag”) and he’s reacted angrily, getting into fights that may negatively affect his chances of getting into a private school.

Howard and Pearle take scrupulous pains to be fair to Alex, who becomes, as the story goes on, the only one arguing that Jake is just going through a phase. Clearly, the film is on the side of trans identity being a born-with-you thing, visible in childhood (a position some viewers may disagree with). But Alex isn’t evil or anything, just a mother struggling to understand a child she didn’t expect she would have. It helps that Danes is such an inherently sympathetic performer, able to project a signature mix of fierce intelligence and high-maintenance fragility, not entirely unlike the character she plays on Homeland. On the other hand, Parsons gets an opportunity here to assay a character very different from the nerdy, autistic Sheldon on The Big Bang Theory, a heterosexual man so very in touch with his own feelings and nurturing capacities that Alex, in a doozy of a marital shouting match at the film’s climax, practically accuses him of turning Jake trans by being so effeminate himself.

Again like Transparent, the hyper-articulate, sometimes selfishly honest people depicted here (shout-out is also due to Ann Dowd as Alex’s monstrously competitive mother) aren’t afraid to express their darkest, cruelest thoughts or, fully conversant in the contemporary psychoanalytic idiom even if they’re not shrinks themselves, to perceive negative feelings that may or may not be there in other people around them. It’s all about infinitely fine shades of nuance, a sophistication that sometimes gets in the way of simply loving in an open-hearted way, childlike in the best sense of the word — like little Jake.

Claire Danes and Jim Parsons Are Stunningly Good in the Smart, Graceful A Kid Like Jake | Vulture.com

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By Emily Yoshida

The Sundance Film Festival is an eavesdropper’s dream for two main subjects: industry gossip and the private-school admissions scene in New York and Los Angeles. Pretty much everything I know about the difficulties of getting a privileged child into the kindergarten that will ensure a successful future and, eventually, great test scores, I learn in line for movies in Park City. It’s about the least moving plight to overhear, especially as the lights lower for the latest documentary about disappearing coral reefs or the Syrian refugee crisis. So when I say A Kid Like Jake made the experience of two Williamsburg parents trying to place their 5-year-old into kindergarten not only deeply sympathetic, but also expansively humane and funny, you must appreciate what a miracle this is.

Of course, as the title suggests, the kid in question is not exactly your average 5-year-old — Jake loves dresses and Disney princesses and his favorite game is Cinderella, all of which he’s been able to enjoy judgement-free at home with mom Alex (Claire Danes) and dad Greg (Jim Parsons). And yet, he also so emphatically is average, a little person just discovering his likes and dislikes, still mostly unaware how they will affect how he fits into society as he grows older. The drama of A Kid Like Jake, which is small and contained and also somehow about everything, is the question of how to protect someone you’re responsible for, or even if there’s anything to protect them from; what to cultivate and what to let run wild, and all the life-altering choices that happen around a child when they’re barely even old enough to remember them.

If this sounds like drab issues-movie territory, director Silas Howard, a trans filmmaker who’s spent the last few years cutting his teeth on TV family fare like This Is Us and The Fosters, disarms you right away with how breezy and chatty and not at all self-serious this corner of Brooklyn is. The film is based on a play by Daniel Pearle, and most of the film is built out of leisurely conversations that often start off as one thing and become something else. Alex talks about and around Jake’s gender identity with her school-counselor friend Judy (Octavia Spencer); their conversations vacillate between candid and intimate and professional from one minute to the next. Alex, a retired lawyer, is a walking ball of neuroses whose anxieties rattle out of her mouth a mile a minute, and Greg, a therapist, is watchful and diplomatic as the couple run around from interview to interview. The couple crack jokes in the margins of their stress like anyone else would — rarely does a scene focus on how their relationship or Jake’s future is in existential crisis. This is not a film about falling apart, but all the conversations and compromises that hold things together.

Danes we’ve seen in a similar mode before, though Alex is a richer character than some of her more crisis-oriented roles, and she’s likably filter-free here. Parsons, however — I’ll admit I didn’t know he had it in him. Greg is certainly the less demonstrative of the two, but in a devastating fight near the end of the film, Parsons reveals his unspoken insecurities with an honesty and fortitude that frankly stunned me. The two have been walking on eggshells so much throughout the film, never wanting to declare one thing or another about their son, while realizing that the world won’t let him stay in a liminal space for long. When they finally start addressing the issue to its face, so much is dredged up — some of it ugly, some of it two progressive Williamsburg parents would like to think that they were above. Howard doesn’t condemn them for that, but rather gives them space to talk it out and try to do their best.

It’s remarkable how engaging and light on its feet the director and cast are able to keep this subject matter, how much permission he gives them to fuck up and try again. Despite all Alex and Greg’s hand-wringing, Howard never feels stressed about Jake’s future — he’s obviously got a couple thoughtful parents looking after him; he’ll be better off than most kids who refuse to fit the mold. But Howard also understands that worrying is Alex and Greg’s job, and this smart and graceful film makes us feel just how important that work is.

‘A Kid Like Jake’ Review: Silas Howard Directs a Simple but Effective Drama About Raising a Non-Binary Child — Sundance 2018 | Indiewire

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Claire Danes and Jim Parsons star in a sensitive and nuanced portrait of raising a non-binary kid in a black-and-white world.

David Ehrlich

Jan 24, 2018 8:11 pm

Four-year-old Jake Wheeler (Leo James Davis) isn’t like the other kids who are applying for a spot at one of New York City’s ultra-competitive private pre-schools. For one thing, he’s a lot more developmentally advanced than most of them, his cognitive and fine-motor skills putting him in the 96th percentile for his age group. For another, he loves to wear frilly princess dresses and pretend that he’s Rapunzel when he plays with his friends. He owns not one, but two separate copies of “Enchanted” on DVD, and his favorite movie of all-time is “The Little Mermaid” (not that there’s all that much hyper-masculine cinema out there for toddlers).

Jake’s Park Slope parents, Alex and Greg (Claire Danes and Jim Parsons), are happy to indulge their son’s “gender-expansive play” in the privacy of their own home, but how should they handle this in public? At his birthday party? During those weird pre-school interviews?

Suddenly, one aspect of their son’s identity starts to define him, leading to more difficult questions with much greater consequences. Is this just a phase, or is Jake trying to tell the world who he is? Would it be wrong to heed the suggestion of Jake’s lesbian nursery teacher (Octavia Spencer) and play the diversity card by highlighting their son’s non-conforming behavior on his pre-school applications, even if it might lead the other students to label him for it? And — perhaps most pressing of all — how do parents of kids like Jake reconcile the natural desire to support their children with the instinctive need to protect them from a cruel and prejudiced world?

These are not easy questions for a hyper-liberal Brooklyn couple who think of themselves as allies to the LGBTQ community, and Silas Howard’s new film is nothing if not well-attuned to the difference between the purity of sharing the right values and the messiness of actually living with them. Adapted by screenwriter Daniel Pearle from his play of the same name, “A Kid Like Jake” is an unfussy drama that leverages one of the most bougie conflicts imaginable — “we have to spare our child the indignities of public school!” — into a sensitive and nuanced portrait of modern parenting that boasts a much broader appeal than its setting might suggest. This is very much a “White People Problems” movie, but it’s also a lot more than that.

Nevertheless, “A Kid Like Jake” certainly takes its time in shaking off the feeling that it’s not just a well-intentioned PSA for 21st century parents. Pearle’s script admirably tries to make this story feel much bigger than it ever could on stage, but the movie flounders whenever it tries to pad out the sharp conversation scenes from the original version, or provide them with new context. Subplots and supporting material generally distract from the crux of the story, regardless of whether or not they were in the play.

Ann Dowd is always a welcome sight, and her role as Alex’s iron-willed mother helps texture that character’s stress, but other detours contribute little to the cause. Greg is a therapist, and the film flatlines every time it cuts back to his lightly comic sessions with a patient (Amy Landecker) who’s having marital problems of her own.

These passages can be particularly enervating when processed through Howard’s flat visual approach, the director’s anonymous style at odds with his self-evident concern for the material. Approximately 15 of the opening 30 minutes are devoted to establishing shots of New York City (only a slight exaggeration), the views so random that every cut makes it harder to pinpoint where the Wheelers actually live. That may seem like a petty gripe, but it’s indicative of a single-issue movie that doesn’t quite know what to do with itself whenever Jake isn’t the center of attention.

Jake has the same problem, though Howard finds a much better solution for him. Smartly handling a character who never appears on stage in Pearle’s play, “A Kid Like Jake” makes its title character a real but elusive presence. We see him just enough to appreciate the weight of what’s at stake — Howard chasing the young actor around with handheld shots that capture his rambunctiousness — but also so infrequently that we feel how little agency a child has at that point in their life, and how many of their choices are made for them. The burden lies with the parents, and so naturally this film does as well.

Fortunately, Danes and Parsons are more than strong enough to shoulder it, even though (and especially when) their characters struggle to maintain their confidence in themselves and each other. Danes is wholly convincing as a stay-at-home mother who’s struggling to navigate between what’s best for Jake and what’s best for his applications; growing increasingly tetchy over the course of the film, her anger is layered and raw and always well-earned. Parsons matches her pound-for-pound, playing Greg as a helpless dad whose psychoanalytic passiveness isn’t as effective at home as it is at work. Greg is a little more relaxed about Jake’s behavior, and when push comes to shove Alex blames him for their son’s effeminate nature (casting Greg with an openly gay actor isn’t just a meta shorthand, it also makes that accusation feel twice as cruel).

And blame is where the Wheelers eventually wind up, their frustrations boiling into a brutal yelling match in which they both foam at the mouth with unspoken resentment, re-aggravated loss, and newfound anxiety over how ill-prepared the world still is for a kid like Jake. It’s a scene that trembles with hurt, that feels beautifully written but also inescapably urgent. It’s also a scene that augers the difficulties that may be down the road; for them, for Jake, and for anyone out there who might find themselves in a similar position. This might be the start of a long and winding path, but it’s no small thing for “A Kid Like Jake” to so clearly illustrate how love is always going to be the path of least resistance.

‘Nancy’: Sundance Review | ScreenDaily

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Andrea Riseborough seeks to escape her mundane life in Christina Choe’s intriguing debut

BY FIONNUALA HALLIGAN, CHIEF FILM CRITIC

Writer-director Christina Choe makes an intriguing if resolutely downbeat debut with the mysterious character piece Nancy, starring British actor Andrea Riseborough (who also produces). Delivered very much in a no-frills, American indie vein, the Eon-backed Nancy rises above its dingy settings, drab costumes and Riseborough’s alarmingly matted hair to become an unpredictable story about a character you can never comfortably know.

Choe has taken a slim scenario and used to touch on universal themes

With Riseborough giving a stripped down, effective performance as the title character, Nancy ultimately steps out of the crowd, although it’s more likely to take its next move into streaming than theatrical venues.

This is a reunion for Barbara Broccoli and Michael J. Wilson’s Eon with Riseborough, who starred in the company’s critically-shunned 2015 drama Silent Storm, picked up by Sony’s SPWR. As a writer, Choe weaves small nuggets of information into a scenario with universal fascination, building up a character – with the help of a fearless Riseborough – who says little but is hard to forget. As a director, though, she sets herself some challenges: including the decision to start the film in a boxy ratio which widens at a key moment, Wizard of Oz-style, to also accommodate some colour bursts. The snowy surrounds of working class Upstate New York are dreary confines a character would like to escape from: the trick is not to include the viewer in that desperate urge to get out.

Nancy is first seen helping her invalid mother Betty (Ann Dowd), who has Parkinson’s Disease, off the toilet. Their relationship has clearly long since broken-down, and the sullen Nancy only becomes animated at the appearance of her cat, Paul. A temp at a local dentistry (Perfect Smiles, a grimly ironic place for a character who never does), Nancy also seems to be a troubled fantasist. She tells her colleagues about trips to North Korea, even providing photographic evidence; more dangerously, she befriends online a man (John Leguizamo) bereaved over the loss of an infant and, when she meets up with him, pretends to be pregnant.

A frustrated writer, Nancy is clearly untruthful, although unreliably so. When her mother suddenly dies, will her world open up? Or will the bedraggled Nancy retreat? When she sees a couple on TV (J Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi) talk movingly about their daughter who vanished 30 years ago, there’s an undeniable similarity between the age-progressed photofit of the missing child and how Nancy looks now. She takes steps to contact them with a prospect that they suddenly all want to believe in. But how much of a fantasist is she? It’s hard to second-guess Nancy, and easy to fall into her trap (despite the almost-comedy thatch of hair).

Choe has taken a slim scenario and used to touch on universal themes and thoughts of escape and second chances in life. Buscemi is strong as the questioning father figure, while J Smith-Cameron is warm and open as the mother. It’s Riseborough’s show, however, and she throws away all vanity to present a woman searching for the love of a mother who may – or may not – have abruptly lost her own chance at motherhood. Or is she simply “a total creep from the internet”?

DOP Zoe White films with a real sympathy for the character and milieu, and lives that might be led there. An effectively discordant score from Peter Raeburn keeps the audience on edge, as intended. Choe makes an impact with this Sundance and Biennale College-supported debut, enough to attract industry attention, although she could lighten up the ambiance a little if audiences are to be expected to follow suit.

‘Nancy’ Review: Andrea Riseborough Breaks Loose in Twisted Kidnapping Drama — Sundance 2018 | Indiewire

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The always-reliable actress finally gets a leading role befitting her prodigious talents, thanks to Christina Choe’s artfully crafted drama.

Kate Erbland

Jan 20, 2018 6:30 pm

Nancy is a liar. That’s the first thing we learn about Andrea Riseborough’s eponymous character in Christina Choe’s taut feature debut, “Nancy,” but Choe’s sharp writing and Riseborough’s nervy performance only use that as a jumping-off point. Nancy’s lies initially appear to be her attempt to engage with a world that has eluded and likely discarded her, a 35-year-old nobody who toils at temp jobs, tries to launch a writing career, and is trapped in a messy house with her ailing mother Betty (Ann Dowd, leaving a big impression with little screen time). She’s a little obsessed with the internet and her cell phone, burying her nose into screens while Betty belittles and berates her. Riseborough delivers most of Nancy’s lines with a flat affect, but it’s clear that plenty stirs behind her eyes.

When we first meet Nancy, she’s deep in her latest ploy: a blog that chronicles the recovery of a woman who lost an infant, and uses the platform to reach out to other parents who have suffered the same tragedy. Except, Nancy never had a baby that she lost (or did she?), and the name she uses isn’t her own. When she meets up with a reader (a heartbreaking John Leguizamo), she arrives at their coffee date wearing a fake belly, telling her internet friend that she’s pregnant again and hopeful for the future. As he solemnly promises Nancy that he’s not “a total creep from the internet,” both she and the audience must grapple with the truth: She’s the total creep from the internet.

And yet the emotion that she elicits from Leguizamo’s Jeb is real, and when it later leads to a surprising standoff between the pair in a location as banal as the supermarket, the moment delivers the kind of gasping gut punch that keeps Nancy reeling for the rest of the film’s runtime. It also foreshadows the biggest question of “Nancy”: How do you put a price on the truth when emotions override all honesty?

That’s really what Choe is toying with here, see-sawing between the sense that Nancy is spinning tales to spice up her otherwise boring life and the understanding that perhaps those lies are really all she has. The lies will only get bigger, and so will the emotional impact of “Nancy” and Riseborough’s rich performance. Made even more isolated by recent events, a bored Nancy happens to catch a local newscast dedicated to exploring the kidnapping of a young girl some 30 years ago, with her still-shattered parents (J. Smith-Cameron and Steve Buscemi) taking to the airwaves to discuss both the scholarship they’ve put in place in memory of young Brooke and to share an aged-up picture of what Brooke might look like today.

Bluntly: She looks just like Nancy, or at least enough like Nancy to get her busy brain going (and to get the audience to wonder if perhaps Nancy’s lies aren’t as outlandish as we once thought). It’s a thrilling twist, and further proof of Choe’s canny ability to use the seeming constraints of crafting a story around a character we know to be liar to delve deeper into issues of understanding. While Riseborough’s performance is the main attraction here, at least the most initially dazzling, Choe’s writing is as taut and incisive as it comes. The first-time feature filmmaker is all about delivering compelling details with a minimum of fuss — just one tossed-off comment from Dowd and a single rejection later from The Paris Review, and the status of Nancy’s career is blindingly obvious. A trio of slapdash digital photos conveys years’ worth of Nancy’s twisted pathology and how she ensnares people in her games.

Soon, Nancy is on her way to Ellen (Smith-Cameron) and Leo’s (Buscemi) bucolic upstate New York home, where her own desires begin to give way to a shared delusion that just might be true. (Although the filmmaking of “Nancy” is by no means showy, Choe effectively utilize a squared-off 4×3 aspect ratio for scenes that follow Nancy and Betty, vividly expanding the screen outward as Nancy finally leaves her home, just as her own possibilities are expanding to contain new multitudes. It’s clever, and it works.)

Both Smith-Cameron and Buscemi prove to be solid foils for Riseborough, with Smith-Cameron’s Ellen giving herself over to the stranger almost immediately, while Buscemi’s Leo hangs and holds back until he can no longer. But it’s Riseborough who holds the film fast, rooting its seemingly wild twists and character developments into something haunting and, quite often, eerily understandable. The stories she tells might be fake, but the feeling behind them is real. The past might be unchangeable, but the future can be forced.

Nancy is a liar, but the trick is, we can’t help but believe her. We want to.

NANCY among must-see films at Sundance 2018 | IndieWire

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Originally titled: Sundance 2018: 21 Must-See Films At This Year’s Festival, From ‘Wildlife’ to ‘Sorry to Bother You’

This year’s Sundance Film Festival is mere days from unspooling in Park City, Utah, heralding a brand new year of indie filmmaking. Here are the films to add to your calendar now.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival is mere days from unspooling in snowy Park City, Utah and, with it comes a brand new year of indie filmmaking to get excited about. As ever, the annual festival is playing home to dozens of feature films, short offerings, and technologically-influenced experiences, and while there’s plenty to anticipate seeing, we’ve waded through the lineup to pick out the ones we’re most looking forward to checking out.

From returning filmmakers like Desiree Akhavan, Robert Greene, and the Zellner brothers to brand-new names like Christina Choe, Carlos López Estrada, and newly minted director Paul Dano (himself a regular of the festival, though on the other side of the camera), this year’s festival promises a bevy of big treats and perhaps even bigger surprises. Here’s what we can’t wait to see.

This year’s festival runs from January 18 – 28 in Park City, Utah. Check out the full lineup, plus all of our coverage of the festival, right here.

“Nancy”

Ring the Andrea Riseborough alarm, because we’ve got a hot one. The lauded — and occasionally woefully overlooked — actress toplines what has to be one of the festival’s most intriguing titles, Christina Choe’s feature directorial debut “Nancy.” In the twisted-sounding drama, Nancy (Riseborough) becomes steadily convinced that she was kidnapped when she was a child, a dangerous enough fantasy made even more potent by her meeting a couple who just so happened to have a child — a girl, Nancy’s age — kidnapped when she was small. This can’t possibly end well, but it sounds like the kind of layered, dense role that Riseborough will be able to truly sink her teeth into. -Kate Erbland

“The Miseducation of Cameron Post”

“Appropriate Behavior” filmmaker Desiree Akhavan finally returns to the festival that first introduced her prodigious chops and delightfully off-kilter humor to the world, thanks to her long-gestating adaptation of the Emily M. Danforth novel of the same name. Starring Chloe Grace Moretz as the eponymous Cameron, the film tracks the teenager’s first tenuous steps into understanding her sexuality, a fraught enough endeavor made all the worse by her aunt’s horror at the prospect that Cameron might be gay, a horror that pushes her to send Cameron to gay conversion camp. It’s there that Moretz will be matched up with a slew of compelling supporting stars, including “American Honey” breakout Sasha Lane, “Blame” filmmaker Quinn Shephard, Jennifer Ehle, John Gallagher Jr., and Forrest Goodluck. Akhavan has already shown her deft hand at taking complicated, complex matters of sexuality and family and turning them into rich, wily final products. Here’s hoping “Cameron Post” continues that tradition. -KE

“Piercing”

Nicolas Pesce delivered the major discovery of the 2016 Sundance Film Festival with his chilling black-and-white horror film “The Eyes of My Mother,” and now he’s back two years later with a bigger budget, a starrier cast, and hopefully the same level of grisly intensity. “Piercing” stars Mia Wasikowska and Christopher Abbott and is based on the 1994 novel by Ryu Murakami. Abbott plays a businessman who leaves his family behind and checks into a hotel with a plan to hire an escort and kill her, but the woman (Wasikowska) proves far savvier at avoiding death than he could’ve ever imagined. The plot couldn’t be more perfect for Pesce, who proved in his debut that he is more than capable of getting under the skin of sociopath. Expect fireworks to spark between indie darlings Abbott and Wasikowska, too. -Zack Sharf

“Shirkers”

Sandi Tan’s documentary in the World Cinema competition section stands a good chance at being one of this year’s major non-fiction discoveries. The movie stretches back to 1992, when the teen filmmaker and her friends shot a road movie in Singapore with the help of an American mentor who later disappeared with the footage. Tan hits the road 20 years later to unravel the mystery of this unexpected thievery and finds that there was much more to the story than she imagined. As much as Sundance often supports strong observational and issue-driven filmmaking, it always makes room for these more personal, unpredictable projects, and the peculiar events at the center of “Shirkers” are likely to drum up plenty of conversation in Park City and beyond. —Eric Kohn

“I Think We’re Alone Now”

Before Reed Morano was named the Emmy Award-winning director of Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” she impressed the festival circuit with her feature directorial debut “Meadowland.” The drama premiered at Tribeca, which makes Morano’s latest, “I Think We’re Alone Now,” a more-than-overdue Sundance debut. The drama stars Peter Dinklage and Elle Fanning as two people who discover they’re the only humans left in the country and maybe even the world. Morano’s camera has such a piercing subjectivity to it that we can’t wait to see what she’s able to do with the dystopian genre. With a Sundance breakout waiting in the wings and a Blake Lively-starring action drama now filming, Morano is hitting the big leagues like never before. -ZS

“Damsel”

It’s been five long years since brothers David and Nathan Zellner were at Sundance with the brilliant and beguiling “Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter,” but now the filmmaking duo is finally back at the festival with another unexpected twist on a classic American genre. Sure to be as delirious as their previous work, “Damsel” is a bonafide Western, albeit it one with that turns a drunken mess of familiar tropes upside down. Fresh off his revelatory performance in “Good Time,” Robert Pattinson stars as pioneer Samuel Alabaster, who — accompanied by an alcoholic sidekick (David Zellner) and a miniature horse named Butterscotch — sets out to manifest destiny and marry the love of his life (Mia Wasikowska). Slapstick antics and silly hats ensue. We can’t wait. –David Ehrlich

“Blindspotting”

Poised to be one of the major breakouts of Sundance 2018 (the festival has confidently reserved it a coveted opening night slot at the premier screening venue), “Blindspotting” is a buddy-comedy set in the inner-city. Co-written by and co-starring Rafael Casal and “Hamilton” breakout Daveed Diggs, Carlos López Estrada’s directorial feature debut tells the story of an ex-con (Diggs) who’s on the last day of a long probation, and the troublemaking childhood friend (Casal) who completely derails his path back to the straight-and-narrow. As much of a love letter to a rapidly gentrifying Oakland as “Lady Bird” is to a turn-of-the-millennium Sacramento, “Blindspotting” could pave the way for a number of exciting new voices, and formally bring one of the brightest stars of Broadway to the big screen with a role worthy of his talents. —DE

“Bisbee ’17”

Robert Greene’s chimeric documentaries — whatever you do, don’t call them hybrids — have been getting progressively more ambitious with each new effort, a trend we hope to see continue with “Bisbee ‘17.” He returns to Park City with a look at Bisbee, Arizona, an old mining town near both Tombstone and the Mexican border that’s (in)famous for a violent deportation in which “1,200 striking miners were violently taken from their homes, banished to the middle of the desert, and left to die”; Greene catches up with the would-be ghost town as it reckons with the centennial of that dark event. He was last at Sundance two years ago with “Kate Plays Christine,” a cerebral look at a news reporter who committed suicide on air in 1974, winning a special screenwriting prize for his efforts — a rarity for a documentary, and an honor that speaks to his predilection for blurring the line between genres. —Michael Nordine

“Wildlife”

Carey Mulligan appears in <i>Wildlife</i> by Paul Dano, an official selection of the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival. Courtesy of Sundance Institute. All photos are copyrighted and may be used by press only for the purpose of news or editorial coverage of Sundance Institute programs. Photos must be accompanied by a credit to the photographer and/or 'Courtesy of Sundance Institute.' Unauthorized use, alteration, reproduction or sale of logos and/or photos is strictly prohibited.

Paul Dano has been at Sundance before with movies like “Swiss Army Man” and “Little Miss Sunshine,” but what he really wants to do is direct. He does just that in “Wildlife,” his behind-the-camera debut, an adaptation of Richard Ford’s novel of the same name. About a mother (Carey Mulligan) and son (Ed Oxenbould) left to fend for themselves in 1960s Montana after the man of the house (Jake Gyllenhaal) loses his job and decides the only thing left to do is help fight a fire raging near the Canadian border, the film was co-written by Zoe Kazan and also stars Bill Camp. Ford’s novel has earned praise for its depiction of a teenager helplessly looking on as his nuclear family falls apart, and with it his conception of how things are and how they should be; if Dano can tap into that perspective, “Wildlife” could emerge from Park City as a must-see. —MN

“Private Life”

It’s been a decade since writer-director Tamara Jenkins (“Slums of Beverly Hills”) scored an Oscar nomination for her poignant and hilarious screenplay for “The Savages.” She’s back with Netflix’s “Private Life,” about a woman (Kathryn Hahn) trying so many fertility therapies to get pregnant that her husband (Paul Giamatti) is suffering. That’s when dropout Sadie (Kayli Carter) comes into the picture with another option. Produced by Anthony Bregman (“Foxcatcher”) and Stefanie Azpiazu (“Enough Said”), the movie also stars Molly Shannon, John Carroll Lynch, Emily Robinson, and Francesca Root-Dodson. -Anne Thompson

Sundance: Exclusive Look at Andrea Riseborough’s Psychodrama ‘Nancy’ | Variety

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Nancy,” a psychodrama about a woman with a tenuous grip on the line separating fact from fiction, seems to speak to our “fake news” era. The film premieres at the Sundance Film Festival on Jan. 20 and features Andrea Riseborough as the title character, a 35-year-old woman who spins elaborate hoaxes on the internet.“Reality caught up with my fiction,” said Christina Choe, the film’s writer and director. The film was in production when Donald Trump was inaugurated and the script was written long before his election, but Choe sees parallels between the president’s fib-telling and her central character’s penchant for stretching the truth.

“It’s become a timely topic because of our lovely president, the liar-in-chief,” she said. “It’s a strange time as a society when the nature of truth is under attack.”

Nancy”s’ plot kicks into gear when the title character becomes convinced she was kidnapped as a child and goes off in search of her parents, putting her in touch with a couple whose daughter went missing three decades ago. It’s a meaty role for Riseborough, who will be very busy at Sundance, where she is appearing in four films (the other three being “Death of Stalin,” “Mandy,” and “Burden”).

“I wanted to create this female anti-hero character who is morally ambiguous, but compelling,” Choe said. “She’s kind of my answer to the Travis Bickles and Walter Whites of the world — the parts that always seem to go to men.”

Choe’s work has mostly been in the short film world. She won the grand jury prize for best short film at the Slamdance Film Festival for “I Am John Wayne” in 2012. “Nancy” isn’t the only work of Choe’s to deal with the issue of reality. She’s also making a documentary about a trip to North Korea, the so-called “hermit kingdom,” where a totalitarian regime has cut its citizens off from the world.

“What’s true and authentic is becoming the theme of my work,” Choe said. “I’m spending a lot of time navigating between truth and lies.”

“Nancy” will be looking for distribution at Sundance. The cast includes Steve Buscemi, Ann Dowd, J. Smith-Cameron, and John Leguizamo.