Some movies need to be discovered for the little gem that they are, and there is no question Captain Fantastic, which has been gaining a lot of awards heat this week, is one of them. To help that cause I was pleased to moderate the session with writer-director Matt Ross and star Viggo Mortensen during the Bleecker Street portion of Deadline’s big annual all-day awards event, The Contenders Presented By Deadline, last month at the DGA theater.

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The film, which won the Best Director prize in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard and just received SAG and Golden Globe nominations in major categories, is about the unorthodox family led by widower Mortensen and his travelling brood of six kids — all of whom are up for SAG’s Outstanding Cast award. Ross related his inspiration for the movie by telling the packed room of Oscar and key guild voters that he wanted to write something about parenthood and what it means to be a father. He says a good film can ask a lot of questions and explore themes like this, even if it has to be made on a small indie budget and includes a cast of kids and animals and several locations.

Mortensen says it is rare to find a script as good as this one, a story that takes you on a real emotional journey. He says he was only worried about finding six great young actors, but once they did, he then got nervous about keeping up with them.

Check out our conversation above.