A fairly crowded pack of new specialties hads to theaters this weekend, including features directed by veterans and newcomers. Lynn Shelton tapped multihyphenate Jay Duplass to star (and co-write) along with Edie Falco in her latest, Outside In, which will play limited runs in L.A. and New York ahead of an on-demand launch. Roadside Attractions/Stage 6, meanwhile, are bringing to this side of the Atlantic the Brit comedy Finding Your Feet with Timothy Spall, Loanna Lumley and Imelda Staunton, set for more than a dozen runs in its opening weekend before expanding to about 500 locations in April. Alan Cumming and Zachary Booth star in Vincent Gagliostro’s directorial debut After Louie, which is opening with a New York exclusive via Freestyle Digital Media, and Andie MacDowell and Chris O’Dowd star in Russell Harbaugh’s Love After Love, which is getting a day-and-date release via Sundance Selects.
Other limited releases include the day-and-date launch of Cinedigm’s Caught with Mickey Sumner and April Pearson; FIP’s Indian-produced Baaghi 2; Parade Deck Films’ Fourplay; and Magnolia’s The China Hustle. Also headed to theaters are Neon’s Gemini from filmmaker Aaron Katz and Vertical Entertainment’s Status Update.
Director-writer: Lynn Shelton
Writer: Jay Duplass
Cast: Edie Falco, Jay Duplass, Kaitlyn Dever
Distributor: The Orchard
Veteran filmmaker Lynn Shelton found inspiration for her latest feature through her determination to work with an actor who later became her co-writer. “The instigation [for Outside In] was that Jay Duplass was my muse. I wanted to work with him as an actor after seeing him in Transparent and said I’d be stalking him until I got him on set,” said the filmmaker, who directed and co-wrote the pic with Duplass. “I get obsessive with actors. … I hadn’t seen him in [this unfamiliar] territory, but he leapt at it.”
Shelton pitched Duplass the backstory around the two main characters in what would become Outside In. From that framework, the two collaborated on the final story between a teacher and her former student.
After serving 20 years for the crime of essentially being in the wrong place at the wrong time, 38-year-old Chris (Duplass) is granted early parole thanks largely to the tireless advocacy of Carol (Falco), his former high school teacher. As he struggles with the challenges of navigating the modern world as an ex-con, and with a fraught relationship with his brother Ted (Ben Schwartz), Chris ends up confessing his romantic love for Carol — a love that, given her marital status, she cannot reciprocate. Or can she? Carol longs for something her husband no longer provides. Meanwhile, Carol’s daughter Hildy (Kaitlyn Dever) befriends Chris, finding a kindred spirit in this awkward, tormented older guy.
“Edie Falco was the last jewel in our crown,” explained Shelton. “She and Jay had worked in [a couple of scenes] together in Landline. She was intrigued with the idea of working with him again, and she was attracted to [playing in] an emotionally rich role.”
Duplass Brothers Productions spearheaded financing for the project, which shot over 20 days in October 2016.
“I knew I wanted to shoot in Washington state. I have a lot of crew and local cast there I like to use,” said Shelton. “[Producer] Mel Eslyn spends half of her time there and the other half in L.A. I also worked with a great location scout. I didn’t want it to be in an urban area. I wanted it to be gray but with a lot of nature — a place where you could feel the struggle of people trying to scrape by.”
Outside In shot in a small town 90 minutes northeast of Seattle. Production base was at the local American Legion, while all locations were within a short walk. “The locals got to know us,” said Shelton. “When Jay came on as a co-writer, he kept writing new scenes that would take place outside. I’d have to remind him that we’re not shooting in California — it was going to rain. But he thought it would be great because you don’t see rain often in films. And then we were stuck in mud.”
Post took place in Seattle as well as in L.A. Outside In debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival and also played at the recent SXSW Film Festival. “I like to sit through my films with an audience,” said Shelton. “It’s a bit strange, I know, but each performance changes every time. I like the interaction with people.”
The Orchard, which picked up rights to Outside In before the release, will open with limited runs in New York and L.A. this weekend with all digital platforms slated for April 3.
Finding Your Feet
Director: Richard Loncraine
Writers: Meg Leonard, Nick Moorcroft
Cast: Timothy Spall, Loanna Lumley, Imelda Staunton, Celia Imrie, David Hayman, Phoebe Nicholls
Distributor: Roadside Attractions/Stage 6
British comedy Finding Your Feet heads stateside this weekend following successful openings in the U.K., Australia and New Zealand. Roadside Attractions along with partner Stage 6 picked up the title after seeing it during a buyers’ screening during the Toronto International Film Festival.
“We really responded to the upbeat, fun movie for the older audience in the vein of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with great British actors,” said Roadside co-president Howard Cohen. “[Entertainment One] had pre-bought [the film] in script stage for the U.K., Canada and Australia, and they talked it up and made us excited.”
The film centers on a judgmental, middle-class snob who, on the eve of retirement, discovers her husband has been having an affair with her best friend and is forced into exile with her bohemian sister who lives on an impoverished inner-city council estate.
“This is an ‘audience movie’ that [we believe] will have great word-of-mouth,” said Cohen. “So we’ve been screening it for special groups out in the field including AARP and also a group that [engages] older females, the Red Hat Society.”
The film also found its groove with the older demo at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, where it picked up an Audience Award. Said Cohen: “That really validated it as a great audience film. They picked it out of [over 100] films. So we decided to not just open it in New York and L.A.”
Roadside againis partnering with Stage 6 for the rollout, which it collaborated on the successful 2016 release Hello, My Name Is Doris. The distributors are tailoring their marketing push by market, mixing in some television while focusing on other mediums elsewhere.
Finding Your Feet will bow at the Landmark in L.A. and Westpark 8 in Orange County as well as Lincoln Square, Angelika and the Cinemas 1, 2, 3 in New York. It also will go to locations in Phoenix, Fort Myers, Naples and Orlando, FL as well as Palm Springs for a total of 14 runs in its first frame. Cohen said he expects the feature to be in about 500 runs by April 13.
Director-writer: Vincent Gagliostro
Writer: Anthony Johnston
Cast: Alan Cumming, Zachary Booth, Sarita Choudhury, David Drake, Joseph Arias, Justin Vivian Bond, Eric Berryman, Patrick Breen, Wilson Cruz
Distributor: Freestyle Digital Media
Romantic-drama After Louie is the directorial debut of veteran artist Vincent Gagliostro, who began writing the script with Anthony Johnston several years back. The film shot in 2016.
After Louie stars Alan Cumming as Sam, an artist and activist from ACT UP who lived through the early years of HIV/AIDS and is struggling with survivor’s guilt and Zachary Booth as Braeden, a seductive younger man that Sam meets in a bar. The pair drop their pants, and quickly thereafter Sam drops his emotional guard. They develop an intergenerational relationship that reawakens Sam’s artistic soul and revives his wilted heart.
“We sent the script to Alan Cumming in February 2015,” said Gagliostro. “He and [co-writer] Anthony Johnston are friends, so that started the ball rolling. Ten days later, he said he wanted to do it. We met with him at his apartment and talked about [the story]. [He said] his main reasons for wanting to play [the character Sam] was that he liked the idea of tackling the generational divide [in the gay community]. For him, that was a very important topic.”
Gagliostro tapped his friend, Keep the Lights On actor Zachary Booth — who joined the project early on — to play the main character on the other side of the generational divide. The projects producers, including Bryce Renninger, found financing via various outlets for the project including individuals and a crowd sourcing campaign.
“We had a benefit of the Film Society of Lincoln Center and also did art work that was auctioned off, and then we did a four-week letter campaign,” said Gagliostro. “In the interim, I was introduced to two gentlemen from the Hudson Valley that loved the story and invested.” The team also found other individuals to give funds and they netted $75K from a Kickstarter campaign.
After Louie shot over 20 days at various locations in Brooklyn, Tribeca and the Hamptons. “We finished gay pride weekend of 2015,” said Gagliostro. “The shoot was good. It was by the seat of our pants.”
After Louie played a host of international and U.S. festivals including London LGBT Film Festival, Provincetown International Film Festival and Key West Film Festival, where it picked up an award.
“We were embraced by [all audiences] in festivals like Provincetown, Key West and others, which was great,” said Gagliostro. Freestyle Digital Media came on for limited theatrical in February. The feature will have its theatrical bow Friday at Cinema Village in New York in addition to launching on various on-demand platforms including iTunes followed by Amazon Prime and Netflix.
Love After Love
Director-writer: Russell Harbaugh
Writer: Eric Mendelsohn
Cast: Andie MacDowell, Chris O’Dowd, Juliet Rylance, James Abdomian, Drei Hemingway, Gareth Williams
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Writer-director Russell Harbaugh teamed with writer Eric Mendelsohn in the story for Love After Love, but after taking it to the Sundance Labs in 2013, the project kicked into higher gear. “We both lost our fathers, and the experience of how that affected our families influenced us,” said Harbaugh. We had an unusual structure [to the project]. Before the Labs, people would say, ‘What is this?’ But when Sundance put their [stamp of approval], people would say, ‘It’s a new voice.’”
The film is set in the wake of a husband and father’s death. The family members he leaves behind find themselves adrift and in danger of drifting apart as they each try to find meaning in a world without the man who held them together. Mother Suzanne (Andie MacDowell) tentatively seeks companionship, but her attempts at dating only drive a wedge between her and older son Nicholas (Chris O’Dowd), whose own relationship with his girlfriend is disintegrating. Meanwhile, younger son Chris (James Adomian) deals with grief in his own complicated — and increasingly worrying — way.
“The filmmakers began working with [production company] Parts & Labor in New York. After attaching O’Dowd and MacDowell, financing came through via Great Point Media in the U.K. Work continued on the script through production, which began in fall 2015, with the bulk of the shoot taking place in Kingston, NY, followed by a week in New York City.
“The shoot had a real energy,” said Harbaugh. “Andie and Chris took real risks, working against how people perceive them, but that excited them. The material made the atmosphere on set alive. We also did a lot of improvisation and playing around.”
The title debuted at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, followed by other festival screenings including in Nantucket and Palms Springs. Harbaugh said the feature is for people who looking for a storyline that goes beyond the cookie cutter.
“I think we’re all accustomed to like movies that are limp, serious, familiar and boring. But we were invested into this idea of a big American drama that’s a new kind of movie for people interested in films about humans as opposed to robots and superheroes… We were after this feeling of ‘the whirlwind of life’ — this feeling you can’t catch up to your own life.”
Sundance Selects opens Love After Love day-and-date Friday.