After sweeping the awards at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, capped by a fest-record $25 million sale to Apple, CODA has proven to be the little engine that could.
Financed independently after Lionsgate insisted on stars — writer-director Siân Heder and star Marlee Matlin dug in and refused to make the film unless they could populate the Rossi family with actors who were deaf, just like their characters — CODA got done as a modestly budgeted independent that Apple slotted in August, before most awards films come on the scene.
A remake of the 2014 French film La famille Bélie, CODA has emerged as a prime candidate anyway all through awards season and is nominated in several Oscar categories that include Best Picture, Adapted Screenplay and Supporting Actor for Troy Kotsur, who plays the Rossi matriarch Frank.
They all gathered, along with Emilia Jones (the big-voiced Rossi daughter pressed to defer her singing dreams because her ability to hear and speak make her the family lifeline to the outside world), for Deadline’s Contenders Film: The Nominees event. Also on hand is Daniel Durant, who plays her deaf brother, whose entrepreneurial ideas fall on…err…deaf ears because his parents are so reliant upon her sister.
The group’s infectious enthusiasm for their film, and for each other, is evident as they explain the struggle to make the film with a deaf principal cast.
Check out the panel video above.