In the indie drama Pariah, opening in limited release on December 28th, Alike (Adepero Oduye) is a 17-year-old African-American woman, who lives with her parents and younger sister in Brooklyn’s Fort Greene neighborhood. Quietly but firmly embracing her identity as a lesbian, she has the support of her best friend, out lesbian Laura (Pernell Walker), but her parents already strained marriage becomes even more tense, at any mention of the topic at home. Regardless of the fact that she feels like she can’t confide in her own family, Alike’s humor and tenacity proves to be a great asset, as she struggles through adolescence to achieve her dreams.
During this exclusive phone interview with Collider, first-time feature writer/director Dee Rees talked about the development of the semi-autobiographical story, her decision to make it first as a short and then as a full-length feature later on, how discovering one’s identity is something that anyone and everyone can relate to, assembling such a talented cast, and what she learned about filmmaking from Spike Lee (who served as an executive producer on the film). She also talked about having already finished writing two more features, Bolo and Large Print, and that she’s developing an HBO series with Viola Davis. Check out what she had to say after the jump:
It’s not even December, but awards season has officially with the handing out of awards. Last night, the Gotham Independent Film Awards had a tie for Best Feature Film with Mike Mills‘ Beginners and Terrence Malick‘s The Tree of Life taking the top prize. Other winners last night included Breakthrough Director for Dee Rees (Pariah), Breakthrough Actor for Felicity Jones (Like Crazy), Best Documentary for Better This World and Best Ensemble for Beginners.
While the Gotham isn’t a bellwether of how the Oscar race will shake out, it can give an indie picture a welcome boost. Best Feature winners from the past several years include Frozen River, Winter’s Bone, and eventual Best Picture Oscar-winner The Hurt Locker. Hopefully, the Gothams have given Beginners and Pariah some awards season momentum (I think The Tree of Life is already on everyone’s radar in terms of awareness). Hit the jump for the full press release.
One of the more popular films to come out of this year’s Sundance Film Festival was Dee Rees’ Pariah. The movie centers on Alike (Adepero Oduye in a must-see performance), a black teenage lesbian trying to hide her sexuality from her parents and struggling to find a loving homosexual relationship. While I thought the film fumbled the ending, overall it’s a strong drama that mostly manages to transcend the cliches of African American- and homosexual-centric narrative features. Don’t be fooled into thinking that this is another Precious and I think this new trailer does an admirable job of trying to avoid that facile comparison.
Hit the jump to check out the trailer. Pariah also stars Pernell Walker, Aasha Davis, Charles Parnell, Sahra Mellesse, and Kim Wayans. No release date has been announced, but it’s safe to assume we can expect in the second half of 2011.
I cannot personally speak to the experience of hiding my sexuality from my loved ones. Since I’m heterosexual, people have had to work a little harder to find reasons to irrationally hate me. It’s difficult to outright dismiss films which explore the difficulties homosexuals, especially homosexual teens, face when they live in environments which are opposed and sometimes openly hostile to their sexuality. However, we’ve seen this story so many times, not just in film, but in other art forms as well, that it has made the gay experience seem like one of agony, as if this is the only story gays and lesbians have to tell. Dee Rees’ Pariah approaches the story of a black teenage lesbian with enough heart, honesty, and tremendous performances, especially from lead actress Adepero Oduye, but it never completely manages to break free or redefine its sub-genre.
by Jason Barr Posted: January 28th, 2011 at 3:17 pm
With the 2011 Sundance Film Festival entering its second and final weekend, we have a few bits of new to bring you out of Park City, Utah. First up, Mike Cahill’s sci-fi film Another Earth has been awarded the festival’s Alfred P. Sloan Award for its status as an “outstanding feature film focusing on science or technology as a theme, or depicting a scientist, engineer or mathematician as a major character.” The award carries with it a $20,000 cash award for Cahill and Co. Briefly, Another Earth stars William Mapother and Brit Marling and centers on two strangers who strike up an unlikely love affair against the backdrop of the discovery of a duplicate Earth.
Next up are a couple of Sundance acquisitions and we begin with the annoucement that Focus Features has snatched up the rights to Dee Rees’ Pariah. Starring Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, and Kim Wayans, the drama tells the story of a Bronx teenager who is charged with the difficult task of choosing between losing her best friend or destroying her family. Lastly, New Video has acquired the David Sington documentary The Flaw. Briefly, the economically-concerned project attempts to explain the underlying causes of current U.S. financial woes. New Video will release The Flaw under its Docurama Films moniker via multiple platforms including a limited theatrical run, cable VOD, and DVD.
Hit the jump to check out the press releases. Click here to catch up on all of our previous Sundance 2011 coverage.
Continuing our coverage of films that will be featured at the Sundance Film Festival in January, today we’re bringing you two films that will premiere in-competition at the festival: Another Earth and Pariah. Another Earth stars William Mapother, Brit Marling, Jordan Baker, Robin Lord Taylor, and Flint Beverage. The film tells the story of two strangers who meet on the eve of when a duplicate Earth has been discovered, and the two strike up an unlikely love affair.
Pariah stars Adepero Oduye, Pernell Walker, Kim Wayans, Charles Parnell, and Aasha Davis. The film focuses on a Bronx teenager who is forced to choose between losing her best friend or destroying her family. Hit the jump to check out images and a brief synopsis for each film. The 2011 Sundance Film Festival runs from January 20 – 30th.