Magnolia Pictures, Why Not Productions, Desperate Pictures, Orange Studio & Wild Bunch
A MAGNOLIA PICTURES RELEASE WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD
A film by Gregg Araki Starring: Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, Christopher Meloni, Shiloh Fernandez, Gabourey Sidibe, Thomas Jane & Angela Bassett 90 minutes; 2.35
2014 Sundance Film Festival – World Premiere
PRELIMINARY PRESS NOTES
Press Contact NY/Nat’l:
Press Contact LA/Nat’l:
Ginsberg Libby PR
6255 Sunset Blvd. Suite 1026
(212) 924-6701 phone
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 645-6800 phone
Kat Connors (Shailene Woodley) is 17 years old when her perfect homemaker mother, Eve (Eva Green), a beautiful, enigmatic, and haunted woman, disappears - just as Kat is discovering and relishing her newfound sexuality. Having lived for so long in a stifled, emotionally repressed household, she barely registers her mother's absence and certainly doesn't blame her doormat of a father, Brock (Christopher Meloni), for the loss. In fact, it's almost a relief. But as time passes, Kat begins to come to grips with how deeply Eve's disappearance has affected her. Returning home on a break from college, she finds herself confronted with the truth about her mother's departure, and her own denial about the events surrounding it...
Q&A WITH GREGG ARAKI
White Bird in a Blizzard is adapted from a novel by Laura Kasischke. What made you decide to make this story into a movie?
Gregg Araki: A producer friend and collaborator of mine, Sebastien Lemercier, recommended the book which I read and fell in love with. I was instantly struck by the novel’s lyrical and poetic nature. It really haunted me and reminded me of what I had liked about Scott Heim’s novel Mysterious Skin: softness and beauty within the violence.
What was it about the book that moved you the most?
Gregg Araki: It’s difficult to put into words but you instinctively know what movies you need to make. Laura's storytelling style is impressionistic and also very visual and cinematic so it lends itself perfectly to the filmmaking process. The feminist aspect of her viewpoint also appealed to me as I have always been heavily influenced by feminist film theory. White Bird is the story of a young woman, Kat Connors, who is taking her first steps into her own sexuality just as her world is turned upside down by the sudden disappearance of her mother. But the novel isn’t a generic suspense thriller - it’s more measured, introspective, a beautiful and haunting portrait of a broken American family. Kat's mother, Eve, is an archetypal suburban housewife - a woman whose place in the world has been prescribed for her by society. She dutifully manages her household but it slowly turns into a prison. Eva Green, who plays Eve, and I were both really compelled and fascinated by this tragic component of her character.
What did you change in the story to make it your own?
Gregg Araki: Adapting the novel for the screen, I started by moving the story from Ohio to Loma Linda, California, a suburb near L.A. which is similar to the one I grew up in. It's helpful for me to have inside knowledge of a location and its atmosphere, in order to create the world of the film. The book is divided into four distinct chapters chronicling the years between 1986 to 1989, for the film we’ve shifted a bit later to the late eighties/early nineties - a period that, culturally and especially musically, has always fascinated me. As anyone familiar with my movies knows, the music of that era which is used in the film - Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure, Cocteau Twins, etc. - that music was a huge influence and inspiration for me as a young artist, so the film pays homage to that.
What was involved in adapting the novel?
Gregg Araki: A filmmaker has the advantage of being able to tell a story through images - and Laura's novel was full of beautiful, cinematic imagery to start with. I always work with a storyboards so I can put the images which are playing in my head onto paper for others - the crew, the actors, etc. – to see. It helps me make the imaginary real. The world that Laura created was rich and very vivid - the snow in Kat’s dreams, the gloomy interior of the Connors house, it was all there in the book. I always find it’s easier to work from something that exists, because the story, characters and images are already there. All you have to do is hone and sculpt them into a 90 minute format.
This is your second book adaptation, after Mysterious Skin. Both films feature a certain softness, an intentionalromanticism. It’s almost as though adapting someone else’swork tames your style...
Gregg Araki: You could look at it that way I suppose. But at the same time, both films explore my usual stylistic and thematic concerns - dreams and the surreal, sexual coming of age, people who are outsiders in society, etc. For me, adapting someone else’s work usually means finding a voice that I empathize with, which really strikes a chord in me. Scott Heim and Laura are both clear examples of this. Then, in making the book into a film, it's about staying true to that voice while enhancing it with my own authorial vision. With a film like Kaboom or Doom Generation, which are original screenplays I wrote, those films are more like my imagination running wild, not in service of another author's voice and point of view. Ultimately though, despite their seeming difference in tone and surface, the films which are my original ideas and those I adapt from other sources fit together.
The narrative structure relies heavily on Kat’s dreams. How did you work with these dreams?
Gregg Araki: The dreams Kat has of her mother lost in the snow give us an insight into the emotional bond between them as well as illuminating what is going on inside Kat's head. My films have always been influenced by surrealism and filmmakers like
David Lynch so the way Laura utilizes dreams in the book definitely appealed to me. It really gave me a pathway into the story.
White Bird In A Blizzard unfolds almost entirely from Kat’s perspective - it’s told from a very feminine point of view...
Gregg Araki: It's not the first time I've made a movie centered on a female protagonist - Smiley Face (2007) and even in The Doom Generation (1995), a significant part of the action is seen through Amy Blue's eyes. From my days in film school, I’ve always been interested in the feminist perspective which is why Laura's sensibility is such a good fit for me.
This film also seems to take a different approach to one of your favorite subjects - adolescence.
Gregg Araki: Adolescence is a time of change and transition, where nothing is stable or certain, and teenagers live a life that is a big question mark - so naturally they make compelling dramatic subjects. However, I’m in my fifties and not particularly interested in dragging out my adolescence in my movies. Throughout all my films, my perspective of this period of life has changed significantly over the years. In White
Bird, the crazy rock ‘n’ roll side of adolescence is virtually non-existent. Instead, the film focuses on Kat's troubled and dysfunctional family and as a result it’s much quieter and more serious. There's a big difference between this movie and Doom Generation, made 20 years ago. While Doom is very wild and chaotic, White Bird In A Blizzard is more controlled, introspective, classical almost in structure and tone.
There are some characters, like Kat’s close friends, who seem to represent the outcasts of the world: the overweight Afro- American, the gay best friend...
Gregg Araki: In the book, Kat’s friends were two white girls. My movies have always been about outsiders, those who don't really fit into mainstream American society. That’s why I changed these characters as I envisioned Kat and her friends as misfits who create a world unto themselves. They are perfectly content living outside of the norm, apart from the middle of the road "popular" kids, because they have each other.
You purposefully set the film in the late Eighties. How does this context impact the tragedy that befalls this family?
Gregg Araki: Women like Eve Connors grew up in the Fifties and Sixties – a time before the major societal and cultural developments of women’s rights and feminism. These women were taught from a young age that their place was in the home. Eva Green and I discussed this idea at length when we were talking about Eve. Someone like Eve would have been greatly influenced by the icons of that period: Jackie Kennedy, Elizabeth Taylor, and all of Hitchcock’s heroines who were the incarnation of the feminine ideal in their time. These women would have all been role models for Eve, so she lives to project the image of the perfect wife and mother. One of my favorite scenes is the montage of an impeccably dressed Eve cleaning her house - which we intentionally shot and lit so it looks like one of those old TV commercials glorifying the happy, perfect housewife.
You mentioned Hitchcock, who wasn’t known for being a feminist. Kat’s mother seems more like a character from a Douglas Sirk melodrama...
Gregg Araki: Sirk is definitely a reference. And I guess you could say Hitchcock is almost more like the "anti" reference – since his women are systematically trapped, victimized, and even murdered as they are idealized and put on a pedestal. With White Bird, I wanted to show how the "paradise" of suburban America could turn into a sort of living hell. My set designer, when he first read the script, said: “Wow, that’s the story of my family!” [laughs] The dilemma of the Connors family, beyond the story's more extreme dramatic elements, is actually a pretty common one. The foundation of the American Dream is that everyone is supposed to have the same dream but the reality is that there is a lot of unhappiness, a lot of secrets and lies and hidden tragedy. Laura's novel really eloquently points out that the American Dream doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. It reminded me in a way of American Beauty (Sam Mendes – 1999) and The Ice Storm (Ang Lee – 1997), portraits of the American middle class that explore the darkness lurking beneath the seemingly perfect facade. Hollywood doesn't really make that kind of movie anymore.
Kat is played by Shailene Woodley who has recently achieved international stardom as the heroine in the teenage saga Divergent (Neil Burger – 2014). Was this iconic element helpful to you?
Gregg Araki: I first discovered Shai through her heartbreaking performance in The Descendants (Alexander Payne – 2011). Coincidentally, she was a big fan of Mysterious Skin and I've known her manager, Nils Larsen, for years. He insisted that I meet Shai and we hit it off instantly. This was years before Divergent came along. She read the script for White Bird, loved it, and immediately signed on. Shai actually reminds me a lot of Joe Gordon Levitt, who I worked with on Mysterious Skin. They are both incredibly talented and creative individuals who take their art very seriously - they're not in it for fame or money or any of the bullshit. They both also have really great parents so they're more centered and secure in themselves than some young actors who don't have that kind of solid upbringing.
The role of Eve is a departure for Eva Green as she portrays a character who is significantly older than she is in real life. It's a role unlike any we've seen her play before.
Gregg Araki: Eva's performance in the movie just blew me away. Because the Eve character ages from early 30s to 40s, we debated casting an older actress and making her look younger with makeup and effects but I couldn’t get Eva out of my mind. I've been a huge fan of hers since The Dreamers (Bernardo Bertolucci –2003) and I was so excited for the chance to work with her. She and I were both very wary however of using prosthetics and "old age" makeup to make Eve look like the weary, older housewife she is in the film's later half because that always looks so fake and terrible. In the end, we barely touched her face, the makeup artist just very subtly enhanced what was already there. The rest is all Eva - she just miraculously became this entirely different person, her posture, body language, her very essence changed. She just kind of withered away. When I first saw her in character, wearing that sad grey sweater, lurking in the doorway, I was stunned because in real life Eva is one of the most gorgeous, radiant people I've ever met. She is literally like Marlene Dietrich or Greta Garbo, this otherworldly kind of presence. In fact, Eva was only 32 when we shot the film, which is funny, because Shiloh Fernandez, the actor who plays Phil, Kat’s teenage boyfriend, was like 27 at the time; they could date in real life and no one would bat an eye. But the scene where the two of them are flirting is genuinely unnerving and creepy because they are both so skilled at making us believe those characters. The entire cast - Shai, Eva, Shiloh, Chris Meloni, Gabourey Sidibe, Tom Jane... I just feel incredibly blessed for the opportunity to work with such an amazing ensemble of actors. It really was like a dream come true.
ABOUT THE CAST
SHAILENE WOODLEY – Kat Connors
Shailene Woodley is best known for her award winning performance opposite George Clooney in Academy Award® nominated film The Descendants from writer/director Alexander Payne. Among the many accolades she received for her work in the film were a 2012 Independent Spirit Award® for Best Supporting Actress, the National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe® nomination and a Critics Choice award nomination. Variety said of her performance, “Woodley is a revelation in the role of Alex, displaying both the edge and the depth that the role demands.” A.O. Scott of the New York Times agreed saying Woodley gives, “one of the toughest, smartest, most credible adolescent performances in recent memory.”
Woodley most recently starred in the critically acclaimed film, The Fault in Our Stars, the big screen adaption of John Green’s hugely popular novel. Woodley earned glowing reviews from the most respected critics in the country and it dominated the box office on opening weekend. The film has earned over $250 million worldwide thus far.
Woodley also cemented her status as a star in the big screen version of “Divergent” for Lionsgate, based on the popular YA novel of the same name from best-selling author Veronica Roth.
Just prior, Woodley starred in The Spectacular Now opposite Miles Teller. The co-stars shared the Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Acting at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2013; and Woodley was nominated for a Gotham Award and an Independent Spirit Award® for Best Actress.
Woodley next stars in the dramatic film White Bird in a Blizzard for director Gregg Araki, which premiered at Sundance in January 2014. Magnolia Pictures will release the film on VOD on September 25th and then in theaters on October 24th.
Fans worldwide are also anticipating the return of ‘Tris’ in the next installment of the Divergent series, entitled Insurgent, which will be in theaters all over the world in March 2015. Woodley’s character ‘Tris’ will pick up where she left off as the newest member of the ‘Dauntless’ faction.
Woodley began her career at the age of 5 when an agent recognized her potential and signed her in an instant and she has been working ever since. She cut her teeth in commercials and then earned her first TV role in the 1999 MOW "Replacing Dad," which starred two time Oscar® nominee Mary McDonnell.
Other roles include playing the lead character in the hit ABC Family series “The Secret Life of the American Teenager” for five years; the lead in the popular WB movie “Felicity: An American Girl Adventure,” which was produced by Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas and Julia Roberts; and recurring roles on “Crossing Jordan” (as a young Jill Hennessy), “The O.C.,” and “Jack & Bobby.” She also had a lead role opposite Ann Margaret and Matthew Settle in the TV movie “A Place Called Home.”
When she is not on set, Woodley spends as much time outdoors as possible thinking of ways she can help keep the environment beautiful and healthy for future generations.
EVA GREEN – Eve Connors
Described by Bernardo Bertolucci as "so beautiful it's indecent," Eva Green is one of the most intriguing actresses today. Born in Paris, she made her debut in Bertolucci's critically acclaimed The Dreamers, where she played the lead role of ‘Isabelle’. The film, set against the backdrop of the '68 Paris student riots, also starred Michael Pitt and Louis Garrel. Eva can currently be seen starring in the Sin City prequel Sin City: A Dame to Kill For. In this Eva stars as femme fatale ‘Ava Lord’ living amongst some of Sin City’s deadliest residents played by Josh Brolin, Mickey Rourke and Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Eva was most recently seen in Showtime’s adult drama series “Penny Dreadful.”The series created by John Logan is based on the original Penny Dreadful books of the 19th century, and sees Eva in the lead role of ‘Vanessa Ives’ alongside Timothy Dalton and Josh Hartnett. The show premiered in the US on 11th May. Eva was also recently seen starring in the lead role of ‘Artemesia’ in 300: Rise of an Empire, the prequel to the Warner Bros. epic 300. Another of Eva’s recent projects, thriller White Bird in a Blizzard, premiered at this year’s prestigious Sundance Festival. Eva plays ‘Eve Connor’, the mother or ‘Kat Connor’ (played by Shailene Woodley) in the story of a young woman's life thrown into chaos when her mother disappears. Last year Eva filmed western drama The Salvation in which she stars as ‘Madelaine’ alongside Mads Mikkelsen and Jeffrey Dean Morgan and will be released late 2014. 2012 saw Eva star in Tim Burton’s Dark Shadows playing ‘Angelique Bouchard’ opposite an all-star cast including Johnny Depp, Michelle Pfeiffer and Helena Bonham Carter.
Eva’s film credits are extensive. One of Eva’s most memorable roles remains that of ‘Vesper Lynd’ in the highly successful James Bond feature Casino Royale. Directed by Martin Campbell and produced by Barbara Broccoli and Michael Wilson (EON productions), the film’s story is based on Ian Flemming’s first novel about the 007 spy and introduced Daniel Craig in the title role.
Last year Eva starred as ‘Susan’ opposite Ewan McGregor in Perfect Sense, which was well received at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival. Eva also played lead character ‘Miss G’ in Cracks directed by Jordan Scott and also starring Imogen Poots and Juno Temple. Eva played ‘Rebecca’ alongside Matt Smith and Lesley Manville in Womb; and starred in Gerald McMorrow’s Franklyn. This film also featuringSam Riley and Ryan Phillippe, is a split narrative set simultaneously in contemporary London and in a future metropolis ruled by religious fervour.
In 2005, Eva made her Hollywood debut, as the female lead in Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven, in which she played ‘Sibylla’, opposite Orlando Bloom and Liam Neeson. This was followed up with a performance in Chris Weitz’s His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass. Eva played ‘Serafina Pekkala’, the queen of the witches, alongside Nicole Kidman, Daniel Craig and Dakota Blue-Richards. Eva’s other earlier film credits include Jean-Paul Salome's French-language film, Arsene Lupin Eva’s most prominent television credit saw her star as ‘Morgan’ in “Camelot”,an epic television adaptation of the classic Arthurian legend. The 10 part series aired in the UK on Channel 4 and was a big hit for Starz in the US.
Eva began her career on stage in 2001. She starred in “Turcaret” directed by Gerard Deshartes and “Jalousie en trios fax” directed by Didier Long, for which she was nominated for Les Molieres (2002) in the category ‘Revelation Theatrale Feminine’.
CHRISTOPHER MELONI – Brock Connors
Christopher Meloni was last seen co-starring as Mort with Josh Brolin, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Eva Green, and Mickey Rourke in Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, the sequel to 2005’s screen adaptation of Frank Miller's highly regarded graphic novel.
Meloni next stars White Bird in a Blizzard, based on the book of the same name by Laura Kasischke, with Shailene Woodley and Eva Green.
The Washington, D.C. native studied acting at the University of Colorado - Boulder before graduating with a degree in History. He worked in construction and as a bouncer before breaking into acting, studying his craft in New York with legendary teacher Sanford Meisner. His television breakout role was on “NYPD Blue,” opposite Kim Delaney. That led to being cast on HBO’s gritty landmark series “Oz,” playing the psychotic, bisexual serial killer, Chris Keller.
In 1999, he landed his starring role on the popular and long-running NBC series “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” with Meloni working in both series simultaneously until “Oz” ended its 6 year run in 2003. He continued on “Law & Order: SVU” for twelve seasons, earning an Emmy nomination for his performance as Detective Elliot Stabler. Meloni then returned to HBO in a pivotal arc as the head of the Vampire Authority, Roman, in Alan Ball’s wildly popular drama, “True Blood” and Julie Louis-Dreyfus’ trainer, Ray, in “Veep.” Meloni was last seen playing Jack Dunlevy, in the Fox comedy, ‘Survivng Jack’.
Meloni’s other big screen credits include Man of Steel, 42, They Came Together, Small Time, the Terry Gilliam films Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and Twelve Monkeys; the Wachowskis’ first film Bound; the romantic comedy blockbuster Runaway Bride, Nights in Rodanthe, and such cult favorites as Wet Hot American Summer, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, and its first sequel, Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. SHILOH FERNANDEZ – Phil
Shiloh Fernandez grew up in the small Northern California town of Ukiah. He moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting and continues to be one of Hollywood's rising stars. He is currently shooting We Are Your Friends, opposite Zac Efron, for Working Title, and will next be seen starring opposite Shailene Woodley in White Bird in a Blizzard, opening in October.
Fernandez co-wrote the independent drama/thriller Queen of Carthage, which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes, about an American drifter (Fernandez) who discovers a New Zealand singer and becomes obsessed with him. He also shot the independent thriller Return to Sender with Rosamund Pike and Nick Nolte, about a nurse (Pike) living in a small town who goes on a blind date with a man (Fernandez) who is not the person he says he is.
In 2013, he was seen in Zal Batmanglij's The East for Fox Searchlight, opposite Britt Marling and Alexander Skarsgård; Evil Dead for TriStar, opposite Jane Levy; and Syrup alongside Amber Heard and Kellan Lutz. He also starred in Deep Powder, which premiered at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival.
Additional credits include Catherine Hardwicke's Red Riding Hood, also starring Amanda Seyfried and Gary Oldman; Skateland for writer/director Anthony Burns opposite Ashley Greene, which premiered in dramatic competition at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and at the 2010 SXSW Film Festival; Cadillac Records for Sony/BMG opposite Adrian Brody, Beyonce Knowles and Jeffrey Wright; Gardens of the Night, alongside John Malkovich, Jeremy Sisto and Harold Perrineau; Deadgirl; From Within; and Red, opposite Brian Cox, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
On the television side, Fernandez had a recurring role on the hit CBS one hour drama “Jericho.” His additional television work includes “The United States of Tara” for Showtime, starring Toni Collette and produced by Steven Spielberg and Diablo Cody, as well as the popular CW series “Gossip Girl.” He also starred in the television movie “Crossroads: A Story of Forgiveness,” which earned him strong critical praise.
Fernandez currently resides in Los Angeles.
GABOUREY SIDIBE – Beth
Gabourey Sidibe was a student pursuing a degree in psychology when she was cast as the lead role “Precious,” in Lee Daniels’s film PRECIOUS: BASED ON THE NOVEL ‘PUSH’ BY SAPPHIRE.
For her role as ‘Precious,’ Gabourey received an Academy Award® and Golden Globe® nomination for Best Actress. Gabourey was awarded both The Film Independent INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD and the NAACP Image Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role. She also garnered Best Actress nominations from the Screen Actors Guild, Broadcast Film Critics, and British Academy of Film and Television Arts. The National Board of Review awarded her with the Breakthrough Performance Award and the Santa Barbara International Film Festival honored Gabourey with the Vanguard Award for “taking artistic risks and making a significant and unique contribution to film.”
About her breakthrough performance, renowned film critic Roger Ebert stated, “The film is a tribute to Sidibe's ability to engage our empathy. Her work is still another demonstration of the mystery of some actors, who evoke feelings in ways beyond words and techniques. She so completely creates the Precious character that you rather wonder if she's very much like her. You meet Sidibe, who is engaging, outgoing and 10 years older than her character, and you're almost startled. She's not at all like Precious, but in her first performance, she not only understands this character but also knows how to make her attract the sympathy of her teacher, the social worker -- and ourselves. I don't know how she does it but there you are.”
Gabourey most recently starred as ‘Queenie’ in FX’s wildly popular Golden Globe nominated series “American Horror Story: Coven” created by Ryan Murphy. She previously appeared in all four seasons of the Golden Globe nominated Showtime comedic series “The Big C” opposite Laura Linney. Gabourey was nominated for an NAACP Image Award for each of these roles.
Gabourey just completed filming Sacha Baron Cohen’s Grimsby for director Louis Leterrier and Sony Pictures. She previously starred in Universal’s action-comedy film Tower Heist opposite Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy for director Brett Ratner. Gabourey also made a standout cameo appearance in Martin McDonagh’s Seven Psychopaths. She previously appeared in Victoria Mahoney’s independent film Yelling to the Sky which premiered at Berlinale Film Festival.
Gabourey can next be seen in Gregg Araki’s White Bird in a Blizzard opposite Shailene Woodley, which premiered at Sundance 2014. Other upcoming films include the independent dark comedy Gravy opposite Sarah Silverman directed by James Roday; and Life Partners, which premiered The Tribeca Film Festival 2014.
In 2010, Gabourey had the distinct honor of hosting SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
THOMAS JANE – Detective Scieziesciez
Thomas Jane can next be seen White Bird in a Blizzard for director Gregg Araki, which premiered at Sundance in January 2014. Jane also starred on HBO’s critically-acclaimed comedy series “Hung” for which he was nominated for two Golden Globe® Awards. Recent film credits include Pawn Shop Chronicles, starring Paul Walker, Matt Dillon and Vincent D’Onofrio, LOL, a comedy starring Miley Cyrus, Ashley Greene and Demi Moore and I Melt With You starring Rob Lowe, Jeremy Piven and Christian McKay. He also had a cameo in Edgar Wright’s Scott PilgrimVs The World, and made his feature directorial debut on Dark Country, a psycho-noir he also starred in with Ron Perlman and Lauren German.
Among Jane’s previous film credits are: John Madden’s Kill Shot with Diane Lane and Mickey Rourke; Frank Darabont’s The Mist; Mutant Chronicles with John Malkovich and Ron Perlman; Marvel’s The Punisher in which he starred as Frank Castle, the titular character; Bronwen Hughes’s Stander the true story of Andre Stander, a South African police officer turned bank robber; 61*, the Emmy-nominated HBO film directed by Billy Crystal and co-starring Barry Pepper, in which he starred as legendary baseball hero Mickey Mantle; Original Sin with Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas; Renny Harlin’s Deep Blue Sea; Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line; and Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia and Boogie Nights.
Jane resides in Los Angeles.
ANGELA BASSETT – Dr. Thaler
Alluring audiences with emotionally tinged performances has been the signature of Angela Bassett. Her talent and abilities as an actress and executive producer in both television and film have garnered well-deserved respect and acclaim from peers and fans; proving her to be one of the industry’s premier leading ladies.
This Oscar Nominee and Golden Globe Winner recently received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries for her work as Marie Laveau in the hit FX series “American Horror Story: Coven.” She returns this season to film the carnival themed “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
This October, Angela will be seen in Gregg Araki’s WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD opposite Shailene Woodley, distributed through Magnolia Pictures. She recently completed work in London on the upcoming film SURVIVOR opposite Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson and Milla Jovovich for director James McTeigue; and will reprise her OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN role in the upcoming sequel LONDON HAS FALLEN.
Always expanding the many facets of her talents, Angela recently made her directorial debut with Lifetime’s film THE WHITNEY HOUSTON STORY; a biopic that will chronicle the loving and tumultuous relationship between Whitney Houston and Bobby Brown ABOUT THE FILMMAKERS GREGG ARAKI Director/Writer/Producer/Editor
Gregg Araki earned an MFA in Film Production from the USC School of Cinema/TV and a BA in Film Studies from UC Santa Barbara. His films have screened at the world’s most prestigious festivals including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, Venice, Toronto, New York, London and Deauville.
Araki has made 10 independent features including KABOOM (2011), SMILEY FACE (2007), MYSTERIOUS SKIN (2005), SPLENDOR (1999), NOWHERE (1997), THE DOOM GENERATION (1995), TOTALLY F***ED UP (1994) and THE LIVING END (1992).
ALIX MADIGAN-YORKIN – Producer
Alix Madigan-Yorkin produced WINTER’S BONE, directed by Debra Granik and starring Jennifer Lawrence, which was the winner of The Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic feature at the Sundance Film Festival in 2010. She was nominated for an Academy Award in 2011 for best picture for WINTER’S BONE and the film received three other nominations. It also won The Gotham Award for Best Picture and won two Independent Spirit Awards.
Alix most recently produced LAGGIES, starring Keira Knightley, Sam Rockwell and Chloe Moretz and directed by Lynn Shelton and WHITEBIRD IN A BLIZZARD, starring Shailene Woodley and directed by Gregg Araki, both of which premiered at Sundance in 2014 and will debut later in 2014. Also, she produced MAY IN THE SUMMER which was in the Dramatic Competition at The Sundance Film Festival in 2013 and starred Hiam Abbass, Bill Pullman and Alia Shawkat, directed by Cherien Dabis, which will be released July, 2014. She is in post on THE AUTOMATIC HATE, directed by Justin Lerner.
She has served in various producing capacities on films such as the cult comedy SMILEY FACE, directed by Gregg Araki and starring Anna Faris, MARRIED LIFE, directed by Ira Sachs and starring Rachel McAdams and Pierce Brosnan, CLEANER, directed by Renny Harlin, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Ed Harris, Neil LaBute’s YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS, starring Ben Stiller and Natassja Kinski, CASE 39, directed by Christian Alvert, starring Renee Zellweger and GIRL MOST LIKELY starring Kristen Wiig and Annette Bening and directed by Shari Berman and Bob Pulcini, which was released in July, 2013.
Alix’s first produced movie was SUNDAY, directed by Jonathan Nossiter, which won The Grand Jury Prize for best dramatic feature and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award in the 1997 Sundance Film Festival.
Currently, Alix is a staff producer for Anonymous Content, a multimedia company based in Los Angeles. She has served at various companies before her current position at Anonymous Content, including Propaganda Films, Skouras Pictures and Avenue Entertainment. She serves on the board of Film Independent. She graduated from Dartmouth College and has an M.B.A. from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania.
PAVLINA HATOUPIS - Producer
Pavlina Hatoupis is quickly making a name for herself in the indie world as a Producer to watch. Her recent credits include KABOOM (Cannes/Sundance 2011), LITTLE BIRDS (Sundance 2011), FLY AWAY (SXSW 2011), PERFECTION, NEW GUY, 3…2…1 FRANKIE GO BOOM (SXSW 2011), SASSY PANTS (SBFF 2012), MANIAC (Cannes 2013), WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD (Sundance/Deauville 2014) THE PYRAMID and I-LIVED. Her TV credits include Tyrant (FX); The Spoils of Babylon (IFC), Funny or Die Presents (HBO) and Homeland (Showtime).
SÉBASTIEN K. LEMERCIER – Producer
Sébastien K. Lemercier has produced both French- and English-language feature films over the last decade in his partnership with Why Not Productions. Lemercier started working with James DeMonaco in 2002, developing and executive producing Jean-François Richet’s remake of John Carpenter’s Assault on Precinct 13. Before embarking on The Purge, Lemercier produced DeMonaco’s directorial debut, Staten Island New York, which starred Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio and Seymour Cassel. He also produced Gregg Araki’s Kaboom and White Bird in a Blizzard, which starred Shailene Woodley and Eva Green.
PASCAL CAUCHETEUX - Producer
Pascal Caucheteux along with Grégoire Sorlat founded Why Not Productions in1990, an independent producing entity dedicated to auteur cinéma. Loyalty to the director is at the core of the company’s philososphy. Therefore Why Not has stood by and built the crreers of Arnaud Desplechin (Kings and Queen, Jimmy P.), Xavier Beauvois (The Little Lieutenant, Gods and Men), Jacques Audiard (The Beat My Heart Skipped, A Prophet, Rust and Bone), Jean-François Richet (Assault On Precinct 13, Blood Father) and Gregg Araki (Doom Generation, Nowhere, Kaboom and White Bird in a Blizzard).
Why Not Productions has also worked many esteemed directors including Ken Loach, Claire Denis, Cristian Mungiu, Lou Ye and Claude Lanzmann.
SANDRA VALDE-HANSEN – Cinematographer
After seven years as a camera assistant and operator, Sandra Valde-Hansen pursued a full-time career as a cinematographer by attending the American Film Institute’s MFA program in Cinematography. While at AFI, Sandra honed her craft in the art of visual storytelling, learning from master cinematographers and deepening her knowledge of light and composition. She had the invaluable opportunity to mentor under Stephen Lighthill, ASC, Steven Poster, ASC, Larry Parker, and Alan Caso, ASC. Since graduating from AFI, Sandra has been able to take her passion of cinematography throughout all mediums of storytelling.
Sandra shot the last season of the very popular MUN 2 Reality show, THE CHICAS PROJECT, which brought Sandra across the country. Her camera has allowed her to be part of the political and socially conscience filmmaking of BRAVE NEW FILMS. The newly formed news channel Al Jazeera America will feature Sandra’s documentary camera work for a series titled THE AMERICAN DREAM PROJECT: DAISY & MAX directed by Sundance documentary veteran Jennifer Maytorena Taylor. She has traveled the world shooting, from Paris for the relaunched MTV House of Style to Mexico for PBS Voces “Tales of the Masked Men” co-produced by Latino Public Broadcast and ITVS. Some of her other clients include USC, MAX Films, TED, and Mastercard.
Sandra shot indie guru, Gregg Araki’s last two features. KABOOM was an official selection at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival, 2011 Sundance Film Festival and released in 40 cities around the US under IFC. Araki’s WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival will be released in the Fall 2014 through Magnolia Pictures. Her narrative work has been seen in festivals spanning across the world from SXSW to Cannes. Her films HELLO HERMAN, FLY AWAY, ACTS OF MERCY, and CHRISTMAS IN COMPTON are in limited release via VOD. Sandra continues to shoot powerful stories in the realm of independent narrative and documentary. Sandra is also a member of the AFI Cinematography Department faculty.
Shailene Woodley Kat Connors
Eva Green Eve Connors
Christopher Meloni Brock Connors
Shiloh Fernandez Phil
Gabourey Sidibe Beth
And Thomas Jane Detective Scieziesciez
Dale Dickey Mrs Hillman
Mark Indelicato Mickey
Sheryl Lee May
And Angela Bassett Dr Thaler CREW
A film by Gregg Araki
Based on the novel by Laura Kasischke
Written for the screen by Gregg Araki
Casting: Wendy O’Brien, CSA
Music: Robin Guthrie, Harold Budd
Music supervisor: Bruce Gilbert
Costume designer: Mairi Chisolm
Production designer: Todd Fjelsted
Director of photography: Sandra Valde-Hansen
Produced by Pascal Caucheteux, Sébastien K. Lemercier & Alix Madigan-Yorkin