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You may not have heard of director Shawn Christensen, but there’s one thing you should know about him – he’s an Oscar winner. Back in 2013, the filmmaker bagged the Best Live Action Short golden statuette for Curfew. Embracing the Academy’s reception of his little movie, he took his victory as a sign that he should adapt the gritty drama into a feature. Now, one year later, the full-length version, retitled Before I Disappear, looks set to follow in the footsteps of the original.
Christensen’s updated take expands on the story we were first introduced to in the short. For those of you who’ve not had the chance to see it, you can get a good glimpse at what’s in store via the latest trailer. With a brilliant cast this time around, the movie follows a precocious 11-year old (Fatima Ptacek) who winds up in the »
- Gem Seddon
Day Two at the Port Townsend Film Festival heralded the arrival of legendary independent filmmaker, John Sayles. Screening his Academy Award-nominated film, Lone Star, Sayles comes armed with many stories of horror and inspiration from the indie frontlines. He notes that current “filmmaking has democratized incredibly,” becoming a land of opportunity for young (read: resource poor) filmmakers.
Several features made their debut, including, Noble, the real-life story of the slightly-crazy, Christina Noble. Writer-director, Stephen Bradley, gives us a fictionalized account of Noble’s courageous quest to help the street children of Vietnam. Also premiering was director, Yorgos Tsemberopoulos’ troubling meditation on vengeance, The Enemy Within. Incorporating current social themes in Athens, Greece, this film asks that age-old cinematic question, “How far would you go to protect your home and family?”
Part history lesson, part Ecology 101, Return of the River is an uplifting documentary about how hope and perseverance can sometimes undo past wrongdoings. »
- J.R. Kinnard
Like the intensely single-minded drummer Miles Teller plays in “Whiplash,” its writer-director, Damien Chazelle, did not arrive on the world stage unprepared. In fact, exactly one year before his white-knuckle feature won Sundance’s grand jury prize, the helmer had collected the equivalent trophy for his short film — a standalone version of the pic’s most intense scene.
It’s nothing new for an indie helmer to spin a well-received short into a feature. After all, that’s how both Wes Anderson (“Bottle Rocket”) and Paul Thomas Anderson (whose “Cigarettes & Coffee” became “Hard Eight”) got their start. But shorts are back in vogue as a showbiz calling card at a time when securing funding for independent films is more elusive than ever. Chazelle belongs to a recent wave of filmmakers — including SXSW breakout Destin Cretton (“Short Term 12”) and Oscar live-action short winner Shawn Christensen (“Curfew”) — who’ve discovered that »
- Peter Debruge
IFC Films has picked up North American rights to Shawn Christensen’s drama ahead of its international premiere in Venice. Separately, The Orchard has picked up Marshall Curry’s Tribeca-winning doc Point And Shoot.
IFC plans a November roll-out for the story of a down-at-heel man whose sister asks him to babysit his 11-year-old niece for the night. The film won the SXSW narrative feature audience award.
“Curfew [Christensen’s short film on which the feature is based] was only a glimpse at Shawn’s incredible talent, and we cannot wait to bring his fully realised vision to audiences nationwide,” said Sundance Selects/IFC Films president Jonathan Sehring. “Before I Disappear marks an amazing feature directorial debut.”
“Working with Shawn »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeremy Kay)
The film is based on Christensen’s “Curfew,” which won the 2012 Academy Award for live-action short film. It follows a man at the lowest point in his life who receives a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his eleven-year old niece for the evening. »
- Dave McNary
Shawn Christensen wrote, directed and stars in the pic, which had its world premiere at SXSW and won the Audience Award for narrative feature. IFC Films has snagged North American rights to Before I Disappear, in which a guy at a low point in his life gets a call from his estranged sister asking him to take his 11-year-old niece (Fatima Ptacek) for the night. Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Richard Schiff and Ron Perlman co-star in the film based on the 2013 short Curfew. Before I Disappear will have its international premiere in the Venice Days sidebar at the Venice […] »
Rome — The Venice Film Festival’s independently run Venice Days, modeled on Cannes Directors’ Fortnight, has unveiled its lineup of 14 pics unspooling in the official selection which sees known names screening alongside emerging helmers, including U.S. writer-director Shawn Christensen whose “Before I Disappear” (pictured) is making its international bow.
As previously announced, the out-of-competition opener is prolific South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s multiple murder thriller “One On One,” about the brutal rape and murder of a schoolgirl, which is launching internationally from the Lido after being released in South Korea.
The closer, also not competing, is “Messi,” a docu-feature portrait of hot Argentine soccer player Leo Messi, helmed by Spain’s Alex De La Iglesia and written by Jorge Valdano, a former prominent member of the Argentine team who went on to become a sports journalist as well as a manager and sports director of Spain’s Real Madrid club. »
- Nick Vivarelli
4 Minute Mile
Director: Charles-Olivier Michaud
Sales: Double Dutch Intl.
Director: Eran Creevy
A young American couple is caught between two ruthless criminals.
Sales: Im Global
Director: Shawn Christensen
Feature based on 2012 Oscar-winning short “Curfew,” about a man forced to look after his precocious 11-year-old niece. Market premiere.
Sales: Electric Entertainment
Director: A. J. Edwards
The story of Abraham Lincoln’s youth. Market premiere.
Sales: Electric Entertainment
Director: Tod “Kip” Williams
Producers: Richard Saperstein, »
- Variety Staff
To some, the sun-drenched, tourist-magnet city of Maitland, Florida may seem like an odd place for an art-house movie theater and film festival. Disney World is right around the corner, so who wants to go sit in a dark room and watch a John Cassavettes film? But, contrary to these misconception, Maitland does have a thriving movie-loving community: a thirsty, film-savvy coterie. The Enzian, the quirky single-screen theater in which the Florida Film Festival is rooted, and around which the local community has grown and thrived, acts as a sort of Mecca for Central Florida filmgoers. And this isn't a group of old people wearing flower-pattern shirts and flip flops with socks, to usurp another bias. A couple hundred people showed up at 11am to hear indie filmmaker Shawn Christensen talk about how he expanded his Oscar-winning short "Curfew," which played the Florida Film Festival in 2012, into a full-length feature, »
- Greg Cwik
The announcement comes as sales agents scramble to assemble fresh line-ups for the Croisette at a time when new product is thin on the ground.
Before I Disappear director Shawn Christensen based the film on his 2013 Academy Award-winning live action short Curfew and stars alongside Fatima Ptacek, Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley, Ron Perlman and Richard Schiff.
ICM Partners and Verve represent North American rights to the story of a man who must look after his niece on a night when he becomes embroiled in a fight between his two employers.
“We are absolutely thrilled to be representing Before I Disappear,” said Electric’s head of international distribution Sonia Mehandjiyska. “It’s a crowd-pleasing film with a great cast and wonderful performances and we at Electric look forward to bringing this award-winning »
- email@example.com (Jeremy Kay)
Fleshing out this feature-length film from his Oscar-winning short film, Curfew (2012), writer-director Shawn Christensen's Before I Disappear is by no means an enjoyable experience, because -- well -- suicide is certainly not the most joyful of subjects. This is very much a mood piece that is intended to transport the audience into the piss-filled gutter of Richie's worthless existence. While Christensen seems to enjoy wallowing in the pervasive ugliness of Richie's life, fleeting moments of magic realism hint at a possibility of a life that could become more vibrant and cheery. (A hauntingly surreal hallway party scene set to David Bowie's "Five Years" and a bowling alley dance sequence choreographed to Goodnight Radio's "Sophia So Far" are the film's strangest -- maybe even strongest -- moments.) Richie's destiny has already been set in motion and there is only one possible outcome for this story, so to expect any »
- Don Simpson
Earning more points for visual panache than emotional truth, writer-director-star Shawn Christensen’s “Before I Disappear” chronicles one long, dark night of the soul for a suicidal screw-up whose need for salvation could only have been made more obvious if the filmmakers had forced him to drag a deadweight behind him the whole time. Which, in a manner of speaking, they have: From the moment our tortured hero gets saddled with a hyper-precocious niece who has a thing or two to teach him about love, responsibility and family, this pseudo-gritty descent into a shady New York underworld reveals its soft, contrived center. Too overwrought to really convince or resonate, yet assembled with enough flair to work as a solid calling card for its debuting helmer, this feature-length expansion of Christensen’s Oscar-winning 2013 short, “Curfew,” should continue to make festival inroads after its audience-award win at SXSW. Theatrical prospects look niche-y. »
- Justin Chang
Given the subarctic winter we've been experiencing in the Northeast this year, South by Southwest (SXSW), which takes place annually in balmy Austin, Texas, was something we were looking forward to even more than usual. Warm weather, spicy Mexican food, and the hottest movies imaginable all added to create a thoroughly thawing experience.
There wasn't a single Omg-you-have-to-see-this movie like there was last year, when "Short Term 12" made its debut, but the festival's lineup was quietly powerful, full of movies that were easy to miss, but at your own peril. There were a handful of loud, shout-y debuts, but some of those missed the mark completely, leaving room for the smaller movies to reach in and steal my heart.
So, a rundown of all of the movies we saw at SXSW -- some were odious, some were wonderful, but all of them we were very happy to watch... and »
- Drew Taylor
The Sting Called Love: Christensen’s Debut Rife with Melodramatic Cliché
Shawn Christensen, who won an Academy Award for his 2013 short film, Curfew, expands his award winning triumph to feature length with Before I Disappear. Something gets a little lost in the translation, however, in this tale about a vagabond hipster loser who actually inspires less empathy the more time we experience his dilemma on screen. It takes the right blend of melancholy personality to strike the correct balance of the loveable, love-struck loser (i.e., Joaquin Phoenix in Her) and Christensen, who casts himself in the lead, doesn’t feel quite right, though character and narrative development are partially to blame for the ambivalence as well. It’s a tale that requires a strong, emotional component to be successful, and its glaring absence only becomes more and more apparent as it shuttles us off into the vacuum of the hopeful ending. »
- Nicholas Bell
SXSW Film Festival Audience Awards have been announced, with Before I Disappear winning the award in the Narrative Feature Competition and DamNation earning the audience award in Documentary Spotlight.
SXSW announced the Audience Award-winners from the Narrative Feature Competition, Documentary Feature Competition, Narrative Spotlight, Documentary Spotlight, Visions, Midnighters, Episodic, SXGlobal, Festival Favorites and Design Award categories. The Audience Award for 24 Beats Per Second will be announced on Monday, March 17.
Before I Disappear, which won the audience award from the Narrative Feature Competition, came into SXSW with a fair amount of momentum. Directed by Shawn Christensen, the character study is based off his Oscar-winning short film, Curfew. The movie stars Christensen as Richie, a depressed man who is forced to take care of his eleven-year-old niece, Sophia (Fatima Ptacek). Before I Disappear also stars Emmy Rossum (Shameless), Paul Wesley (The Vampire Diaries) and Ron Perlman (Sons of Anarchy).
Congrats to the »
Ron Perlman saw a glimpse of his future in Shawn Christensen's “Curfew,” an award-winning short the former musician wrote, starred in and directed. “The short had me from the first frame all the way to the last,” Perlman told TheWrap last weekend at South by Southwest, where “Before I Disappear,” Christensen's feature based on the short, premiered. “It was as perfect a film as I'd ever seen, and I've seen a few dozen films. It went from being ‘will you do this?’ to ‘What do I gotta do to work with this guy?” See photos: SXSW: Inside TheWrap and Indiegogo's Live. »
- Lucas Shaw
I managed to screen 14 movies in four days at the South By Southwest film festival this year. Two were fantastic. Most were great. Some were below average. And only one of the bunch was downright unwatchable. Somehow, the worst film I screened managed to win the top Audience Award, which was announced Saturday afternoon in Austin. That would be Shawn Christensen.s Before I Disappear, an insufferable redemption drama written by, directed by and starring Christensen. A triple threat in every sense of the word, Christensen plays a suicidal loser roped into helping his alienated sister (Emmy Rossum) as she deals with her own legal problems. The feature length film is an expansion of Christensen.s Oscar-winning short, Curfew. I have no idea what people see in this concept. Richard Schiff, Fatima Ptacek and the usually great Ron Perlman . who also snoozed through the similarly disappointing 13 Sins at SXSW . co-star. »
Shawn Christensen’s Before I Disappear was named the audience award winner in the narrative feature competition at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Based on Christensen’s Oscar-winning 2012 short film Curfew, Disappear stars the writer-director as a man, hitting a low point, who is asked to look after his 11-year-old niece. In the documentary feature competition, the audience award winner, also announced today, was Diana Whitten’s Vessel, a portrait of abortion activist Rebecca Gomperts. Diego Luna’s Cesar Chavez, a drama about the famed labor organizer, which Lionsgate and its Pantelion Films are releasing theatrically March 28,
- Gregg Kilday
Shawn Christensen has conquered South by Southwest just one year after he won an Oscar. Christensen's “Before I Disappear,” a feature length film based on his Oscar-winning short “Curfew,” won the audience award for Best Narrative Feature Saturday at the Austin-based festival. Christensen stars in the film alongside 14-year-old Fatima Ptacek, both of whom reprised their roles from the short. The Oscar enabled the former musician to recruit a stellar cast for his feature debut, including Emmy Rossum, Paul Wesley and Ron Perlman. The film chronicles a depressed young man who must look after his niece for a few hours. »
- Lucas Shaw
“Vessel,” Diana Whitten’s film about a pro-choice activist, received a special jury recognition for political courage in the documentary competition earlier this week in addition to today’s documentary feature prize.
“Before I Disappear,” which Christensen starred in, wrote and directed based on his Oscar-winning 2012 short film “Curfew,” won in the narrative feature competition, while “Cesar Chavez,” a drama about the titular labor organizer, took the award in the narrative spotlight category.
Prizes were also given in the documentary spotlight (“DamNation”), visions, midnighters, episodic, SXGlobal, festival favorites and design categories. The 24 Beats Per Second category will be announced on Monday following Saturday screenings.
Additional showings have been scheduled on Saturday — the final day of SXSW Film – for all audience award winners. »
- Maane Khatchatourian
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