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Written and directed by Shawn Christensen
We don’t get many cinematic one-man shows these days. Shawn Christensen takes up the challenge by writing, directing and starring in the new indie mind-screw, Before I Disappear. Though thin on plot and heavy on convulsions, there’s enough visual flair and wickedly-dark humor to reward your patience. Psychedelic-noir gets mashed-up with The Odd Couple, and it works a lot better than you might imagine.
Richie (Christensen) would love to kill himself, if only his damn telephone would stop ringing! Even though he just slashed his wrists and downed a bottle of pills, life won’t allow him the courtesy of a dignified death. He’s just about to throw his phone out the window when he gets a call from his estranged sister, Maggie (Emmy Rossum). She’s in a bind and needs Richie to watch her precocious 11 year-old daughter, »
- J.R. Kinnard
This year, Damien Chazelle took his award winning short film "Whiplash" and turned it into an acclaimed, awards contending feature length movie. And that's the same path Shawn Christensen has taken with "Before I Disappear." His 2012 short "Curfew" took home an Academy Award, and now he's arrived two years later with the full length version of that tale and today we have an exclusive clip. Starring Christensen himself, along with Ron Perlman, Emmy Rossum, and Fatima Ptacek, the story follows Richie, a depressed and suicidal young man, who suddenly is thrust into caring for his young niece, Sophia. And so begins their time together and a journey through Manhattan, though it isn't always smooth sailing. As you'll see in this scene, Sophia wants to know as much as possible about the man who's looking after her, much to Richie's chagrin. "Before I Disappear" is on VOD today and now playing in limited release. »
- Kevin Jagernauth
For all but the biggest cinephiles, the Academy Awards shorts categories can feel like a game of chance, seeking to throw off viewers’ shots at winning the office Oscar pool. Shawn Christensen’s “Curfew” picked up the prize for 2012 in live-action short, and his film has been expanded into the full-length “Before I Disappear.” The feature gains a few recognizable faces and roughly 80 minutes in the translation, while it loses some of its charms, proving that sometimes less is more. Depressed and deep in debt, Richie (Christensen) is in the midst of a suicide attempt when his estranged sister Maggie (Emmy Rossum) calls in a panic. She needs Richie to pick up her 11-year-old daughter Sophia (Fatima Ptacek) from a recital and keep an eye on her for a few hours. Richie reluctantly agrees, but a few hours turns into a day. Richie takes Sophia across New York City, sharing »
- Kimber Myers
The 90-minute expansion of an Oscar-winning short chooses art over heart, and lacks the emotional conviction of its progenitor. I’m “biast” (pro): enjoyed the short film this is based on
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
I have seen the source material (and I like it)
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
A few years ago, writer-director Shawn Christensen won the Oscar for Best Live-Action Short for his film “Curfew,” about a depressed young man (played by the filmmaker) whose suicide attempt is interrupted by a phone call from his estranged sister asking him to do some emergency babysitting of her nine-year-old daughter. The 19-minute short was blackly charming and deeply unsentimental in how it went about its tale of redemption and reconciliation. For this 90-minute expansion of the story, Christensen, alas, chose hallucinatory style over emotional conviction, and the result is far less satisfying; sometimes briefer is better. »
- MaryAnn Johanson
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
With yesterday's announcement of the live action short film finalists we have our finalists in all three of those miniature categories. You can read more about all of them on their Oscar chart. It's exciting to see how many debut filmmakers or people who've never been recognized before are in the running. Some of them are about to have a life-changing experience. Take Shawn Christensen who won the 2012 Live Action Short Oscar for Curfew. He's just taken that all the way to his first feature which is an expansion of that. It's called Before I Disappear and it hits On Demand And iTunes a week and some theatrical later I believe.
If the nominees don't have a life-changing moment -- it's hard to get a movie made period. Even if you've won awards -- they can at least have a glamorous one in the Dolby with all the movie stars. »
- NATHANIEL R
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 »
- email@example.com (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 »
- firstname.lastname@example.org (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
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 »
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