Sam Handel

adam driver archangel

This is another edition of Short Starts, where we present a weekly short film(s) from the start of a filmmaker or actor’s career. Even though he’s only in the film for a few minutes, Adam Driver is one of the most talked-about actors in the Coen Brothers’ Inside Llewyn Davis. Of course he is, because when he’s on screen you can’t look at anything else. It’s that combination of rugged handsomeness and gigantic freakishness that captures your attention, and a lot of it has to do with our familiarity with him being almost solely from his role on Girls. This year he also got to break out a little more with Frances Ha, but he’s still fairly new to acting, having been a United States Marine just over a decade ago. Really, he’s had a fast rise to a scene stealing bit part in a Best Picture hopeful (and I might actually be referring to last year’s Lincoln, or maybe the previous year’s J. Edgar?), since he only graduated from Julliard in 2009. It was that year that he scored his first screen credit in an episode of The Unusuals. In 2010, he acted in a pilot for an HBO series called The Wonderful Maladys, which wasn’t picked up. But he did wind up on the channel with the movie You Don’t Know Jack, his first feature. Not his first film, though. That would be a short that debuted a few months earlier titled Archangel.

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Welcome to Pine Hill, the first feature film from Keith Miller, has won the Grand Jury Sparky Award for Feature Narrative at Slamdance. The film focuses on former drug dealer Shannon (Shannon Harper) who now works as a bouncer when the sun goes down and a claims adjuster when the sun comes up. In this verite-style offering, Shannon receives a bit of life-changing news that sets him on a path to confront the past and contemplate his future. As you can see in the scene above, there’s something obviously compelling about the delivery and the style. It’s enough to make nerve endings tingle and the brain start thinking about fight or flight. Simple, yes, but effective. The story behind the film is also fascinating. Director Miller and star Harper met when Miller was walking his dog in New York and an angry Harper approached him claiming that it was his dog. After a huge shouting match, they realized that it was Harper’s dog – a puppy he had previously lost. The next day they met so that Miller could pay him for the animal and could toss out the idea that they make a film together. A short was born, and so was their working relationship. They accidentally shared a dog, and now they share a victory. Here are the rest of the winners from Slamdance this year – emerging artists truly worth keeping an eye on. The Slamdance pedigree alone ensures that there’s some truly interesting work going on […]

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published: 12.17.2014
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published: 12.15.2014
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published: 12.12.2014
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published: 12.05.2014
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