Americana-d. Zachary Shedd (USA 2016) This is a great new Neo-Noir feature which had its international premiere here in Montreal Sunday night. Writer-Director Zachary Shedd was present to lend some insight into the screening.
Alcoholic ex-editor Avery Wells (David Call) is drinking himself into a semi-stupor at his isolated cabin in the Nevada mountains. That’s until his longtime producer friend (Jack Davenport) shows up and drags him back to civilization.
As Avery dries out at his friends house, he realizes the real reason for his rescue. Avery’s actress sister (Kelli Garner) is starring in his friends latest production which has gone way over budget ,and is seemingly doomed to failure.
Can Avery save the film in he editing room, and stay sober enough to do it? Or will the sudden shooting of his sister turn him into a tragic sleuth;destined to follow clues that may be real or hallucinations. And lead to the same dead end he is all too familiar with in his own life.
This is a beautifully brooding character study, and noirish drama, wonderfully executed on numerous levels.
DOP: Justin Foster brings a wonderful eye to the San Fransisco Bay area,as well as the isolated cabin in the Nevada mountains.There is a wonderful scene of the lead character Avery talking to his estranged partner on the fog shrouded upper balcony of her San Francisco house.
Editor: Saela Davis does a great job of piecing the story together and Composer: Jeremy Turner has just the right modern sounds with echoes of crime films past to evoke the right mood for this film.
Watching Americana, I was reminded of some classic films, especially the great flick: The Lost Weekend;that featured Ray Milland as the alcoholic writer being chased by his addictions and demons.
And the isolated cabin had echoes of Robert Mitchum’s hideout in Out Of The Past, and Raymond Chandlers novel: Lady In The Lake.
But these were just some threads of motifs I recognized; this is a great original story work in the Neo-Noir genre. Well-written and directed by Zachary Shedd ,this is an impressive first film for Shedd , who had previously worked as a producer on: Hiding Your Smiling Faces and A Little Closer. I’ll leave you with a peak at the films teaser/trailer and a website link.
Oh, and another cool thing, this film was a direct result of a large kick-starter campaign:) The list of names of donors scrolled for quite a few moments…
I highly recommend this film. Americana tied with the Polish feature: Demon for my pick for top film at Fantasia Fest 2016. With Train To Busan close behind:)
I’ll be updating the blog over the rest of August with some more Fantasia films that I screened in Montreal, and I also hope to write a little in September about some movies from TIFF 2016 .. Stay tuned…