By Barry Ray
Seven alumni of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts made a film that was just selected by international film critics to screen at the 49th Cannes Critics’ Week, one of the world’s most prestigious film competitions.
“The Myth of the American Sleepover,” a dramatic comedy, was one of seven feature films worldwide — and the only one from North America — selected for the highly lauded program at Cannes. In fact, “Myth” becomes the first American film invited to screen during Cannes Critics’ Week since 2005.
“The Myth of the American Sleepover” tells the story of four young people looking for love and adventure on the last weekend of summer in suburban Detroit. The movie has received rave reviews; The Hollywood Reporter called it “a beautifully rendered tale of teen angst.”
“We are so proud of this young team of Florida State filmmakers,” said Frank Patterson, dean of the College of Motion Picture Arts. “Our graduates have a reputation for sticking together and extending their intense teamwork in film school to their feature film work in the industry. So it’s no surprise to us that all of the major creative roles on ‘Myth’ — from director to editor — were filled by former classmates at Florida State.”
Film School alumni who created “The Myth of the American Sleepover” include writer-director David Mitchell (MFA ‘02); producers Adele Romanski (BFA ‘04), Justin Barber (BFA ‘03) and Cherie Saulter (BFA ‘06); cinematographer James Laxton (BFA ‘03); and editor Julio Perez IV (MFA ’02). And in front of the camera, Brett Jacobsen (MFA ‘03) gave a critically praised performance as the character Scott Holland.
Remarkably, this is the fourth feature film made by teams of Florida State graduates that has earned industry accolades over the past year. “The Taqwacores,” directed by Eyad Zahra (BFA ’04), and “The Freebie,” produced by “Myth” producer Adele Romanski (BFA ’04), both premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival to rave reviews and distribution deals. Writer-director Barry Jenkins (BFA ’03) landed on the cover of Filmmaker magazine last year for his feature “Medicine for Melancholy,” a critically acclaimed film made by a team of six Florida State graduates and distributed theatrically and on-demand by IFC.
“This latest honor by Cannes is a shining example of how the college is fulfilling the mission given to us by the Florida Legislature to prepare men and women for successful careers in the motion picture industry,” Dean Patterson said.
“The Myth of the American Sleepover” made its debut in March at the SXSW Film Festival in Austin, Texas, where it took home a Special Jury Award. Kate X Messer of the Austin Chronicle described the film as a “last-night-of-summer ode” that is “sweet and sticky and frisky and true to the awkwardness of adolescence, but with a healthy dose of tenderness.”
Like the Directors’ Fortnight, the Cannes Critic’s Week is a prestigious sidebar to the Cannes Film Festival, one of the world’s oldest and most important festivals. Critics’ Week showcases only first and second feature films by directors from all over the world for the purpose of discovering new talents. Other competitors in the feature film category include filmmakers from France, Sweden, Denmark, Singapore, Vietnam and South Korea.
One of the youngest and most prominent film schools in the nation, Florida State’s College of Motion Picture Arts has been recognized by the Directors Guild of America for its “distinguished contribution to American culture through the world of film and television.”
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