June 14, 2004 — IFC Films to start production on AMERICAN GUN (working title). The film is currently in pre-production and principal photography will start July 15th. Aric Avelino makes his writing and directing debut on the project, which will be produced by Ted Kroeber. Forrest Whitaker will star and Executive Produce under his Spirit Dance shingle. Arlene Gibbs of Spirit Dance will Co-Produce.
Jonathan Sehring, Caroline Kaplan and Holly Becker will Executive Produce on behalf of IFC.
"This is a highly charged and relevant issue," stated IFC President Jonathan Sehring. "IFC is proud to support important, pointed material and has never shied away from doing so. Fahrenheit 9/11, which we are co-distributing, is opening this month and CSA: Confederate States of America, another provocative work, was picked up in Sundance and is slated for early next year. Avelino's script is along similar lines in terms of providing meaningful, insightful and relevant commentary on our times through the powerful medium of film."
"IFC has long fostered new talent," added Caroline Kaplan, Vice President of IFC Productions. "We are thrilled to work with Aric, a new voice of American Cinema. He has clearly put both his intellect and his heart into this premiere work."
"I'm aiming to make a powerful, topical movie that is large in scope, but independent in feeling, with characters who are more honest than we often meet in contemporary film. The people at IFC are really suited to this project. They know how to make it happen and I feel thrilled to have the opportunity to make my first film with them."
The film is a series of interwoven storylines focusing on how the proliferation of guns in America affects and shapes lives, often inciting dramatic shifts in both behavior and outlook. American Gun opens at the start of another day in a Virginia gun shop, where the owner continues to sidestep controversy while running the shop that he loves. His newest employee is his granddaughter, a college student pressured to spend a semester at the family business. Soon curiosity overwhelms, and she becomes seduced by the products she sells. Across the country we meet Janet, the single mother of a suburban high school shooter, struggling with painful questions during a heart-wrenching television interview. It is the shooting's third anniversary and her younger son is the same age as his brother when he carried out the terrible act before turning the gun on himself. Watching the interview intently is the middle-aged deputy still haunted by vicious accusations that he could have prevented the tragedy. A world away, on Chicago's gritty west side, we bear witness to the school principal's daily struggle to keep his violent inner-city high school from destructing, while his wife desperately fears for the safety of their young son. When an exemplary student is caught hiding a handgun, both principal and student find themselves facing decisions they never wanted to make.
IFC Films is a leading theatrical film distribution company bringing the best of independent and specialized films to theaters. Releasing approximately 10-12 films per year, IFC Films builds its slate of titles from an aggressive acquisitions program and selected in-house productions. Recent IFC Films include the 2003 Oscar®-nominated My Big Fat Greek Wedding, Alfonso Cuaron's Y Tu Mamá También, Richard LaGravenese and the late Ted Demme's documentary A Decade Under the Influence, Camp and Casa De Los Babys. Touching the Void, Kitchen Stories, Intermission, The Saddest in the Music in the World, This So-Called Disaster and Frankie and Johnny are Married are recent releases. Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, CSA: The Confederate States of America, and The Ballad of Jack and Rose (directed by Rebecca Miller and starring Daniel Day Lewis), are among the upcoming along with Fahrenheit 9/11 which IFC is co-distributing on June 25th, 2004.