Since I'm currently in NYC, you may think the Derek I'm referring to is the stud starting shortstop/MVP candidate for the Yankees. Actually the Derek I want to mention is one Derek Cianfrance, winner of the Chrysler Film Project competition announced at this year's IFP Market. Some of you may remember his exceptional first feature, BROTHER TIED, winner of a 1998 Florida Film Festival Special Jury Award for Bold, Original Expression. He also won a cinematography award at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival for his work on QUATTRO NOZA, and contributed some photography to Jacob Septimus and Anthony Howard's B.I.K.E., the highly acclaimed doc feature that had its East Coast Premiere and second US showing after Slamdance at last year's FFF.
Back in '98 Derek was already talking about the next feature he was interested in doing, a project called BLUE VALENTINE. Well guess what? I think he can finally get started! On the strength of his terrific short film that he produced specifically for the contest--LATELY THERE HAVE BEEN MANY MISUNDERSTANDINGS--the man has won himself a one million dollar production deal from Chrysler and Silverwood Films. The five finalists had to use a Chrysler car in their films (like the BMW shorts a couple of years ago), and though they were all pretty entertaining, Derek's was clearly the cream of the crop. So major congratulations to a talented filmmaker and nice guy. Hopefully while we wait for the feature, more people will get a chance to see the short than just the contest judges and the few dozen in the audience at the Market screening of the finalists on Tuesday afternoon.