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BAMCinemaFest: Ry Russo-Young Talks Creating Complex Characters & Collaborating With Lena Dunham For 'Nobody Walks'

Photo of Cory Everett By Cory Everett | @modage June 21, 2012 at 12:07PM

With BAMcinemaFest kicking off this week, New Yorkers who didn’t get the chance to attend Sundance, Cannes or SXSW this year will have a opportunity to sample the best of both fests alongside other cinematic special events. The lineup includes festival favorites “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Compliance,” and “Nobody Walks" among many more (check out the full lineup here). And while the latter hasn’t generated quite as much buzz as some of the other entries just yet, we called it “a sensual, emotionally complex film” and “one of the best at [Sundance.]” The third feature from writer/director Ry Russo-Young centers on a young New York artist who comes to stay with a Los Angeles family while she completes her short film and ends up affecting the lives of each family member.
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Ry Russo BAM

With BAMcinemaFest kicking off this week, New Yorkers who didn’t get the chance to attend Sundance, Cannes or SXSW this year will have a opportunity to sample the best of those fests alongside other cinematic special events. The lineup includes festival favorites “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” “Compliance,” and “Nobody Walks" among many more (check out the full lineup here). And while the latter hasn’t generated quite as much buzz as some of the other entries just yet, we called it “a sensual, emotionally complex film” and “one of the best at [Sundance].” The third feature from writer/director Ry Russo-Young centers on a young New York artist who comes to stay with a Los Angeles family while she completes her short film and ends up affecting the lives of each family member. The ensemble includes John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, Justin Kirk, India Ennenga and Dylan McDermott and features a sharp script by Russo-Young and “Girls” creator Lena Dunham, which we suspect will help draw attention to the film as the fall release date nears.

The film will screen this Saturday at BAM followed by a Q&A with Ry Russo-Young along with actresses Olivia Thirlby and India Ennenga and co-writer Lena Dunham. The Playlist had a chance to speak to Russo-Young recently about collaborating with Dunham, her musical and filmic influences and writing characters who have the best intentions even when they’re doing terrible things.

Describing the origins of the film, Russo-Young said she had a desire to do something different from her previous film, the mostly improvised indie drama “You Won’t Miss Me.” “I had just made ‘You Won’t Miss Me’ and it was so much inside one character’s head for half the movie, with voiceover narration and seeing her thoughts. And I really wanted to fracture the perspective and show different characters and have your allegiances change with different people. That was one of the goals going in, almost as a reaction to the last thing I had done. And I knew that’s something that Lena [Dunham, co-writer] could do so well,” she said, describing the now-infamous writer/director/star of HBO’s lightning rod “Girls.” Fans of that series should recognize Dunham’s voice present in the screenplay which features more character-based comedy than Russo-Young’s earlier work.

This article is related to: Ry Russo-Young, BAMcinematek, BAMcinemaFest, Nobody Walks, Interviews


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