Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Natural Selection: Details on Robbie Pickering, SXSW Narrative Feature Winner, Awards List

by Anne Thompson
March 16, 2011 7:34 AM
0 Comments
  • |
Thompson on Hollywood

The big SXSW winner this year was Robbie Pickering's Natural Selection, which not only collected the Narrative Feature Competition grand jury prize, two breakthrough acting awards, special prizes for screenplay, cinematography and editing, but the Audience Award as well. Producer Paul Jensen said at the awards ceremony Tuesday night: “We all know how difficult this independent filmmaking is. Robbie never gave up, and he never wavered from his vision."

At the awards party at Maggie Mae's, Pickering looked stunned. He'd been working on the film for six years, he said. The sense I got from the jury afterward was that nothing else came close to building a consensus. So who is this guy?

Here's the website: Natural Selection clip, plot synopsis, quotes from indieWIRE's interview with Pickering and full list of winners are below.

Thompson on Hollywood


The great dictator...


"As a kid, I remember making fake “James Bond” movies on a camcorder with my sister and a few friends. I’d always do multiple takes and it would inevitably devolve into me being a real asshole and telling everyone they weren’t doing it right. Then I would end up doing all the parts myself and giving my sister rigorous instructions on how to use the camera. I was probably seven or eight at the time. Since then, I’ve calmed down a little bit. I also learned how to write, which was important.  And I don’t act anymore, which is best for everyone."

Channeling real-life grief into film…


"I always wanted to do a film about my mother, who is a fairly religious housewife in Jersey Village, Texas. I’ve rarely seen a person like her portrayed onscreen in anything besides a totally satirical light, and I wanted to do her character justice. The problem for me was coming up with an emotional window into her story. Then, late one night I got a call from my mom telling me that her husband (my stepfather) had stage four terminal kidney cancer. I was immediately overtaken by the knowledge that, for the first time in her life, my mother would soon be alone. I channeled all of that anxiety and worry into an odd story about a woman who is faced with the prospect of loneliness and death for the first time and goes to great lengths to escape that reality. It was a kind of therapy for me. Of course, nobody would ever know that the whole thing is about my stepfather’s death by watching the film. Tonally, the picture is accurate in its depiction of the strange feeling of grief that accompanies any death - the death of a relationship, the death of a loved one - and the sense of rebirth that often follows."

Working with a shoestring budget…


"From the beginning, I didn’t want to make another mumblecore movie. Even though I had a shoestring budget and no time to shoot the thing, I still wanted the film to look like the movies I grew up with. So I spent a lot of time with the script and storyboarding the entire film on my own and with my DP. But I knew that we did all of the prep work just so that everyone could get on the same page prior to production. By the time we got to set, the storyboards were often thrown out, and the actors improvised a great deal. But because everyone’s vision of the film was fairly unified, we were able to be more economical and get higher quality work done in a shorter amount of time while maintaining the “happy accident” factor that so often makes an indie film come alive in a way that a studio picture can’t."

The perils of R.V.‘s…


"The first day our lead actress came on set, we had these R.V.‘s on loan from the town we shot in to serve as “trailers.”  Our lead actress stepped into her R.V. and immediately her foot went straight through the floorboard. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt. The next R.V. we brought for her had toilets that, shall we say, didn’t function. Still, she was a trooper and always bought the entire crew ice cream on Fridays."
 

Future aspirations…

"I’m always writing something new. I would actually love to do something with even less of a budget on an even more abbreviated time schedule. I know that sounds crazy to most people, but it sounds fun to me."


Movie Trailers - Movies Blog

Natural Selection Synopsis:


Linda White, a barren Christian housewife, leads a sheltered existence in suburban Texas. Her world is turned upside-down when she discovers that her dying husband, Abe, has a 23-year old illegitimate son named Raymond living in Florida. Somewhere on the edge of guilt and loneliness, Linda grants Abe's final wish and sets off on a quixotic journey to find Raymond and bring him back before her husband passes away. Along the way, Linda's wonderfully bizarre relationship with Raymond will teach her more about herself than she ever imagined possible and force her to come to terms with her troubled past.

The SXSW Award Winners:


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE

Best Documentary Feature
Dragonslayer
Director: Tristan Patterson

Best Editing
Where Soldiers Come From
Editors: Kyle Henry & Heather Courtney

Best Cinematography
Dragonslayer

Best Score/Music
The City Dark

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Best Narrative Feature
Natural Selection
Director: Robbie Pickering

Breakthrough Performances
Evan Ross: 96 Minutes
Rachael Harris: Natural Selection
Matt O'Leary: Natural Selection

Best Screenplay
Natural Selection

Writer: Robbie Pickering
Best Editing

Natural Selection
Editor: Michelle Tesoro

Best Cinematography
A Year in Mooring
Director of Photography: Elliot Davis

Best Score/Music
Natural Selection
Music By: iZLER, Curt Schneider

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Kumaré
Director: Vikram Gandhi

NARRATIVE FEATURE
Natural Selection
Director: Robbie Pickering

SPOTLIGHT PREMIERES
Becoming Santa
Director: Jeff Myers

EMERGING VISIONS
Weekend
Director: Andrew Haigh

NARRATIVE SHORTS
Pioneer
Director: David Lowery

DOCUMENTARY SHORTS - Programs 1 & 2
Mothersbane
Director: Jason Jakaitis

ANIMATED SHORTS
The Wonder Hospital
Director: Beomsik Shimbe Shim

MUSIC VIDEOS
Hollerado, "Americanarama"
Director: Greg Jardin

TEXAS SHORTS
8
Director: Julie Gould & Daniel Laabs

TIME WARNER CABLE & OVATION YOUNG FILMMAKER SCHOLARSHIP for TEXAS HIGH SCHOOL SHORT
( __ )
Director: Chad Werner

SXSW FILM DESIGN AWARDS

EXCELLENCE IN POSTER DESIGN
Silver Bullets
Designer: Yann Legendre

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER
Green
Designerr: Adrian Kolarczyk

EXCELLENCE IN TITLE DESIGN
Blue Valentine
Designer: Jim Helton

AUDIENCE AWARD WINNER
Blue Valentine
Designer: Jim Helton

SXSW WHOLPHIN AWARD

The Eagleman Stag
Director: Mikey Please

SXSW CHICKEN & EGG EMERGENT NARRATIVE WOMAN DIRECTOR AWARD
Green
Director: Sophia Takal

LOUIS BLACK / LONE STAR AWARD
INCENDIARY: The Willingham Case
Director: Steve Mims & Joe Bailey Jr.


0 Comments

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Why Weinstein Is Re-Releasing Summer ...
  • First Gurus 'O Gold Pre-Festival Top ...
  • Emmy Watch: As TV Enters the Future, ...
  • Emmy Awards: Lena Dunham Wins the Red ...
  • The Radical World of Avant-Garde Master ...
  • Participant Joins DreamWorks' Spielberg ...
  • AFI Directing Workshop for Women Makes ...
  • New York Film Festival's Projections ...
  • Judd Apatow, Lena Dunham and Norman ...
  • TV's Elisabeth Moss & Michelle Dockery ...