Special Screening of "The Myth of the American Sleepover" - LA (June 30, 2011)
The Myth of the American Sleepover
(USA 2010, 93 mins - Red One Camera)
Directed By: David Robert Mitchell
Producer: Adele Romanski
Screenwriter: David Robert Mitchell
Cinematographer: James Laxton
Editor: Julio Perez IV
Music: Serena Keller Undercofler
Production Designer: Jeanine Nicholas
Art Director: Messina Toland
Cast: Claire Sloma, Marlon Morton, Amanda Bauer, Brett Jacobsen, Nikita Ramsey, Jade Ramsey, Annette DeNoyer, Wyatt McCallum, Mary Wardell, Doug Diedrich, Dane Jones, Shayla Curran
Synopsis: Four young people navigate the suburban wonderland of metro-Detroit looking for love and adventure on the last weekend of summer.
Watch the trailer
This is an intimate and gentle coming-of-age drama. "Sleepover" deals with humor and sexuality in a very subtle way. There is no violence, shocking scenes or explicit references to religion. Yet, the film still works because it focuses on simple things like loneliness, falling in love and first kiss anxiety. "Sleepover" evokes a dream like quality and oddly enough no one gets into any trouble. It aims at showing the "real" or "hidden" life of the American teenager to the rest of the world. They seem like normal and well-adjusted teenagers who go through their rebellious phase. It is all about slumber parties, sleepovers and pool parties where teens relax, hang out, and have fun. The film had its world premiere at the SXSW Film Festival and won a special jury prize for Best Ensemble Cast. It was also presented at the Critic’s Week in Cannes and has been extremely popular among its European audience.
This is David Robert Mitchell's first full-length feature film. He wrote the script based on his own experiences growing up in Detroit. He states that he has used the spine of ‘American Graffiti’ in this film. Yet, "Sleepover" is different in many ways. It had a documentary feel to it and featured a cast composed entirely of first-time actors. British twins Jade and Nikita Ramsey are among the few professional actors. The local kids bring their own sense of personalities which makes the film real and believable. The atmosphere is VERY laid back and dialogues are simple and straightforward. The plot is deliberately simple and not an intellectual tease. Claire Sloma (Maggie) stands out and performs a memorable and sensual dance scene. She steals the show and a star is born. Claire has won the best actress award at the 2010 Belfort Film Festival in France and the 27th Mons International Love Film Festival in Belgium.
This is an independent, low-budget feature shot using Red Digital Camera. There are no major surprises and everything falls in line with expectations. It's all done tastefully and elegantly. The film achieves it's ultimate goal. It's thought provoking and one gets a fresh and honest look at teen life in America. The parade scene (similar to Ferris Bueller's Day Off) promotes the uniqueness of American culture and sense of community. The Writer/Director intentionally omits violence in the film and one could argue that the main goal of the film is to clarify and improve the lousy American image abroad. I might wish there was more overt humor and sexuality (pillars of mainstream cinema) in the film, but the director stresses subtlety over everything else. Mitchell uses his characters to show American virtues and flaws at the same time. Thus it is an authentic depiction of youth culture. It's noteworthy to mention that the producers have confiscated the high-tech gadgets (laptops, iphones, etc.) that teens seem to love. The timeless setting could be anywhere from the seventies to the present in North America. Watching "The Myth of the American Sleepover" makes you feel like you're 16 again which is truly a wonderful feeling.