So here we are… if it feels like it's been a long journey from script to screen for Victoria Mahoney's Yelling To The Sky, it's because it has.
Welcome to indie filmmaking!
We first learned about it in 2009, and profiled the film on the old S&A website – almost exactly 3 years ago actually (November 3, 2009). This was about 3 weeks or so before one of the film's co-stars, Gabourey Sidibe's feature film acting debut, the heavily-debated Precious, would open in theaters in the USA, and there was much interest in what she would do next – questions about whether she could have a career in Hollywood (given her skin color and size – both antithetical to Hollywood's standards of beauty and femininity), what types of roles she'd be *allowed* to play, etc.
Her appearance in it seemed to initially overshadow the contributions of the film's talented young star, Zoe Kravitz (in a seemingly natural, strong, gritty, gutsy performance, and unlike anything you've previously seen her in, or expect to see her in), as well as its writer and director, the aforemention confident and courageous Victoria Mahoney.
And audiences around the world (the film screened internationally, premiering at the Berlinale early last year) have since come to recognize and applaud the abilities of both, as well as the entire talented, and in some ways invisible, ragtag group of actors and production crew, who invested plenty (and I'm not even talking about money) to see Yelling To The Sky realized.
It was in 2011 when I first saw the film, and, in short, loved it! I'll re-post my review of it after this, for those who haven't read it (this was over 1 1/2 years ago, so I imagine lots of you have not, since you may not have been readers of the site at the time).
It's a film that I'd say is more about the journey than the destination, as cliched as that might sound. It's what I'd call an immersive experience – less traditional 3-part story structure Hollywood studio (or even American indie) movie, and almost more of what I'd call stream-of-consciousness cinema, that stimulates almost all the senses, really placing the audience inside the movie – specifically, inside the lead character's head, as you experience the same life trials and triumphs that she does.
So prepare to be challenged – which is a very good thing, in my not-so humble opinion when it comes to cinema, especially as we're constantly bombarded with movies (especially Hollywood-style) lacking in spirit and courage.
And just like Precious did, I expect that Yelling To The Sky, given its raw content, will stir up some debate amongst audiences who see it; although, to be clear, it shares little with Lee Daniel's drama.
That long journey is coming to its end, as Yelling To The Sky opens in a multi-platform release (theatrical, cable VOD, digital download – via MPI Media Group) today, Friday, December 14, 2012, to hopefully be followed by a major market roll out.
In terms of theatrical, it opens in New York today, playing at Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, in Manhattan. And for those uptown, ImageNation's RAW SPACE, at 2031 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd in Harlem, will also run the film for a week.
Ideally, I'm sure many would prefer to see it on the big screen; but again, welcome to indie filmmaking and distribution! Not everyone who's interested in seeing it in a theatrical setting will. However, as noted, the film is available in other formats – like iTunes. In fact, I'm sitting at my laptop, with iTunes open, and looking right at it, in the movie section, where you can rent it and watch right now – just a few clicks away!
The point is, you've got options, so take advantage of whatever is available to you. I encourage you to visit the film's website at this link HERE for what all those options are.
The coming-of-age drama was produced by Mahoney, Billy Mulligan and Ged Dickersin, and stars Kravitz, Sidibe, Antonique Smith, Tim Blake Nelson, Jason Clarke, Yolonda Ross, and Shareeka Epps.
The synopsis again:
Kravitz stars as Sweetness O'Hara, an introspective and shy teenager who tries to blend into the crowded halls of her high school. But an increasingly complex home life and a growing threat at school soon carry her into a world of reckless ambivalence.
A Sundance Institute Screenwriters and Directors Lab selection, Mark Silverman Maryland Film Fellowship, and Annenberg Film Fellowship winner, Mahoney's Yelling To The Drama debuted at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2011, commencing its film festival circuit travels, attracting acclaim, and some controversy, along the way.
Watch the trailer below: