Coming off his 2005 feature “Mitchellville,” director John Harkrider now brings to the screen an autobiographical documentary about the real-life case of a girl’s rape in which his testimony was the deciding factor in the future of the rapist, Harkrider’s best friend. The film ultimately makes for a disheartening examination of the conscience-stricken struggle between staying loyal and doing the right thing.
What It’s About: A lifelong friendship is put to the test when one friend is arrested for rape and the other is called to testify as a witness for the girl.
So What It’s Really About: Forgiveness. Understanding. Getting over anger.
Tell us briefly about yourself. “All the Beautiful Things” is my second film. My first film was entitled “Mitchellville” and was at Sundance in 2005, where I placed on Variety’s
Top Ten list.
What was your biggest challenge in completing this film? “All the Beautiful Things” is the true story of how I betrayed my best
friend. It was very difficult to sit down next to him and talk about
why I told the girl to go to the police. And it was very difficult to
direct the film while dealing with both his emotions and mine. And
given how much time and money and effort I had invested in making the
film, I was terrified that we would just start punching each other and
the film would fall apart.
What do you want the Sundance audience to take away from your film? Hatred is a poison. The more you drink, the sicker you get. But you
have the power to make different choices and the power to change your life.
Have any films inspired you? I’m inspired by simple and beautiful stories about struggle and love.
The Bicycle Thief, 400 Blows, Murmur of the Heart, and Wings of Desire have all
What camera did you shoot on? Penelope 35mm.
What’s next for you? I love dark films with complex characters and aesthetically
beautiful settings, and I’d love to bring those qualities to a thriller.
Indiewire invited Sundance Film Festival directors to tell us
about their films, including what inspired them, the challenges they
faced and what they’re doing next. We’ll be publishing their responses
leading up to the 2014 festival. For profiles go HERE.