INTERVIEW: Lodge Kerrigan Takes the Long Road, with Career and "Claire Dolan"
by Anthony Kaufman
Katrin Cartlidge stars in Lodge Kerrigan's second feature film, "Claire Dolan".
(indieWIRE/2.25.2000) -- Flashback to 1998: American independent film is hotter than ever, with
surprise sleepers like "Affliction" and "Gods and Monsters" gaining
momentum for the following year's Oscar show, and Sundance flicks "High
Art," "Next Stop Wonderland," "Buffalo 66" and "Pi" raising the artistic
and financial stakes of the young and the new. At Cannes that year, a
number of American filmmakers are running in the race for the Palme
d'Or: John Turturro, Todd Haynes, Hal Hartley, and up and comer Lodge
Kerrigan, the then 34-year-old director who shocked audiences with his
auspicious debut "Clean, Shaven," and returns with "Claire Dolan," the
meticulously lensed story of an immigrant call girl struggling in New
York, starring Katrin Cartlidge, Colm Meaney and Vincent D'Onofrio, and
financed by MK2, the French-based production company headed by Marin
The film screens, divides critics (mostly from the U.S.), and is not
heard from or seen again in the U.S. until the IFP's Independent Spirit
Awards nearly a year later, where it garners nominations for Best
Feature, Director, and Actress. Some are surprised; many have not even
seen the film, as distributors still remain shy; meanwhile, it's doing
reasonable business in foreign territories. The millennium passes us by
and Lodge Kerrigan's second film remains without States-side exhibition.
Then the Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Independent Feature
Project band together to form American Independent Visions, announcing a quarterly
series devoted to screening Amer-indies without distribution. The
dominoes begin to fall: New Yorker Films finally closes a deal, and now,
nearly two years after its first public screening, "Claire Dolan"
arrives in the U.S., opening tonight at the Film Society's Walter Reade
Theater, ready for a roll out via New Yorker, and proving that lack of immediate
acquisition doesn't mean the end of a film's life.
Kerrigan, who speaks in a deep and heavy tenor, recently talked with
indieWIRE's Anthony Kaufman about the current state of distribution,
global financing, politics, and the wait, the wait, the wait of making
indieWIRE: Why do you think it took so long?
Lodge Kerrigan: That's a hard question for me to answer.