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NEW THIS WEEK: More Sundance Class of ’06 Debuts, “Quinceanera” In The Spotlight

NEW THIS WEEK: More Sundance Class of '06 Debuts, "Quinceanera" In The Spotlight

Following last week’s release of “Little Miss Sunshine,” and ahead of next week’s opening of “Half Nelson,” the latest in a crop of films that debuted at this year’s Sundance Film Festival will open in U.S. movie theaters this weekend. But while Miramax will take one of its first acquisitions — “The Night Listener” — to nearly 1,400 screens this weekend, Sony Pictures Classics will debut its acclaimed indie, “Quinceanera” on eight U.S. screens this weekend. The film won both the dramatic grand jury prize and the audience award at the most important festival in the United States.

Made for just $400,000, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland‘s “Quinceanera” subtly tackles issues of racism, homophobia, and gentrification in a changing modern Los Angeles neighborhood. As Sony’s Michael Barker, Tom Bernard and Dylan Leiner said in a statement, when acquiring the movie back in March, “‘Quinceanera’ is that rare film that perfectly and gracefully captures the uniqueness of a culture while also reflecting on the evolution of our society. Done in such a profound and moving way, this film is immensely entertaining and we are extremely excited to be working with the skillful filmmakers Wash and Richard, to bring this picture to
audiences throughout the Americas.”

Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer at Sundance this year. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

On New Years Day last year, filmmakers Westmoreland and Glatzer sketched out the idea for a new film, they explained back in January at the film’s Sundance premiere. By the end of that day they had
already come up with a plot and characters. Two weeks later they pitched the idea to funders and began to consider cast for the movie, even before they had entirely locked financing into place. The film was written in three weeks and later shot in the same amount of time, on HD.

“In 2004 we were invited to our next door neighbor’s Quinceanera (which is a giant 15th birthday celebration for Latina girls). Once we stepped through the door, we were amazed at the elaborate ceremony taking place,” Westmoreland and Glatzer detailed in an indieWIRE interview. “We thought this would be a good subject for a film, but we didn’t think we would be the ones to make it. It was later on in 2005 when we were thinking about setting a drama in a gentrifying neighborhood that the whole idea resurfaced and rapidly took shape. We thought of it in January, wrote it in February, cast it in March and shot it in April.”

The directors filmed the movie within a mile of their home in Echo Park, in Los Angeles, weaving in a mix of storylines inspired by their lives and their changing neighborhood. “I wanted it to be a movie about acceptance,” explained Glatzer, after a Sundance screening.

THE LIST FOR THIS WEEK:

The Bridesmaid” (August 4), directed by Claude Chabrol. Distributor: First Run Features. Official website

My Country, My Country” (August 4), directed by Laura Poitras. Distributor: Zeitgesit Films. Official website

The Night Listener” (August 4), directed by Patrick Stettner. Distributor: Miramax Films. Official website

Quinceanera” (August 4), directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics. Official website

Shock To The System” (August 4), directed by Ron Oliver. Distributor: Regent Releasing. Official website

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