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Tribeca Takes So Yong Kim’s ‘For Ellen,’ with Paul Dano, Jon Heder & Jena Malone

Tribeca Takes So Yong Kim's 'For Ellen,' with Paul Dano, Jon Heder & Jena Malone

Writer-director So Yong Kim’s “For Ellen,” which premiered at Sundance, goes to Tribeca Film for North American distribution. The film opens September 5 at NYC’s Film Forum, followed by a limited theatrical and VOD release. Paul Dano plays a rock star who unknowingly gives away custody of his six-year-old daughter when he signs divorce papers from his estranged wife. Jon Heder and Jena Malone co-star. 

Variety calls the film “deeply sad and touching,” while THR is less enthusiastic.

Tribeca’s Geoff Gilmore states: “With a subtle, understated approach, esteemed director So Yong Kim [“Treeless Mountain,” “In Between Days”] has made a film that is both deeply moving and deeply resonant. Fueled by a remarkable performance by Paul Dano and delicately directed by Kim, we couldn’t be more excited to share this very special story about a father trying to connect with his young daughter.”

The complete synopsis is below:

Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano- THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) has wanted nothing more than to “make it”, having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success.  In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva- “Revenge,” “How To Make It In America”) in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo).  With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder- NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone- INTO THE WILD) that represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation.
FOR ELLEN stems from Kim’s desire to understand her own father, and an imagined confrontation if he ever returned to her. Using the stark beauty and vast farmlands of an American winter as its backdrop, the film charts Joby’s emotional journey as he realizes what he has lost – and what, if anything, can still be saved.

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