When “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” took home the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival this year, Desiree Akhavan was not on hand to accept the prize for her sophomore feature. The director had taped a thank you speech to be played at the festival’s awards Saturday night, but it was not broadcast due to technical difficulties. The reason for her absence was bittersweet; Akhavan was due back in London to resume work on another project, a television series for Channel 4 and Hulu with themes similar to her first feature, “Appropriate Behavior.”
For the series, which bears the working title “The Bisexual,” Akhavan re-teamed with her “Cameron Post” co-writer, Cecilia Frugiuele. The two women accepted the Grand Jury Prize together from the comfort of a couch in London.
“I’ve won one award in my whole life, I was ten years old and I was voted nicest camper,” Akhavan said. “Now that I’ve won my second award, the ego is starting to get to me.” Her joke didn’t quite land the way she planned, which is when Frugiuele chimed in: “This is such an incredible honor. We’re speechless and incredibly gutted not to be there.”
Based on the eponymous novel by Emily M. Danforth, “The Miseducation of Cameron Post” stars Chloë Grace Moretz as the titular character, a teen who is sent to a conversion therapy program after she is caught with a girl in the backseat of a car on prom night. An out bisexual, Akhavan explores themes of sexuality in her work, finding meaty conflict in the cultural pressures to conform, always with a healthy dose of humor.
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“I was raised on film and television, it was a third parent to me,” the director said. “But I grew up always wishing that that parent resembled me a little bit more, and I’m hoping that with this film we made something that speaks to the people you don’t usually hear about onscreen.”
Watch Akhavan and Frugiuele accept the award below.
“The Miseducation of Cameron Post” is currently seeking distribution.