You may recognize Kara Hayward from Wes Anderson’s 2012 film “Moonrise Kingdom,” where she charmed as one half of the film’s star-crossed couple, Suzy Bishop. Since making her debut with one of the best filmmakers of the day, Hayward has kept the pedigree of her collaborators similarly high, landing roles in films by Kenneth Lonergan, Jim Jarmusch, and Jordan Peele. Now, she once again steps into the lead to lend her talents to Martha Stephens’ latest feature “To the Stars,” which was a crowd favorite at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and recently debuted an absorbing first trailer.
The synopsis from Sundance reads: “In a God fearing small town in 1960s Oklahoma, bespectacled and reclusive teen Iris endures the booze-induced antics of her mother and daily doses of bullying from her classmates. She finds solace in Maggie, the charismatic and enigmatic new girl at school, who hones in on Iris's untapped potential and coaxes her out of her shell. When Maggie's mysterious past can no longer be suppressed, the tiny community is thrown into a state of panic, leaving Maggie to take potentially drastic measures and inciting Iris to stand up for her friend and herself. Director Martha Stephens infuses the film with elements of the western genre to tell a deeper story, about women as outsiders in a time and place of repression and intolerance.”
“To the Stars” is the third solo feature from Stephens, whose previous micro-budget movies, “Passenger Pigeons” 2010 and “Pilgrim Song” 2012, both premiered at the SXSW Film Festival. In 2014, she worked with longtime friend Aaaron Katz “Gemini” to co-write and co-direct “Land Ho!,” which was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics and won the John Cassavetes Award at the 2015 Film Independent Spirit Awards.
Shannon Bradley-Colleary wrote the script.
Originally premiering in black and white, the trailer offers a glimpse at the 1960s small town setting in glorious vintage hues. It also teases performances by the impressive supporting cast, which includes Liana Liberato, Jordana Spiro, Shea Whigham, Malin Akerman, and Tony Hale.
Samuel Goldwyn Films will release “To the Stars” on VOD on April 24. Check out the engaging first trailer below.