|NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYSINTERVIEW|
Oscar-winning producers Barry Jenkins and Adele Romanski re-team for Eliza Hittman's timely tale of the challenges that face a teenage girl as she seeks an abortion.
As theaters shuttered across the nation amid the coronavirus pandemic, the filmmakers of Never Rarely Sometimes Always had a tough decision to make - wait to release the movie when theaters reopen, or release the film on digital platforms to capitalize on an audience confined to their homes.
Ultimately, for Adele Romanski and Barry Jenkins, who produced the film under their Pastel Productions banner, the story about a teenage girl's journey to get a safe and legal abortion was resonant with the current state of women's reproductive health in America, and so they, along with writer-director Eliza Hittman and distributor Focus Features, opted to release the film on VOD platforms.
"What we do know is that we have a film that's very urgent right now," Romanski tells The Hollywood Reporter. "There continues to be a war on women's health and certain states saying abortions are non-essential medical procedures in response to COVID-19, so we know we have a film that matters."
Written and directed by Hittman Beach Rats, It Felt Like Love and made for under $3 million, Never Rarely Sometimes Always is the story of the teenage Autumn, played by first-time actor Sidney Flanigan, who decides to travel with her cousin Skylar Talia Ryder from her rural Pennsylvania town to New York City to get an abortion. The film delves into the real challenges that the two girls face within the medical system and an unfriendly big city.
The film debuted at Sundance Film Festival this year, where it won a special jury award, and then went on to win the Silver Bear prize at the Berlin Film Festival in February. The film was slated to hit theaters on March 13, but with theaters closing down, it was released on demand on April 3.
"We all believe we have a very powerful piece of art and a very captive audience sitting at home," says Jenkins. "The movie's rated PG-13 and it's really powerful because there's all these kids sitting at home right now trying to figure out what to watch, and while they're doing that, there's states all across the country saying that an abortion is not an essential procedure."
Jenkins and Romanski talked to THR about how Hittman tackled highly politicized issue of abortion with nuance, the biggest production challenges and the decision to bring the film to home screens early.
How did your collaboration with Eliza Hittman come about?
Romanski: We had been fans of Eliza's work since It Felt Like Love, which also debuted at Sundance, and stuck up a friendship as one does on the festival circuit and when we were coming together years later and forming Pastel and thinking about who were the kinds of artists and filmmakers we wanted to...
In response to the COVID-19 crisis, Vice TV has ordered Shelter in Place with Shane Smith, a new half-hour weekly interview show hosted by the Vice Media Group founder. It’s set to premiere Thursday, April 9 at 10 PM with two back-to-back episodes.
In the series, produced through remote video interviews from Smith’s home in Santa Monica, Smith will tackle the biggest questions of the moment with experts from the fields of science, journalism, entertainment, food and economics.Vice Media
“I'm at home, you're at home and our news cycle is changing by the minute,” said Smith. “So, I decided to dial up some of the world's foremost thinkers to offer us some much needed perspective and get to some truth on what we should be doing in this time like none other.” You can watch a preview clip below.
Smith’s first guest will be whistleblower Edward Snowden, who delves into the world of surveillance, privacy and our future civil liberties as international governments and autocratic regimes enact bold, new policies to curb the virus.
“When any of us look at where this is heading, we need to think about where we’ve been,” said Snowden. “And sadly, these kind of emergency powers that are born out of crises, have a perfect history of abuse”.
The second episode will feature California Governor Gavin Newsom who speaks to Smith about how his state has braced for the pandemic, where the federal government has stumbled, and what is coming next. Dr. Anne Rimoin, a world-leading epidemiologist, is also featured and will speak to how the virus has spread and what we can do about it.
Produced by Vice TV, Shane Smith, Alex Chitty, Maral Usefi are the Executive Producers for Shelter in Place. Jonah Kaplan is Supervising Producer.
Shelter in Place will be available on Vice TV via all major satellite and cable providers; ViceTV.com; and the Vice TV app via iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, and Chromecast. The first two episodes will be available for free on Vice & Munchies YouTube page.
Shelter in Place with Shane Smith is the latest programming from Vice TV produced in response to COVID-19. Vice Quarantine Hour is a limited variety series airing weekdays at 8 AM ET/PT. Vice TV's Emmy-winning nightly newscast is airing dedicated COVID-19 episodes with Vice News Tonight: Remote.