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2014 Sundance “Trading Cards” Series: #11. Katie Stern (Listen Up Philip)

2014 Sundance "Trading Cards" Series: #11. Katie Stern (Listen Up Philip) Eric Lavallee: Name me three of your favorite “2013 discoveries”…
Katie Stern: One of my favorite movies of the year was Spring Breakers, my favorite book was Kate Bornstein’s A Queer and Pleasant Danger, I finally saw and enjoyed Me at the Zoo, loved the Claes Oldenburg exhibit at MoMA, and felt sadly, underwhelmed by the Depeche Mode album (Delta Machine).

Lavallee: The underrated/under the radar Francine was your first fiction feature as a producer. I’d like to know what lessons carried over from making a miniscule film and how did the project come to you?
Stern: Francine was a true labor of love. I met Brian M. Cassidy and Melanie Shatzky through Washington Square Films (where we represent them as commercial directors) and we instantly became friends. When they told me about the idea for the film, I was immediately intrigued. The world they described (and ultimately, created) was unlike anything I had ever seen before and that was too exciting to pass up. I wanted to be involved right away and when the amazing Melissa Leo approached us to be in the film, it was icing on the cake.

Lavallee: Could you detail the type of snowball effects that occurs when a casting call is made and you get a baseball team’s worth of talent eager to sign up? Could you equate how much it was based on the merits of the screenplay vs. Perry’s previous as a filmmaker.
Stern: We were very fortunate to assemble such an astoundingly talented cast, each of whom truly heightens the film. I think they initially reacted to the strength of the writing – which is so unique and beautiful and funny – and after deeper discussions with Alex, it became clear that he had an exact and uncompromising vision of what the movie would be. And that was really exciting for everyone.

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Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist and critic at (founded in 2000). Eric is a regular at Sundance, Cannes and TIFF. He has a BFA in Film Studies at the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013 he served as a Narrative Competition Jury Member at the SXSW Film Festival. He was an associate producer on Mark Jackson's This Teacher (2018 LA Film Festival, 2018 BFI London). In 2022 he served as a New Flesh Comp for Best First Feature at the 2022 Fantasia Intl. Film Festival. Current top films for 2022 include Tár (Todd Field), All That Breathes (Shaunak Sen), Aftersun (Charlotte Wells).

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