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Acquisitions – Indie Films

Hollywood Sells Californication; Tribeca Film Shows Affection for Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto

It landed in public consciousness in book form and then the film format via the perfect fall film festival trifecta of Venice, Telluride and TIFF, and yet despite some favorable reviews, Gia Coppola’s debut film has finally landed a distribution deal with the Tribeca Film folks. Palo Alto will be released in Spring of 2014.

Gist: Palo Alto weaves together three stories of teenage lust, boredom, and self-destruction: shy, sensitive April (Emma Roberts), torn between an illicit flirtation with her soccer coach (James Franco) and an unrequited crush on sweet stoner Teddy (Jack Kilmer); Emily (Zoe Levin), who offers sexual favors to any boy to cross her path; and the increasingly dangerous exploits of Teddy and his best friend Fred (Nat Wolff), whose behavior may or may not be sociopathic. One of the strongest American directorial debuts of the past decade, Coppola’s film has a palpable sense of time and place, but her characters — seeking cheap thrills and meaningful connections — could be teenagers from any generation.

Worth Noting: Robert Schwartzman (part of the large film-centric Coppola family) wrote the film’s score (w/ Dev Hynes) and has been proficient in song writing (and other creative endeavors) for items in indie items such as Bad Teacher, Easy A and The Chumscrubber.

Do We Care?: We were swooned by how the oft-miscast Emma Roberts, finally hit her mark here, impressed by the array/ character set sans contrivedness, specifically newbie actors toplined by Jack Kilmer (a trio made it in our TIFF Top 20 New Faces list) and Coppola’s style and sensitivity (which bares some resemblance to aunt Sofia) feels naturally unforced and compliments the coming of age type of temperament. Definitely a film to seek out.

Eric Lavallée is the founder, CEO, editor-in-chief, film journalist, and critic at IONCINEMA.com, established in 2000. A regular at Sundance, Cannes, and Venice, Eric holds a BFA in film studies from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema. In 2013, he served on the narrative competition jury 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 was a New Flesh Juror for Best First Feature at the Fantasia International Film Festival. Current top films for 2023 include The Zone of Interest (Glazer), Inside the Yellow Cocoon Shell (Pham Thien An), Totem (Lila Avilés), La Chimera (Alice Rohrwacher), All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt (Raven Jackson).

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