March 1, 2020

Sundance 2020-Location, Location, Location: The Night House director David Bruckner, writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski; Black Bear director Lawrence Michael Levine

Sundance 2020 Special Part 2: Location, Location, Location
These two very different movies both had striking locations that set the tone for the films.

The Night House director David Bruckner and writers Ben Collins and Luke Piotrowski enjoy working in the horror genre, and wanted to explore making a film that doesn’t make you “feel safe” with many dense layers. The film deals with the horror of grief, loss and loneliness faced by the main character, Beth, played by Rebecca Hall. The Night House was shot mostly at night in a lake house in upstate New York.

The Night House was one of the first deals to close out of Sundance this year. It sold for $12 million to Disney-owned Searchlight.

Black Bear takes place in a large lake house estate, and director/writer Lawrence Michael Levine wrote the script with a specific location in mind. Unfortunately, the original location fell through, and Levine had to find another spot, which turned out to be quite remote but amazingly striking on film. The movie stars Aubrey Plaza, Christopher Abbott and Sarah Gadon, whose characters and performances script-flip midway through the film, but we are never meant to know what the characters actually think. The movie wittily explores issues of gender and feminism, and later, has a funny take on indie filmmaking.

Black Bear has yet to find distribution.

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