Description from TIFF 2010 catalog by Thom Powers:
Kelly Reichardt has distinguished herself as an American original with films such as Old Joy and Wendy and Lucy that invest small moments with deep significance. In her new film Meek’s Cutoff, she breaks away from a contemporary setting for her first period piece, set in 1845 on the Oregon Trail. Meek’s Cutoff plays separately in the Festival’s Contemporary World Cinema programme. For this Mavericks discussion, Reichardt will be interviewed by Entertainment Weekly critic Lisa Schwarzbaum, exploring the director’s career and the process behind Meek’s Cutoff.
Reichardt made her debut in 1994 with River of Grass, a unique road movie about people escaping a crime, which captured the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. She followed with Ode, based on the novel Ode to Billie Joe, and two short films before winning great acclaim for Old Joy in 2006. The film follows two men on a trip into the woods; one feels the growing responsibilities of impending fatherhood while the other appreciates his independence. Schwarzbaum called it a “shimmering, quiet treasure of a film, an elegy to mutable friendship, enduring nature, and the sense of loss that inevitably accompanies the adult pull to move forward.”
With several of her films based in Oregon, Reichardt shares camaraderie with fellow Northwest filmmakers Gus Van Sant (Milk) and Todd Haynes (I’m Not There). All three are dedicated to individualistic storytelling, but Van Sant and Haynes eventually moved from low budgets to larger productions. Is that in the future for Reichardt? “There’s something great about having privacy when you’re making a film,” she said in an interview with Van Sant. “It’s good when there aren’t any extra hands in the pie and no one is imposing false deadlines on you&”8230;. But Todd [Haynes] thinks it’s a flawed way of thinking. He doesn’t think I’m necessarily making it easier for myself by doing everything so small.” This Mavericks discussion will explore how Reichardt got to this point in her career and where she’s headed.
About the director:
Kelly Reichardt was born in Miami and directed the short films Ode (99), Then a Year (01) and Travis (04). Her feature films include River of Grass (94), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, Old Joy (06), which won a Tiger Award at the Rotterdam International Film Festival, Wendy and Lucy (08), which was named best film of 2008 by the Toronto Film Critics Association, and Meek’s Cutoff (10).