Thanks for watching. If you missed the 1 Day Only free screening window, you can now watch it through Netflix Instant, Hulu Plus, iTunes or Amazon Instant or via Wolfe Video. Come back Tuesday (2pm) for the Online Premiere of director Stephen Cone's previous film, In Memoriam.
My Fifth First Film by Stephen Cone
There is that thing that either Renoir or Altman (or both) said, of making the same movie over and over. Similarly, there exists a thing of making several first films in a row. In a culture that tends to fetishize first-time, out-of-the-gate discoveries, I fear we might be losing our capacity for patience, for those who need time to find themselves.
When I made THE WISE KIDS, I not only had a previous full-length feature under my belt (IN MEMORIAM, premiering tomorrow on NoBudge), but an hour-long medium-length movie called THE CHRISTIANS, as well as two short films, CHURCH STORY and YOUNG WIVES. All have merit, and IM in particular has a handful of strange and poignant scenes I’m quite proud of (not to mention some lovely acting), but by the time I got to TWK, I was really starting to get a firm grip on tone, performance, economy, point-of-view, unity and successful disharmony. Two features later, my self-education in filmmaking has been more like a boat ride than a horse race, and I’m grateful to those who’ve joined me on this very slow ride.
Seven films in (not to mention the twenty-one educational shorts I’ve made with my Acting Studio Chicago CINEMA LAB), I’ve now made three generation-hopping coming-of-age ensemble pieces in a row, all dealing with religion, identity and/or sexuality. I am the queer son of a Southern Baptist minister, so it makes sense.
My upbringing was largely a happy one, but I continue to wrestle with the balancing act that is embracing, loving and respecting my Bible-believing friends - many of whom are as smart and kind and human as anyone I know - and bafflement at the so very many things that are taken and accepted, simply, on faith, sometimes at the cost of others, or of common sense and decency.
Further, I am fascinated by the idea of living in bodies – more specifically, the idea that people of faith are forced to inhabit bodies they live in hope of shedding. What does it mean to be a believer and a human being at the same time? To prioritize the soul while negotiating and navigating the physical self? Does one negate the other? Does it have to?
These are the questions THE WISE KIDS was born out of. They are questions I’ve been asking for as long as I remember, and to which I see no end to the asking.
Such is art.