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“Frozen River” Screens in Chatham

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Courtney Hunt directing Frozen River

As usual on the last Sunday of the month, the Chatham Film Club will screen a movie at the Crandell Theater this week. But there’s nothing “as usual” about this particular screening.  In fact, it’s safe to assume, there has never been a screening closer to the Film Club members’ hearts.  Frozen River, written and directed by Courtney Hunt, a Chatham resident and member of the Film Club board, will be released on August 1, by Sony Pictures Classics.

Hunt, who holds an MFA in film from Columbia University (her award-winning thesis film was later aired on PBS), wrote the script for Frozen River in 2003.  That spring, at the FilmColumbia Festival in Chatham, she met guest speaker, Melissa Leo, star of that year’s sneak preview film, 21 Grams.  Courtney pitched Frozen River to Melissa, who asked to see the script and subsequently agreed to do the film.
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The next winter, Courtney shot a 15-minute segment of the script, which was presented as a “short” at that year’s New York and Los Angeles Film Festivals, among others, including, naturally, FilmColumbia.  Finally, by 2007, funding in place, she was able to complete shooting the entire feature-length script.  Frozen River was accepted at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it was awarded the Grand Jury Prize for drama. Sony Pictures Classics purchased distribution rights to the film, about a desperate trailer mom and a Mohawk Indian girl who team up to smuggle illegal immigrants into the United States from Canada, for $1 million.  It will open in Los Angeles and New York on August 1st and nationwide soon thereafter.

Courtney Hunt will be at Sunday’s screening of Frozen River. She will also be on hand afterwards for an informal question-and-answer session at the theater and at the Club’s quarterly “Salon in a Saloon,” held upstairs at the Peint O’Gwrw, a nearby pub.

Chatham Film Club at the Crandell Theater
Main Street (Route 66), Chatham
Sunday, July 27, at 2:30 (tickets go on sale at 1 pm)
Admission: $6; $5/members
Salon at the Saloon: cash bar

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