We are overjoyed this morning as we head into the opening night of Hello Lonesome in New York City. In the last twenty-four hours, several positive reviews of the movie have been published – including a somewhat glowing review from our very own The New York Times. It is everything we were hoping for.
But the ride has been a wild one to say the least – and now seems like the perfect time to tell you the whole story.
It began just about a year ago at our World Premier in Los Angeles as part of the Los Angeles Film Festival. Leading up to our premier we heard good things about how Hello Lonesome was being received. There was a press screening earlier in the week and we were told the turnout was great and the film was generating a lot of buzz. We were psyched (and really nervous).
Then the night of the premier arrived – our screening was sold out! Friends, relatives, cast, crew – lots of Los Angelans (?) filled the theater as Adam conducted interviews with the press. It was thrilling and overwhelming. The movie played great that first night! We sat in the theater squeezing each other’s hands as the audience laughed and cried at all the right moments. It was really happening.
When the movie ended we all celebrated as we headed to the after party we had organized. About twenty minutes into the party our friend Mark came up to me and told me quietly … “the Variety review came out – it’s terrible. Adam read it on his phone.” My heart sank. Those ass holes. I looked over at Adam, who was putting on a happy face but I knew he was crushed. Our first review from a major publication and they hated it. Among the nasty things Robert Kohler wrote in his review was this:
“A useful object lesson for student filmmakers on what not to do … otherwise a dud for fests and potential buyers.” – Robert Kohler – Variety
The next morning the Hollywood Reporter review came out. Kirk Honeycutt hated it too:
“The film is the kind of downer only a festival programmer would love” … “Reid apparently didn’t trust his script — or his actors — to let things speak for themselves.”
– Kirk Honeycutt – Hollywood Reporter
LA Weekly followed suit with some snarky and dismissive remarks by Karina Longworth:
“The fatally slight, student-quality triptych Hello Lonesome would seem to be the kind of vapid American indie that the foreign discoveries should have shoved out of contention.”
– Karina Longworth – LA Weekly
Getting nauseous now.
So there it was – where previously riding high, we were now pretty much knocked on our asses. And that was only the beginning of a full week of screenings and interviews. It was really hard.
But then things started to look up. Because of highly sold shows, LAFF added an additional screening of the film. Then, we got a text from one of the festival organizers telling us to make sure we came to the festival awards ceremony. OMG… there were only two awards given out to narrative features at the festival. One was “Best Narrative Feature”, which came with a whopping $50,000 prize. The other was “Best Performance in a Narrative Feature” – which came with no monetary prize – but is hugely positive for the Director and for the Actor who receives it. We spent that evening freaking out – wondering what our fate would bring the next day.
The next morning arrived (after a restless night’s sleep) and with it, came Hello Lonesome‘s very first Jury Prize – given to the entire cast of the film – “Best Ensemble Performance in a Narrative Feature”. No $50,000 prize but just as sweet (almost)… validation. The movie doesn’t suck. People appreciate it. Those reviewers are not everything. Whew. What a whirlwind.
After LA, it was mostly good vibes for Hello Lonesome as we traveled around to several festivals around the country picking up a bunch of awards!
- Jury Award – Best Screenplay – Bend Film, OR
- New Visions Award – Best Feature – Bahamas International Film Festival
- Audience Award – Best Feature – Ashland Independent Film Festival – OR
- Finalist – Best Cinematography – Ashland Independent Film Festival – OR
“Shot simply, acted without fuss, Hello Lonesome is alternately funny, wistful, tragic and suspenseful. Reid does a lot with a little – and has crafted a small beauty of a film with his first try.”
– Marshall Fine – Huffington Post
“‘Hello Lonesome,’ Adam Reid’s smart, poignant trilogy of interwoven vignettes, manages the considerable feat of creating six fully human characters who are quirky enough to transcend the stereotypes found in a typical indie film.”
– Stephen Holden – New York Times
“Adam Reid’s offbeat debut suggests a talent worth watching”… “Reid has an eye for human connections, deftly zeroing in on the way people communicate — or don’t. He ends this conversation a bit too abruptly, but we’ll be listening the next time he’s got something to share.”
– Elizabeth Weitzman – NY Daily News
“The seeming randomness of the assorted human interactions in “Hello Lonesome” gradually becomes illuminating and just a little bit profound” … “First-time writer-director Adam Reid has a lightly endearing touch as he allows the actors plenty of space to be warm without being cute” … “Few films celebrate ordinary, nice people — or are as wise about why basic kindness matters.”
– Kyle Smith – NY Post