July 18 - 24.
Writer/director Kat Candler's Hellion paints the powerful portrait of a family on the brink of dissolution set against the haunting backdrop of the refineries of Southeast Texas.
Obsessed with heavy metal, dirt bike racing and partaking in the occasional act of vandalism with his band of delinquents, the behavior of 13-year-old Jacob Wilson (Josh Wiggins in his feature film debut) has begun to raise concerns around town, especially when it starts to involve his younger brother Wes (newcomer Deke Garner). While the boys’ father Hollis (two-time Emmy Award-winner Aaron Paul) loves his sons, he is still reeling from the loss of their mother, spending more time drowning his sorrows at the local bar and working on his damaged beach house than being an active parent.
When the local authorities catch wind of the increasingly volatile situation, Wes is taken into custody by his Aunt Pam (Academy Award nominee Juliette Lewis), leaving Jacob and Hollis to fend for themselves. In Wes’ absence, Jacob becomes increasingly obsessed with two things: winning a local motocross championship and getting his brother back.
With a scorching central performance by Wiggins and heart-wrenchingly raw turns by Paul and Lewis, Hellion is impossible to shake. Executive Produced by Jeff Nichols (Mud) and Sarah Green (The Tree of Life).
Aaron Paul is one of Hollywood’s best young talents. With his acclaimed performance in the AMC drama Breaking Bad, and a 2012 and 2010 Emmy Award© win for “Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series,” Aaron is quickly becoming a household name.
Aaron will soon begin production on Fathers and Daughters a film about a woman struggling with relationship issues who reflects on growing up with her famous novelist father. He will star opposite of Amanda Seyfried and Russell Crowe. He recently filmed Exodus, for director Ridley Scott and 20th Century Fox. Paul stars opposite Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley in the story of a Biblical epic based on the life and times of Moses. Exodus is slated for release on December 12th, 2014.
Juliette Lewis has been recognized as one of Hollywood's most talented and versatile actors of her generation. After several TV credits, including The Wonder Years, she made her move to film, starring with Chevy Chase in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation and with Jennifer Jason Leigh in the drama Crooked Hearts. At 16, Lewis starred in the critically acclaimed television movie Too Young to Die?, catching the attention of Martin Scorsese, who cast her in his thriller Cape Fear. Her powerful scenes with Robert De Niro captured the quiet complexities of adolescence and earned her an Oscar and Golden Globe nomination for “Best Supporting Actress.”
A native Texan, Josh Wiggins was once living the typical happy teenager’s life, shooting self-made YouTube videos with his friends and dreaming about a future in film and television. But his dreams quickly transformed into reality when Kat Candler plucked him out of a casting call of hundreds just based on his instinctual grasp of the daredevil starring character in Hellion. Describing Josh as “a knockout,” Candler marvels, “He’d never [acted] before, and in every single take he’s so good.”
An accomplished skeet shooter, he’s proud to be both a Texas native and an avid supporter of the Dallas Cowboys and Texas A & M teams. But it is his parents’ support of all of their children’s passions that Josh credits as helping propel his massive leap to the big screen.
While shooting our 2012 Sundance short, Hellion in the blistering summer heat over two years ago, I fell in love with this fictional world we’d created. Small town kids –bored and angry–stirring up all kinds of trouble– and their single blue-collar dad struggling to control his family while wrestling with the death of his wife. I fell in love with these characters’ mistakes, their poor choices and their good hearts. And I wanted more. So I started outlining a feature.
When we first traveled to Port Neches, TX for research, the first things that struck me were the endless refineries. They framed the entire town, looming over neighborhoods, Little League Fields, swimming pools. The night skies were lit up like Oz—tiny yellow lights and towering flames like a magical wonderland. It was hauntingly beautiful. And the southeast Texas refineries would become the backdrop for these characters’ lives.
Told through a thirteen-year-old’s eyes the camera moves gracefully at their level. These are boys on BMX bikes, in ratty old t-shirts riding through sun- drenched days to a heavy metal soundtrack. They trespass onto construction sites to ride motocross and set fire to trucks. Hollis, the emotionally absent father, in his Nomex suit and refinery grime flirts with alcoholism and escapes to Galveston to work on his hurricane destroyed beach house (his last link to his wife).
Visually, I want to capture this world that seems like it’s stood still since the 70s. Imagining movies like Over the Edge, Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore and Urban Cowboy. I wanted to create a sense of youthful play in the neighborhoods, the drainage ditches, the boys’ “no trespassing” adventures. The exteriors used mostly available light, summer 70s flares and rich, golden tones. But inside the Wilson home, the colors are darker and more muted, reflecting the state of a family still torn from the mother’s death.
Hellion plays on the idea of responsibility and manhood. The youth of America are getting angrier and angrier having to grow up quicker and harder-edged. This is the story of a father and son learning to reconcile their poor choices and bad behavior in order to take responsibility for their own lives and for each other.
I’ve always been drawn to stories of youth. I’m fascinated by good kids doing bad things. I’ve read Lord of the Flies countless times and the 1963 movie is one of my all time favorites. I’ve worked with at risk-kids at alternative schools and taught film production to all grades levels. I want to give voice to not only this struggling single father, but to the kids that wander the small town streets in search of adventure, respect and understanding. And with Hellion I’m excited to bring all of these characters I fell in love with two years ago to the screen– their heartbreaking mistakes, their poor choices and their good hearts.