By Don Simpson | May 16, 2014
When I saw the world premiere of Kat Candler’s short film Hellion at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, I thought it played like a really awesome teaser for a feature film. It left me incredibly curious about how that six-minute sequence of events would fit into the timeline of a feature-length film. (My Sundance 2012 review of the short film + my SXSW 2012 interview with Kat Candler.)
At that time, Candler presumably did not have any intentions of developing Hellion into a feature-length film, but I suspect the short’s overwhelmingly successful film festival lifespan convinced her to commence working on the feature-length production. It was not long before the film’s producer (Kelly Williams) and the script made its way to the Sundance Creative Producer’s Lab. Then, once Aaron Paul and Juliette Lewis attached themselves to the feature-length production, it quickly became clear that Candler might just have a break-out hit on her hands. Hellion officially broke out at its triumphant world premiere at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival (followed by a hometown premiere at SXSW 2014) and was soon picked up by IFC Films for distribution.
Despite having two household names attached to the production, the feature-length version of Hellion showcases two extremely talented young actors: Josh Wiggins (Jacob) and Deke Garner (Wes). Like the short film, Hellion relishes in the youthful ecstasy of absolute freedom and the inherent wildness of boys when left to their own devices as well as highlighting the irresponsible choices that they tend to make.
Candler (Cicadas, Jumping Off Bridges, Black Metal) has an undeniable talent for creating very specific atmospheres within her films. Shot in the hazy sunshine of the Gulf Coast, Hellion captures the difficulties of a single, working class parent, carefully examining the effects that local economics can have on families. The gritty, handheld cinematography (Brett Pawlak) hearkens back to the glory days of 1970s American independent cinema while also reflecting the working class livelihoods of this East Texas community.
Here is the debut trailer for Hellion, which will open in select theaters and VOD on June 13th:
Also check out our video interview with Kat Candler from Hellion‘s Texas premiere at SXSW 2014: