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Jefferson Root Written by Jefferson Root
Jun. 22, 2010 | 1:29 AM

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LAFF Interview: Whit Stillman

“Isn’t this a great festival?”’

Whit Stillman’s enthusiasm was genuine, as he had clearly just enjoyed Aaron Katz’s LAFF Summer Showcase entry Cold Weather  Afterwards he spoke with Film Radar about his new project, Damsels In Distress which will be his first since 1998’s The Last Days of Disco.

According to Stillman, Damsels “looks like it’s really happening”.  He’s currently casting the film in LA, with additional casting to be done in New York.  Stillman said that they already have “some of the money” and that they hope to start shooting in New York in September or October. Fans of his earlier work will likely not be disappointed to hear him claim that Damsels will be shot “more Metropolitan style.”  They’re early on in the casting process, so he wasn’t able to reveal many details, but he did allow that some of the regulars from his previous films would likely be involved, though he said “unfortunately there aren’t that many male roles.”

Stillman also didn’t dismiss the possibility that Dancing Mood, his study of Jamaican reggae in the 60’s would someday see the light of day, and he also mentioned a third project which he has yet to mention by name, which would be shot in England or Ireland.

On the video front,  Stillman confirmed that Criterion is negotiating with Warner Bros. to secure the DVD rights to Barcleona This is a recent development, and Stillman expressed hope that there will eventually be a Criterion box set containing all three of his previous films.

Stillman’s 1990 debut Metropolitan was a hit on the festival circuit, and it’s refreshing to see him so engaged with the stellar independent work being shown at LAFF.  He concluded our conversation by enthusiastically recommending Lena Dunham’s feature Tiny Furniture, which was screening next.

I asked Stillman if he planned on sticking around for that screening as well.  He demurred, saying he’d already seen it.

‘But you should go,” he said, “It’s terrific.”