A young African American man, reeling from the tragic loss of his wife, travels to rural Maine to seek answers from his estranged mother-in-law, who is herself confronting guilt and grief over her daughter’s death.
Length: 82 min
Director: Maris Curran
Producer: Carly Hugo, Maris Curran, David Oyelowo, Matt Parker
About the director and producer: Director – Maris Curran’s first feature, FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE starring David Oyelowo, Dianne Wiest and Rosie Perez premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. She is in development of her second feature, SELENE and finishing a short documentary entitled THE MAN IS THE MUSIC.
Carly Hugo is a NY-based producer whose credits include FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE, MOTHER OF GEORGE, HIGHER GROUND and BACHELORETTE, and HBO documentaries EVERYTHING IS COPY, SUITED, and HOT COFFEE.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): film festival directors, journalists
Funders or production company: Loveless & Yoruba Saxon
Made in association with: MNM Creative
Release date: August 5, 2016
Interview with Director Maris Curran
Why did you make Five Nights in Maine?
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE tells the story of two people coming together who have worlds between them. By focusing the film on a relationship between a grieving husband and his estranged mother-in-law, there is an obvious initial disconnect.
The thread that binds them has snapped. To me, the most interesting aspect of the story takes place in that space, in the room where these two people negotiate how to treat one another and determine what type of a relationship, if any, they will have.
FIVE NIGHTS is a story about worlds colliding at the kitchen sink. It is about loneliness, frailty and connection, and ultimately, the compassion that comes from opening your eyes to another’s pain in precisely the moment you hurt the most.
I gravitate to stories that examine the joys and trauma of everyday life – particularly emotional stories that form the fabric of our lives, but are rarely discussed. For FIVE NIGHTS, I was interested in the ways that loss can bind people together rather than isolate them.
I’ve found that in the U.S., we treat grief as an individual experience meant to happen behind closed doors. But there is little more universal than caring for someone and losing them – even if that loss is not a death. In making this film, I was interested in putting two people who are grieving quite differently together to spark conversations that will hopefully continue beyond the film.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE is an adult film. It is a film about real people struggling and coming together. As a filmgoer, I ache to see more films that reflect the challenges and joys of everyday life. It is a film about slowing down and feeling. And it is a film to see with someone — to sit in the dark and leave talking and ideally, sharing.
How did the script develop from idea to completed film?
The complete process of making this film took five years. Much of that had to do with financing. It was a challenging film to make. But we put together a team of folks – incredible cast, creative collaborators and investors who not only believed in the project, but felt it was necessary to make.
Is this a personal or a universal story for you?
I think there is little more universal than loving someone and losing them. It is something we all experience.
Can you discuss why you cast actors Dianne Wiest, David Oyelowo and Rosie Perez in this fllm?
David came on early in the process of making the film as both the lead actor and a producer. I was looking for an actor who could convey emotional depth in the quiet moments of the film and had the magnetism of a movie star. It became clear very quickly that was David Oyelowo.
Dianne Wiest is an actress who can do anything. She is most known for her comedic work and I was interested in her for this complicated and acerbic part. I think the audience will be excited to see Dianne in this role – she is delicate and fierce.
And Rosie Perez is a tremendous actress. She has incredible depth and helps to ground a film where two people are grieving quiet differently.
What type of feedback have you received so far about this film?
This is the tenth festival I have brought the film to this month. That means I’ve had the rare opportunity to interact with many different audiences. I have been struck by the fact that people have engaged the film on a deep level and have been moved to share their own experiences of loss. It has been an incredibly rewarding process.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on this platform?
Festival audiences are key to the success of a film like ours. We need folks to champion the film – spread the word and help us get it out to the widest possible audience for our release. Our film will be in theaters and VOD in the late summer / early fall.
What type of impact and reception would you like this film to have?
In making FIVE NIGHTS IN MAINE, I set out to make a film to move an audience -- to create an emotional experience. It is my hope that the film will inspire cathartic conversations.
What are you developing or directing now?
I am finishing a short documentary about the artist and musician Lonnie Holley who produced the only lyrical piece of music for FIVE NIGHTS. I am currently packaging my next feature film SELENE that I hope to shoot in the near future.