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Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden
Posted September 01, 2010 to photo album "Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden"
An introduction to the fast-rising writer-director partnership behind the latest comedy from Focus Features, It’s Kind of a Funny Story.
To the Dominican Republic and Back
For their sophomore feature, Boden and Fleck picked subject matter that was both unlikely and accessible. Working in the classic American genre of the baseball movie, they traveled to the Dominican Republic to tell a neorealist tale of a player lured to New York by the dreams of joining an American team. While Fleck had directed Half Nelson himself, with Boden co-writing and editing, they decided to acknowledge their deeply collaborative process by sharing the directing duties for this next film, Sugar, which was financed by HBO Films’ now-defunct low-budget division. And as they had done in Half Nelson, the duo figured out how to enrich a simple, human story through a precise capturing of social environment. Said Boden to The Reeler, “We're following a very personal story -- kind of a coming-of-age story, kind of an immigrant story, kind of a baseball story. It's all those things. But as writers, we're really interested in not just the personal journeys people go through, but how their social contexts influence them.” Sugar, wrote Brandon Harris in In These Times, “may be the best American sports movie and the most touching immigration saga of the decade.” In the New York Times, A.O. Scott raved, “It is both sad and hopeful, but the film’s sorrow and its optimism arise from its rarest and most thrilling quality, which is its deep and humane honesty.”