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Tribeca Film announced its latest acquisition today. For Ellen stars Paul Dano as an aspiring rock star trying to connect with his young daughter during a messy divorce. The film, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, is directed by Brooklyn filmmaker So Yong Kim, whose last two features were the independent standouts Treeless Mountain and In Between Days. A fall release is planned, including nationwide VOD and a release in select theatrical markets. For Ellen opens on September 5 at Film Forum in New York City.
“With a subtle, understated approach, esteemed director So Yong Kim has made a film that is both deeply moving and deeply resonant,” said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “Fueled by a remarkable performance by Paul Dano and delicately directed by Kim, we couldn’t be more excited to share this very special story about a father trying to connect with his young daughter.”
Aspiring rock star Joby Taylor (Paul Dano, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE) has wanted nothing more than to “make it,” having flirted with fame but never crossed over into true success. In the midst of a low period in his life, he agrees to sign divorce papers with his estranged wife (Margarita Levieva, Revenge, How To Make It In America) in order to see money from the sale of their home, only to discover that by signing the papers, he will forfeit all custody of his six-year-old daughter, Ellen (newcomer Shaylena Mandigo). With a good-natured lawyer (Jon Heder, NAPOLEON DYNAMITE) unable to make headway in reversing the decision, and a girlfriend (Jena Malone, INTO THE WILD) who represents an era of his life that he might be ready to graduate from, Joby negotiates a visit with his daughter to explore whether he is able to walk away from his child, and whether it might be too late for reconciliation.
For Ellen stems from Kim’s desire to understand her own father, and an imagined confrontation if he ever returned to her. Using the stark beauty and vast farmlands of an American winter as its backdrop, the film charts Joby’s emotional journey as he realizes what he has lost—and what, if anything, can still be saved.
"We look forward to working with Tribeca Film on the release and distribution of For Ellen,” said Kim. We are honored to trust our film with such a talented and passionate team."
Variety praised For Ellen: “Dano’s intense commitment to the role, combined with the partially improvised dialogue, establishes the kind of spontaneity that marks the strong lead performances in several of Robert Altman’s best films.”