With "Little Men," Ira Sachs wanted to make a film about childhood that felt "authentic" and more similar to the movies from his youth than those that Hollywood studios currently make. It is the sixth feature from Sachs, who co-wrote it with his regular writing partner, Mauricio Zacharias. The movie premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
"Little Men" is partly a story of gentrification in Brooklyn and partly a coming-of-age tale about two young teenage boys. It follows the budding friendship of Tony and Jake. Tony is the son of a single mom who runs a clothing shop on the ground floor of Jake’s grandfather’s house in Brooklyn. When the grandfather dies and Jake’s family moves in upstairs, the two boys become friends. The conflict comes when Jake’s parents want to raise the rent on the shop, which Tony’s mother can’t afford.
When Ira Sachs came into The Frame studios to chat with host John Horn, they discussed how becoming a parent has affected his movie-making and and how he's been able to create a sustainable career as an independent filmmaker. Hear the full interview by clicking the play button above.
ON HOW BEING A FATHER HAS AFFECTED HIS MOVIEMAKING:
The strongest way is that I want to give them films that I feel are different than the ones I'm seeing for kids being made, particularly [by] the studios. This is a film about childhood, but told with a certain amount of authenticity and maturity, as opposed to the superhero films and the animated stories. I feel that there's a whole kind of movie that I grew up with, whether that be "The 400 Blows" or "The Red Balloon" or "The World of Henry Orient" or films about childhood that somehow feel real and reflect my own experience. I wanted to make that kind of cinematic film.
"Little Men" opens in New York on Aug. 5 and in Los Angeles on Aug. 12. To hear more from The Frame get the podcast on itunes.
I started to go to Sundance when I was 13. My father started spending the winters there in the mid '70s. I actually got there before Robert Redford, before it was the Sundance Film Festival. It was called the U.S. Film Festival. It was the birth of independent cinema. They used to do retrospectives there also. I saw all of John Cassavetes at Sundance. I saw all of Sam Fuller at Sundance. To me, I remember being in a room and Seymour Cassel was sitting across the room — the wonderful Cassavetes actor. It was as if I had seen a huge movie star. For someone else it might have been Taylor Swift, but for me it was Seymour Cassel. I was probably 16 years old and I knew that there was a world that existed that I could enter.