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Cassavetes contender: ‘Charlotte Sometimes’

Director Eric Byler is a little stunned by all the attention his little $20,000 film has garnered.

Critics have rallied around “Charlotte Sometimes,” it won kudos at the Florida and South by Southwest fests last year, and played to SRO crowds at the Los Angeles Film Festival in June.

“(L.A.) was the beginning of our improbable rise from obscurity,” says Byler.

The Wesleyan film school grad had been trying to get his script made since 1997, originally raising money to shoot the film on 35mm.

“It’s too good to be Asian,” potential backers told him. But the Japanese-American filmmaker was determined to stick with his Asian cast.

The quietly emotional film minimizes its Silver Lake club-and-cafe setting, instead focusing on the story of a Japanese-American man, his neighbor and her boyfriend and a mysterious woman (played by Jacqueline Kim, also nominated for a Spirit award) who comes into their lives.

Pic finally got off the ground when Byler decided on a 14-day digital shoot, and L.A.-based digital production company Visionbox Pictures came in with post production funds.

Visionbox will self-distribute starting in April with Small Planet Pictures.

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