After spending nearly five years co-writing the script for “The Kids Are All Right” — during which time she also had a son, Calder, now 4, with her partner Wendy Melvoin — Lisa Cholodenko found herself, last July, with just 23 days in which to shoot the film, nine days less than she’d had for her feature debut, 1998’s “High Art.” In January, a rough cut of “Kids” premiered at Sundance, got snapped up by Focus Features and by this July was in theaters with a whole new score, soon to be declared the indie hit of the summer.
“That’s been the pace,” marveled Cholodenko. “It’s been breathless, in a good way.”
For the 46-year-old director, the success of the film — with its funny, moving and unprecedented portrayal of same-sex parenthood in contemporary L.A. — has been both gratifying and “a little bit of a head-scratch considering the trajectory I’ve had.”
Despite the film’s timely subject matter, stars Julianne Moore and Annette Bening being on board (who Cholodenko says “you just blow on” to direct), and a solid career behind her (including 2002’s critically acclaimed “Laurel Canyon”), she found it very difficult to secure financing. But the summer’s most buzzed-about indie release also has struck a cineaste chord. “I think people have missed seeing this kind of filmmaking,” asserts the L.A. native, who feels a kinship with films of the ’70s and ’80s that have “a blend of comedy and drama with a realism that resonates with people.”