You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Yellen’s ‘Lace’ gets blue ribbon

Linda Yellen has staked a claim to the independent filmmaking legacy of John Cassavetes with the film experiment “Chantilly Lace,” which is scheduled to be screened at the Sundance Film Institute’s spring benefit on June 1.

The screening will take place at the Directors Guild of America.

Shot on a shoestring budget over eight days in Sundance, Colo., “Chantilly Lace” is a seven-woman ensemble piece with JoBeth Williams, Helen Slater, Talia Shire, Ally Sheedy, Martha Plimpton, Jill Eikenberry and Lindsay Crouse.

In directing “Chantilly Lace,” Yellen worked from a 40-page outline — instead of a screenplay — to extract improvisation from her performers. The pic revolves around the reunion of old friends, and the unexpected death of one.

Sundance was considering a number of movies for its spring benefit, including the big-budget “Super Mario Brothers,” before opting to feature “Chantilly Lace” at its fundraiser.

Michelle Satter, Sundance director of feature film, said “Chantilly Lace” stands out because it explores the landscape of contemporary women’s issues with humor and honesty “unlike any American film” that she has seen. Satter said Yellen’s work is reminiscent of Cassevetes in process, style and the “remarkable honesty of the work.”

“Chantilly Lace” was developed under the auspices of the Sundance Film Institute, while Showtime president Steve Hewitt provided production financing. The pic is scheduled for July 11 broadcast on Showtime.

Yellen said she originally conceived of “Chantilly Lace” because of the preponderance of “incomplete roles for women, who are sketched instead of developed” in the movie business. Yellen produced “Chantilly Lace” with Roseanne Ehrlich.

There already has been confusion over the name “Chantilly Lace,” which has much to do with the movie’s thematic elements and tone, but nothing to do with the Big Bopper’s 1958 hit.

Yellen said she has toyed with the idea of an improvisational movie since working with Liv Ullmann on “Prisoner Without a Name, Cell Without a Number.” A veteran stage and television producer, Yellen’s previous credits include such titles as “Playing for Time,””Sweet Bird of Youth” and “Second Serve.”

Yellen said that the improvisational tactic and short shooting schedule allowed her to break out of Hollywood’s maw.

But that’s not to say Yellen is ditching the mainstream scene. Several projects are in development at her Century City-based Linda Yellen Co. production shingle, including the autobiographical story of Life magazine photographer Margaret Bourke-White at Warner Bros., which has Barbra Streisand attached.

In addition, Yellen is prepping the adaptation of Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” at New Line Cinema, a thriller titled “Rebound,” a kickboxing picture for MCA/Universal and “The Turing Option,” a science-fiction picture from screenwriter Don Jacoby.

In addition, there are plans afoot for Yellen to direct a follow-up to “Chantilly Lace” in September. Titled “Parallel Lives,” the pic will feature a cast of seven women and eight men. “Parallel Lives” will also be produced using Sundance’s support and resources.

More Film

  • Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and

    Spirit Awards Showcase Oscar Players and Also-Rans, With Heavy Hitters on Deck

    Five of the last eight best feature winners at the annual Film Independent Spirit Awards have gone on to win best picture at the Oscars, including a four-year streak from 2013-2016. It was a steadily evolving status quo that led former Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences governor Bill Mechanic to question his organization’s [...]

  • Bo Burnham34th Film Independent Spirit Awards,

    Bo Burnham Wants 'Eighth Grade' Star Elsie Fisher to Direct Him

    Bo Burnham won his third award in three weeks for “Eighth Grade” at the Spirit Awards and said he wants the film’s 15-year-old Elsie Fisher to direct him. “I’d love to work with Elsie again,” Burnham said backstage after winning the Best First Screenplay trophy.  “She wants to direct so I’d love to switch roles [...]

  • Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive

    Nicole Holofcener: 'Can You Ever Forgive Me?' Director Was Cheated Out of an Oscar Nomination

    “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” screenwriter Nicole Holofcener offered a blunt assessment of the lack of Academy Awards recognition for director Marielle Heller, and women directors everywhere. “I feel Marielle was cheated and I feel badly about that,” Holofcener said backstage after winning a Spirit Award for screenplay with Jeff Whitty. Holofcener was originally attached [...]

  • Stephan James as Fonny and Brian

    2019 Indie Spirit Awards Winners: Complete List

    The 2019 Independent Spirit Awards took place on a beach in Santa Monica, Calif., with Barry Jenkins’ “If Beale Street Could Talk” taking the top prize for best feature along with best director for Jenkins. Ethan Hawke and Glenn Close took the prizes for best male lead and best female lead, respectively. Bo Burnham took [...]

  • Oscars Oscar Academy Awards Placeholder

    Hated It! How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Gripe About the Oscars

    Watching the Academy Awards telecast, then grousing about it the next day, has become a hipster parlor game — it’s what the Complete Oscar Experience now is. The complaints are legion, and we all know what they are, because we’ve all made them. The show was too long. The host bombed. His or her opening [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content