Antonio Campos

'Afterschool' finds teen wrestling with adolescence

Antonio Campos admits that anyone who watches “Afterschool,” which premiered in Cannes’ Un Certain Regard section last year, might assume that his intensely visual and disturbing film involving a 10th-grader armed with a video camera is autobiographical. “It is, in a way,” Campos says, “but I wasn’t in a video class nor did I ever discover two girls dead of drug overdoses like he does.”

 The film is the writer-director’s long-gestating response to the emotions and experiences he had in the aftermath of Sept. 11 during his senior year in high school, which began with the death of a friend’s father in one of the Twin Towers and ended with another friend dying in a freak accident in Amsterdam.

“It was weird struggling with ideas of mortality at that age, but while they felt close, at the same time I was disconnected. I think that I reinterpreted this in film terms by capturing emotions, but with a certain visual distance on events,” he says.

With a Brazilian-born journalist father who encouraged the family to watch foreign and indie films and an Italian-American mother whose taste tended toward classical Hollywood, Campos thinks he received “the perfect balance of tastes and influences.” At 13, he lied about his age and told everyone he was 16 in order to make the cutoff for the New York Film Academy’s teen program, where he wrote his first short film, “Puberty.”

The budding helmer’s string of 14 shorts was capped with his formally inventive “Buy It Now,” which premiered in CineVegas in 2005 and won best short in Cannes’ Cinefondation contest, earning Campos a coveted scholarship to the French festival’s annual artists’ residence program.

“Tony started making films when most of us were fooling around on our skateboards,” says producing partner and fellow director Sean Durkin, who (with Campos and producer Josh Mond), formed Borderline Films soon after the trio met at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. “I think that’s why he has such a strong artistic voice at an early age.”

Mond adds, “Tony has an honesty as a director and collaborator that most people can’t come close to, and he can express it.”

 After serving as producer on Durkin’s first feature, provisionally titled “Martha Marcy May Marlene” and now in pre-production, Campos plans to shoot his next film, “Momma,” about a boy and his mother, near the end of 2009.

Age: 25

Home base: New York

Inspired by: Stanley Kubrick. “For me, he reached a place in cinema that no other filmmaker has managed,” Campos says.

Rep: Agent: David Flynn and Rich Klubeck at UTA; manager: Melissa Breaux at Washington Square Arts

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Levan Akin on the Impact of

    Levan Akin on the Impact of ‘And Then We Danced’

    Georgian-Swedish filmmaker Levan Akin is already enjoying success with “And Then We Danced,” his acclaimed social drama about a young dancer struggling with the confines of tradition and forbidden love. The film, which premiered in Directors’ Fortnight in Cannes, went on to win three top awards at the Odessa Film Festival, including best film and [...]

  • Brian Oliver'Black Mass' Premiere, Toronto International

    'Rocketman' Producer Developing Comedy 'Inward Bound' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Brian Oliver’s New Republic Pictures, the company that co-financed and produced “Rocketman,” is developing a female ensemble comedy “Inward Bound.” The announcement comes on the heels of Universal’s “Good Boys” becoming the first R-rated comedy to open in first place at the North American box office  in three years, as well as the biggest opening [...]

  • Heroic Losers

    Watch Clip from Ricardo Darin’s Toronto-Bound ‘Heroic Losers’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Variety has been given access to an exclusive clip and poster from Toronto Social Presentation “La Odisea de los Giles” (“Heroic Losers”) which, starring Ricardo Darín, has just scored in is native Argentina a standout opening weekend of Peso 58.8 million ($1.1 million) and 316,300 admissions for Warner Bros. Pictures. With “Heroic Losers” having released [...]

  • "The Hunt"

    'The Hunt' Director Breaks Silence on Film's Cancellation (EXCLUSIVE)

    Craig Zobel, director of “The Hunt,” hopes that the controversial political thriller will eventually be seen by audiences, and argues that its message has been misrepresented in media reports. Zobel spoke for the first time since Universal canceled the film’s release on Aug. 10, in the wake of a series of mass shootings and amid [...]

  • Mark Damon, CEO & Chairman, Foresight

    Mark Damon's DCR Finance Receives $150 Million for Financing Georgia Films (EXCLUSIVE)

    Mark Damon’s DCR Finance Corp., co-headed with financer Adi Cohen, has received a $150 million investment from Go Media Productions for Georgia projects, Variety has learned exclusively. Damon, whose credits include “2 Guns” and “Lone Survivor,” made the announcement Monday with Cohen. The deal calls for Atlanta-based Go Media Productions to join a private placement as [...]

  • Finding Farideh

    Oscars: Iran Picks Doc 'Finding Farideh' As International Feature Film Contender

    “Finding Farideh,” a feature-length documentary about an Iranian girl adopted at infancy by a Dutch couple who 40 years later travels to Iran in search of her biological parents, is Iran’s candidate for the recently renamed International Feature Film Oscar. Co-directed by young Tehran-based duo Azadeh Mousavi and Kourosh Ataee, the doc bridges East and West. [...]

  • Dogs Don’t Wear Pants

    Buyers Catch Valkeapaa's ‘Dogs Don’t Wear Pants’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Rolling off its Cannes Directors’ Fortnight world bow, J.-P. Valkeapää’s BDSM movie “Dogs Don’t Wear Pants” has been sold by The Yellow Affair to new U.K. distributor Anti-Worlds for the U.K. and Ireland, as well as to The Klockworx Co for Japan, Ama Films for Greece, HHG for Russia/CIS, Pilot Film for the Czech Republic [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content