Loren Cass: Kino Releases Acclaimed Indie

Kino International has acquired and will release of the American independent feature “Loren Cass,” directed, written and edited by first-time filmmaker Chris Fuller.  Shot entirely in St. Petersburg, Florida, with a small crew and tight budget, Loren Cass was praised on the film festival circuit in 2007. The film was one of the five nomineesfor the Best Undistributed Film award at the IFP Gotham Awards.

Loren Cass will premiere in New York City on July 24, 2009, at the Cinema Village. The film will expand to other major markets during the summer and fall of 2009, before a release on DVD at the end of the year.

Set in 1997, the film centers on a group of teenagers (living in St. Petersburg) who struggle to make sense of their lives after the widespread urban rioting provoked by the brutal real-life killing of 18-year-old Tyron Lewis. Lewis, an African American, was gunned down by a white police officer. Following three central characters (Nicole, Jason and Cale) and some supporting ones, Loren Cass captures a wide spectrum of responses to teen angst and racial discrimination on the streets of St. Petersburg.

The narrative gains momentum as Jason (Travis Maynard) plays a prank on a black man with the help of his friend Cale (director Fuller under the pseudonym Lewis Brogan). We also witness an alcoholic principal drown his sorrows (and responsibilities) at the local high school, while one of his students loads a .357 Magnum in a bathroom stall.

The marginalized characters in Loren Cass exist in direct relation to the larger socio-cultural contexts of racial relations, adolescent suicide and gang violence in suburban America. As one reflects about these characters’ environment, the connections between psychological malaise and the traumatic fissures in their society become all too clear.