That Evening Sun: Indie Starring Hal Holbrook

Hal Holbrook elevates the rural indie drama, “That Evening Sun,” way above its levels of writing and helming by Scott Teems, who’s making his feature directing debut.

Having appeared on stage, TV and film, Holbrook is not exactly a late bloomer.  However, ever since he received a Supporting Actor Oscar Nomination for “Into The Wild,” directed by Sean Penn, he has been enjoying a viable big-screen career, playing substantial roles in worthy projects.

“That Evening Sun” is based on the William Gay’s short story “I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down,” adapted to the screen by Scott Teems, whose script won the Emerging Narrative Screenplay Award at the IFP Market.
Extremely well cast, Holbrook plays Abner Meecham, an aging but still feisty Tennessee farmer discarded to a nursing facility by his lawyer son (Walton Goggins).  Fleeing the old folks home, he catches a ride back to his country farm, hoping to live out the rest of his days in peace. However, upon his return, Meecham discovers that his son had leased the farm to an old enemy and his family.

Stern and stubborn in the mold of old-fashioned American stock, Meecham is not a man to go down easy—or accept defeat.  Moving back into the old tenant shack on the property, he vows to never leave until the farm is returned to his possession.  But Lonzo Choat (Raymond McKinnon), the new tenant, has no intention of moving out or giving in to the demands of a cantankerous old man.

As a result, a ruthless grudge match ensues between Abner and Choat, each man right in his own eyes, each too stubborn to give an inch. Angered by the betrayal of his son and haunted by recurring dreams of his long-dead wife (Dixie Carter, Holbrook’s real-life wife), Abner sets about his own path toward reclaiming his life. Soon lines are drawn and threats are made, and simmering tensions inevitably erupt into violence and savagery.

“That Evening Sun” has played extensively the 2009 film festival circuit, where it has garnered several awards, including Audience Awards for Best Narrative Feature at South by Southwest Film Festival, Sarasota Film Festival and Nashville Film Festival.