Chad Hartigan‘s This Is Martin Bonner was the winner of the audience award for Best of NEXT at Sundance 2013, and now we have our first look ahead of a film’s summer release.
Fifty-something Martin Bonner (Paul Eenhoorn), is a former business manager for a church who has just declared bankruptcy, is a divorced father of two grown kids, an antique seller on eBay in his spare time, a soccer referee, and now is trying speed dating for the first time.
The film seems him moving from the East coast to Reno, Nevada where Martin takes on his first job in two years – a volunteer gig at a prison inmate transition facility, where he starts a friendship with Travis (Richmond Arquette).
The up-and-coming filmmaker said about his sophomore feature film:
When he was 55, my dad had to move to Virginia for a job. He was divorced. I was worried about him, bored and lonely and sad. How he would even go back to doing it, making friends? I realized no movies took that approach to that age group. The job he had was with a prison fellowship company. The more I worked on the script, the more it made sense to include a character that had the same experiences. All the specifics with the actual characters were invented.
Hartigan said about actors:
I wrote the part of Travis for Richmond (Arquette) because I knew him and knew he was a great actor. Paul (Eenhoorn) and Sam (Buchanan) came from open casting calls in LA. Paul’s audition was really warm, a likable person that you could confide in. I called Paul back and found out he was from Seattle. He came down from the one-sentence breakdown. We flew him down again with Richmond to do a read and we knew he was right. A weird inkling he had led to him being one of the breakthrough actors of Sundance.
This Is Martin Bonner, a tale of redemption that may leave its viewers with an uncanny sense of peace, hits limited release on June 28th, 2013.
Check out the trailer below.
Here’s the synopsis:
The striking sophomore film of writer/director Chad Hartigan, THIS IS MARTIN BONNER is a warm and perceptive meditation on friendship, human connection and getting a second chance at life. Fifty-something Martin Bonner (Paul Eenhorn) leaves his old life behind and relocates to Reno, where he finds work helping released prisoners transition to life on the outside, while trying his hand at speed dating and passing time as a soccer referee on weekends. Meanwhile, Travis Holloway (Richmond Arquette) has just been released from prison after serving 12 years. Surprising both of them, Travis and Martin form an unlikely friendship that offers them reciprocal support and understanding.