For the last five years, A24 has been distributing and producing some of the best films in the business. They gave us films like Ex Machina, Room, The Witch, Green Room, and Moonlight. Those and many more have helped turn the small studio into a powerhouse.
A24 has also become known for showcasing the talent of up-and-coming directors. Because they give newer directors a chance to shine, we have seen the next generation of talent flourish under A24’s banner. For example, Steven Knight, Alex Garland, Barry Jenkins and Yorgos Lanthimos have all emerged from or gotten a big boost from A24. So fans get excited when A24 connects with a new director’s movie.
Their latest, Lean On Pete, opens on April 6. The British drama is based on Tristan Goligher’s novel, and follows a young man named Charley (Charlie Plummer), who finds work tending for an aging race horse named Lean on Pete. Charley quickly discovers that the owner plans to slaughter the horse. He decides to free Pete, and the two embark on an adventure across the new American frontier.
Lean On Pete comes from a great studio, has an intriguing plot and a great cast, including Chloë Sevigny, Travis Fimmel and Steve Buscemi. It also has an amazing director in Andrew Haigh. He’s only made five films, including Lean On Pete, but his talent is remarkable.
The 45-year-old Haigh hails from Harrogate, North Yorkshire, England and has been in the film industry for quite some time. He was an assistant editor on 14 films, including several for Ridley Scott: Gladiator, Black Hawk Down and Kingdom of Heaven. He began writing and directing in the early 2000s, but he didn’t make his feature film debut until 2009. His film Greek Pete premiered at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in 2009. That same year, Greek Pete won an Artistic Achievement Award at Outfest.
Haigh’s second film, Weekend, which tells the story of a 48-hour relationship between two men, premiered at SXSW in 2011 and quickly became a festival darling. Weekend won many awards including the Audience Award at SXSW, the Grand Jury Prize at L.A. Outfest and London Film Critics’ Circle Award for Breakthrough British Filmmaker. On top of all its accolades, Weekend holds a 95% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
Weekend’s critical success was impressive, but it was nothing compared to his third film, 45 Years. The devastating drama follows a couple who are getting ready to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary. Everything is going great – seemingly – until the husband receives a letter informing him that the body of his lost love has been discovered frozen in a glacier. That story could go in any direction, even into zany comedy, but the film is incredible as it examines how even small gestures and feelings can add up to make a momentous change in a relationship.
45 Years originally debuted at the 65th Berlin International Film Festival, but it eventually received a wide release in the UK and US. The leads, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, received massive praise. In fact, Rampling received an 2015 Oscar nomination for best Actress in a Lead Role. The National Board of Review included it in their list of the Top Ten Independent Films of 2015. It won a slew of festival awards and earned Haigh an impressive reputation.
Haigh also produced, wrote, and directed the acclaimed HBO series Looking. The show chronicled the daily lives of a group of gay men trying to find love. While Looking was canceled, Haigh wrote and directed a feature-length film to wrap up the story. The film was widely praised by fans and critics, who fell in love with the characters Haigh created. His career is still young, but Andrew Haigh is an impressive screenwriter, director and producer – and we’re eager to see his relationship with A24 continue.
Lean on Pete hits theaters on April 6, 2018.