Jeff Nichols is on a roll | Rock Candy

Jeff Nichols is on a roll

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First off: big ups to Derek Jenkins for filling in on the blog so admirably. I was way bummed to miss the film fest, but I couldn't have even approached the insight he brought. Also, I hope everyone's noticed that Nicole Boddington is filing regular reports. We're excited to have her here. Look for her contributions to only increase as she settles in.

The movie news keeps coming. I just got off the phone with Jeff Nichols, director of the Arkansas film "Shotgun Stories" that's been blowing up film festivals for the last several months. I caught Nichols in his laundry room cum office laboring on a draft of a screenplay for "Goat," a film he's just signed on to direct. This is big news for the director. Killer Films, who've been on of the most prominent voices in independent film over the last several decades ("Kids,""Boys Don't Cry," "Hedwig and the Angry Itch;"also where LR native Brad Simpson, featured in an article we did back in 2005, worked for 10 years.), will produce, and while Nichols says he doesn't have a sense of what the film's budget will be exactly, he says it'll be "legit," definitely a multimillion dollar production (low multimillions, but still, he'll have exponentially more to work with than he did on "Shotgun Stories").

The film will be based on the memoir by Brad Land (above), which tells the story of Land's relationship with his brother and how a kidnapping and assault and college fraternity hazing affect their relationship.

Read more below "It's such a good, important story," Nichols said. "Practically it makes a lot of sense for me as a filmmaker. I have other stories of my own that I want to tell, but ones that would be hard to get funded for my second film. And this is a Southern story about brothers and masculinity."

The film was originally slated to be directed by David Gordon Green ("George Washington," "All the Real Girls"), who's one of Jeff's friends and a producer on "Shotgun Stories." When Green's schedule got too hectic, he passed the project to Nichols, but will still serve as a producer.

Nichols is rewriting Green's script to try to put his "fingerprint" on it and says Killer hopes to begin casting at the beginning of June.

That'll make for a busy month for Nichols. Starting June 7, he'll travel back-to-back-to-back to festivals in Newport, Rhode Island, Seattle, and Sydney, Australia.

There's no distribution deal for "Shotgun Stories" yet, but Nichols is still hopeful. Mike Shannon, who plays the lead in "Shotgun Stories," has been getting amazing advance press for "Bug, the William Friedkin ("The Exorcist") horror movie that releases this weekend. That coupled with the announcement of "Goat" and the continuing exposure at film festivals bodes well for the film, Nichols says.

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