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Posted by Sara on April 06, 2022

The family depicted in “As They Made Us” is unhappy in its own way, but even Tolstoy would have to admit that these folks aren’t as interesting as they could be.

Mayim Bialik’s feature writing and directing debut was inspired by some of her own relationships. The movie rings true, with just enough convincing, oddball details to distinguish it from the generic run of dying parent dramas. Still, this fictionalized family — let’s call them the fraying Frays — seems like it could have been imagined with more distinctive traits, anxieties and issues.

The film is worth watching thanks to a flawless central performance by “Glee” alum Dianna Agron, solid elder annoyance shtick from Candice Bergen and Dustin Hoffman, and Bialik’s “Big Bang Theory” co-star Simon Helberg locating his pain and relishing every minute of it.

Burlingame High School graduate Agron plays the stressed but resilient Abigail Fray, a divorced mother of two rambunctious boys with a nice enough ex (Charlie Weber) and a decent house, despite her only apparent income source being a column for Modern Jew magazine. She almost never works on that, by the way, and we can tell that her parents live modestly because Abi is always running over to their place.

Barbara Fray (Bergen) calls or texts whenever dad Eugene (Hoffman) falls and can’t get up, or she has to fire another caretaker because they gave Eugene pot gummies or something. The movie jumps around in time, from Abi and brother Nathan’s childhood with their combative, sometimes physically abusive parents, to various stages of the heroine’s adult life. Every period is marked by different problems with the elder Frays that all, more or less, play out the same.

Barbara is stubborn, often wrong, likes her wine and always says the most inappropriate things. That reaches an embarrassing/amusing peak when Mom calls while Abi tries to get her cute landscaper Jay (East Bay native Justin Chu Cary) to come on in her kitchen, but Barbara’s more often just flat-out appalling. Eugene’s mulish too, but grows vulnerable as his never-specified degenerative condition moves inexorably into its final, fatal stage.

Nathan, played by Helberg as an adult, cut out on the domestic drama 20 years earlier after Eugene slapped the lad for wanting to have sex with his girlfriend. Odd, since the parents aren’t religious and claim to be arty types from the Swinging ’60s, but we all have relatives who get weird over things they shouldn’t. Anyway, lots of Abi’s fixer energy goes toward luring Nathan home to reconcile with Dad before it’s too late.

There’s something admirably centered about Agron’s work. She waits until the last, logical moment to indulge in overt breakdown behavior, with a few nicely played steam-releases earlier on. Unlike her brother, Abi never lets well-earned exasperation with the elder Frays strangle her love, despite the many times they’re just asking to be throttled. Both Bergen and Hoffman strike the right notes of obnoxiousness, agony and regret whenever required. But they’re consummate pros plying their trade; Agron’s is the only organic presence.

With cinematographer David Feeney-Mosier, Bialik displays a subtle sense of lighting and composition that makes “As They Made Us” look like more than a TV movie. The material is the kind of stuff that TV actors would consider a creative stretch, but this is hardly “The Father.”

The project’s original title was “As Sick as They Made Us,” no doubt changed for reasons of taste. But if a dysfunctional family is going to make an impression, good taste should not be a factor.

L“As They Made Us”: Family drama. Starring Dianna Agron, Candice Bergen, Dustin Hoffman and Simon Helberg. Directed by Mayim Bialik. (R. 96 minutes.) Opens at the Summerfield Cinema in Santa Rosa and available through video on demand starting Friday, April 8.

Posted by Sara on March 29, 2022

Hello Dianna Nation! Dianna starts her two-week long Café Carlyle Residency tonight (her third time at the legendary Manhattan nightclub), and for that occasion she did a great new interview with Broadway World. This interview gave us so much new and exciting information! For starters, Dianna will start shooting a new film right after her time at Café Carlyle. According to her, this is a psychological horror film that will began shooting next month in Austin.

Stay tuned for updates this coming week, as we will of course share any photos, videos or interviews related to Café Carlyle!

When Dianna Agron takes the stage at the Cafe Carlyle tomorrow night, it will be her third time to play the legendary Manhattan nightclub. A singing actress for almost as long as she has been a hotel-dweller, the innovative artist takes great pride and much joy in being a part of the re-opening of the nightclub where played such important artists as Barbara Cook, Elaine Stritch, and Bobby Short. Always taking great care to curate music for her shows that will create a musical experience for her devoted audiences, Ms. Agron has spent the last month meticulously lining up compositions that will give the people sitting in the seats out front that which she feels is most valuable at this time: joy.

Before taking those exciting first steps onto the stage tomorrow night, Dianna Agron took out a few minutes to take a call today from Broadway World Cabaret to discuss the importance of indie film making, the experience of watching New York City come back to life after the lockdown, and why her choice of music right now is songs that she took no part in creating.
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Posted by Sara on February 10, 2022

I just came online to some exciting news, Dianna fans! Quiver has acquired Dianna’s upcoming film ‘As They Made Us‘ (originally ‘As Sick as They Made Us’), and it is set for release in theaters and on VOD on April 8. That means we get Dianna back on our big screens in just two months – make sure to save the date! You can read the Deadline exclusive below.

DEADLINE EXCLUSIVE: Quiver Distribution has acquired Mayim Bialik’s feature directorial debut As They Made Us, starring Diana Agron (Shiva Baby, Glee), Simon Helberg (Annette, The Big Bang Theory), Oscar nominee Candice Bergen (Let Them All Talk, Starting Over) and two-time Oscar winner Dustin Hoffman (The Meyerowitz Stories, Rain Main), slating it for release in theaters and on VOD on April 8.

The dysfunctional family dramedy written and directed by the former Big Bang Theory star follows Abigail (Agron), a divorced mother of two, who is struggling to balance the dynamic forces within her dysfunctional family as she attempts to cultivate new love.

Justin Chu Cary (Blindspotting, Black Summer), Charlie Weber (After We Collided, How to Get Away with Murder) and Bialik’s Call Me Kat co-star Julian Gant round out the cast. Yale Productions’ Jordan Beckerman and Jordan Yale Levine produced with Anne Clements, Michael Day, Mark Maxey and the late Ash Christian, with Quiver Distribution Co-Presidents Berry Meyerowitz and Jeff Sackman exec producing. BondIt Media Capital served as the film’s financier, with Matthew Helderman and Luke Taylor exec producing for the company.

“We are thrilled to be able to share Mayim’s feature film debut with audiences,” said Meyerowitz and Sackman in a joint statement. “With a stellar cast in an intelligent and funny film, this relatable family story and Mayim’s touching script will surely hit home with viewers across many generations.”

“As a first-time director, it is nothing short of a dream to write for and direct a cast this accomplished, passionate, and intellectually committed to this film,” added Bialik. “As They Made Us is about a family’s tumultuous and hilarious journey from chaos to serenity. Making one’s first film is also that journey.”

Quiver Distribution is a film production, acquisition and distribution company founded by Meyerowitz and Sackman that recently acquired Kew Media Distribution’s library of 700 titles. It produced and this year will release Walter Hill’s Western Dead for a Dollar with Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, and Rachel Brosnahan, and Neil LaBute’s Out of the Blue, with Diane Kruger, Ray Nicholson, Hank Azaria and Chase Sui Wonders.

Past releases include the disaster thriller 13 Minutes with Amy Smart, Thora Birch, and Paz Vega; The Survivalist starring John Malkovich and Jonathan Rhys Meyers; Crisis starring Gary Oldman and Evangeline Lily; the iTunes and Amazon bestseller Paradise City starring Andy Biersack, Bella Thorne and Cameron Boyce; Viggo Mortensen’s directorial debut Falling, in which he starred alongside Lance Henriksen and Laura Linney; Chick Fight, starring Malin Akerman, Alec Baldwin and Bella Thorne; I Am Woman, starring Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Danielle McDonald and Evan Peters; Becky, starring Kevin James and Lulu Wilson; and The Lost Husband starring Josh Duhamel and Leslie Bibb.

Lawrence Greenberg negotiated the As They Made Us deal on behalf of Quiver, with Film Mode Entertainment’s Clay Epstein on behalf of the filmmakers.

Posted by Sara on October 23, 2021

Hello Dianna fans – we finally have something somewhat new! Dianna performed for “Selected Shorts” in 2019, and they have now uploaded the story online. She performed Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you?“, a story about a marriage which turns into a one-sided game of Marco Polo with some fatal consequences.

Selected Shorts is a podcast, which they summarize as follows: “Our greatest actors transport us through the magic of fiction, one short story at a time. Sometimes funny. Always moving. Selected Shorts connects you to the world with a rich diversity of voices from literature, film, theater, and comedy. New episodes every Thursday, from Symphony Space.”

Guest host Cynthia Nixon presents stories by two masters of the short-story form. Humor, humanity, and fantasy all combine in four tales of things gone wrong. In “Fly Already” by Etgar Keret, performed by Liev Schreiber, a widower and his small son watch a drama unfold. In “Where Are You?” by Joyce Carol Oates, performed by Dianna Agron, a demanding husband pushes his wife to the limit. In “One Gram Short” by Etgar Keret, performed by Ira Glass, a stoner makes a really bad deal; and Oates’ “Assassin” combines tongue-in-cheek horror and political satire. Becky Ann Baker is the reader.

Posted by Sara on October 22, 2021

“Shiva Baby” has been nominated in the categories Breakthrough Director (Emma Seligman) and Breakthrough Performer (Rachel Sennott) at the Gotham awards, commonly referred to as the first prominent awards ceremony kicking off the award season! Big congratulations to Dianna’s director and co-star. If we’re lucky, the film will continue to do well at the upcoming awards season, and Dianna will attend lots of events to support the film and crew.

The 31st annual Gotham Awards ceremony will take place on November 29 at Cipriani Wall Street. If Dianna attends to support Rachel and Emma, we will of course provide full coverage!

“The Green Knight,” “The Lost Daughter,” “Passing,” “Pig” and “Test Pattern” will compete for best feature film at the 31st annual Gotham Awards. The event is a key stop in the awards season marathon, particularly for lower-budget indie fare that is looking to elbow into the Oscars race.

At the Gothams, “Passing,” a black-and-white drama that examines racism and colorist, and “The Lost Daughter,” a searing look at motherhood, led the pack with five nominations apiece. Close behind was “CODA,” a tender look at a teenager who is the only hearing member of a deaf family, which earned three nominations including breakthrough performer for its star, Emilia Jones. “Red Rocket,” the story of a washed-up porn star who returns to his hometown, also nabbed three nominations. (Read full list of nominees)

Posted by Sara on October 09, 2021

Finally some proper news, Dianna fans!! “The Laureate” will be closing the Mallorca Film Festival, which is being held in Spain between October 27th and November 2nd. We will of course provide full coverage from the festival, so stay tuned for some big updates next month!

After a pandemic induced 2020 hybrid edition, the 10th edition of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival will take place as a wholly in-person event.

The festival will open with Benito Zambrano’s Mallorca-set literary adaptation “Lemon and Poppy Seed Cake” (Spain). Zambrano will be present with principal cast. It will close with the world premiere of William Nunez’s 1920s-set “The Laureate” (U.K.), based on the acclaimed war poet Robert Graves’ unconventional home life. Nunez and his principal cast, Tom Hughes, Dianna Agron and Laura Haddock, as well as the Graves family, will be in attendance. Both films are part of the international features competition.

In addition, the festival has a documentary features international competition and a documentary features Made in Balearics competition as well as a robust shorts program.

In all, the 139 films at the festival include 27 world premieres, 31 Spanish premieres and 12 European premieres from 32 countries.

“Our line-up this year invites us to have tea with Robert Graves in the English countryside, eat lemon cake in the mountains of Mallorca, experience first love in Paris and come of age in China; we can witness bohemian nights in northern California, cultural clashes in Berlin and even be sent to Mars,” said festival director and curator Sandra Seeling Lipski. “I am happy to say that our international competition feature film line-up presents a majority of female-directed features – and six out of the 10 films in contention in this category are first features, too.”

“Evolution discovers new talents and connects them to industry professionals over seven days on the island of Mallorca; this specific mix creates a powerful energy to explore cultures and create new projects together,” Lipski added.

Public non-profit tourism organisation Fundacion Mallorca Turismo is the main sponsor for the 2021 edition, with Portixol Hotel and Restaurant as the official festival hotel partner.