Kendra (Kendra Hurley), Sabin (Sabin Streeter), and Andrew (Andrew Von Urtz) in LOVELESS, a film by Ramin Serry. Picture courtesy Streetlight Films. All rights reserved.

Loveless (2011)

Opened: 02/18/2011 Limited

reRun Theater02/18/2011 - 02/24/20117 days

Trailer: Click for trailer

Websites: Home, Twitter, Facebook

Genre: Dark Romantic Comedy

Rated: Unrated

Short Synopsis

"Loveless" is a darkly witty urban comedy about Andrew, a New York City commitment-phobe stringing along his ex-girlfriend while he chases younger women. When he meets the sexy, secretive Ava, Andrew becomes entangled with her bizarre, cult-like family. Comedy and pathos collide as the family's absurd obsessions leave Andrew doubting his sanity and safety.

Long Synopsis

"Loveless" is a darkly witty urban comedy about Andrew (Andrew Von Urtz), a wryly hilarious commitment-phobe enjoying the single life in New York City. By day, at his crappy desk job, he tortures his droll co-worker Kendra (Kendra Hurley) with sarcasm and teasing, and gets reprimanded by his beleaguered boss Sabin (Sabin Streeter), an old friend who cuts him endless slack. By night, he is a self-proclaimed writer-director with no credits to his name, who tries to pick up girls by offering them roles in his dubious film projects.

At a party thrown by his married friends, Ramin and Shauna, he avoids holding their baby and then runs into his ex-girlfriend, Joanna (Cindy Chastain), a smart, beautiful woman who knows Andrew well enough to see through his schtick, but loves him anyway despite her better judgment. He soon leaves to meet up with his slick, rich friend Tad (Gary Wilmes) to discuss possible financing for one of Andrew s films. When Andrew spots the feisty, sexy young Ava (Genevieve Hudson-Price), he follows her to her home, where her clannish family is holding a birthday party for her odd, overprotective brother Ricky (Scott Cohen). Ricky is suspicious of Andrew and his intentions -- until he finds out that they have something in common: both of their fathers are dead.

Things start to get bizarre when Andrew discovers that Ava and Ricky hold full conversations with their dead father. Weirded out, Andrew turns to Joanna and they cautiously rekindle their relationship. But Andrew finds that he can't shake Ava's family, who are now stalking him. Comedy and pathos collide as Joanna's demands escalate, and Ava's family s absurd obsessions leave Andrew doubting his sanity and safety.

Director's Statement

In 2007, Shauna and I were working on a script about a New York City doorman. We wanted to attach a name actor and seek financing, a process which can take years. During that time, I met the filmmaker Andrew Bujalski, who inspired me to make a much lower budget film using my friends. All I had to do was to pick someone in my life who I thought would be an interesting subject. The first person who came to mind was Andrew Von Urtz.

Andrew and I went to film school together, and we ve been friends for nearly twenty years. A nonprofessional actor who has never appeared in a film before, Andrew is known among his friends for being an incredibly witty and charming yet frustratingly elusive personality. Although the story for Loveless is fiction, Shauna and I based much of it on Andrew s life, and he plays a version of himself that is very close to the real thing.

In the film we learn that Andrew has written a film script, but we never quite find out what that script is about. In real life, Andrew wrote a screenplay called You're Nobody Till Somebody Loves You, about a young man in downtown New York and his encounters with a Russian prostitute. The opening scene describes the young man sorting through the possessions of his recently deceased father. I knew that Andrew never knew his own father, so when I read this scene I felt that it might offer some insight into Andrew's otherwise elusive personality. The idea of lost fathers and their impact on people's personalities and relationships helped form the basis for the story of Loveless.

The characters of Ava and Ricky have also lost their father, but, unlike Andrew, they deal with it in a very open way--a way which he sees as foreign and absurd. Andrew clings to his prized independence, while Ricky and Ava cling to familial bonds. These basic character contrasts dictated how the film was written, cast and directed, and inspired us to develop Loveless as an experiment in contrasting tones.

Andrew's world, for which we sought to create a naturalistic tone, is populated by nonprofessional actors playing versions of themselves. Cindy Chastain, who plays Andrew's ex Joanna, is Andrew's real-life ex-girlfriend. Kendra, Andrew's office-mate, and Sabin, his boss, are both played by his close friends. One exception is that Gary Wilmes, a professional actor, plays the character of Tad. Reality and fiction come together, though, when the real-life Tad makes a cameo, as a banker who, in one scene, is seated next to the fictional Tad.

For the absurdly comic world that Andrew encounters--represented by Ava's family--we cast professional actors. Ricky is played by Scott Cohen, with whom Shauna and I have been friends for years. Ricky's younger brother Paul Jr. is played by Scott Cohen's son, Liam. And Ava is played by Genevieve Hudson-Price, the daughter of the novelist and screenwriter Richard Price; we found Genevieve on an audition tape through our friend Meredith Tucker, who is a casting director.

Shauna produced the film out of our apartment, all the actors wore their own clothes and all the locations were donated by friends. Our daughter, Lily, plays herself in the film. It was truly a labor of love.

-Ramin Serry