Courtney Hunt and Melissa Leo & Misty Upham Exclusive Video Interviews – FROZEN RIVER

     July 30, 2008

Written by Heather

The Grand Jury Prize winner at this year’s Sundance Film Festival was a littler-than-little out-of-nowhere indie named Frozen River. It’s written and directed by Courtney Hunt—a filmmaker with no other credits on IMDB—and stars hardworking actress Melissa Leo, whose biggest roles to date have been in 21 Grams and on TV crime dramas. So obviously the movie must be damn good.

Frozen River is about Ray Eddie (Leo), a struggling trailer park mom in economically depressed upstate New York whose gambling addict husband has disappeared two days before Christmas leaving her and their sons with nothing to eat but popcorn and Tang. She dreams of nothing more fiercely than a comfortable double-wide, but her go-nowhere dollar store job just won’t cut it. When a local Mohawk woman, Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham), steals her car, Ray is inadvertently introduced to the world of illegal immigrant smuggling across the Canadian border—and the much needed income it provides.

It is definitely a bit of a heavy watch, but it is indeed a good one if you are into thought-provoking indie dramas.

Frozen River opens in New York and LA on August 1.

Courtney Hunt

  • We start off discussing how she came up with the inspiration for a drama about using Indian reservations to smuggle immigrants across the US-Canada border

  • Meeting with real smugglers for research

  • How Frozen River started off as a short

  • Winning Sundance and how that changes things

Melissa Leo & Misty Upham

  • How it was working together on this movie

  • How Courtney Hunt told me Misty is a total gossip hound on the set

  • What it’s like taking on such unhappy, hard characters

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