RF: My favorite movie of all time is also a New York movie, which it is Do the right thing. This captures so well this Brooklyn neighborhood and has nothing to do with taking big Brooklyn landmarks, but simply capturing a very specific pocket of the city and the way people talk and the way people walk. Do the right thing he had a lot of junk, and Half Nelson it is very, very low tones. You would think that there are no real parallels. But we spent those moments with all the kids talking on camera throughout the movie – this is straight from Spike Lee’s playbook.
FAR AWAY: Another movie that also has an interesting influence Half Nelson: Pete Solet made a short film entitled Five feet high and up converted to Growing up Victor Vargas. We saw it before we made it Half Nelson, and it was a little inspiration for me to come back Half Nelson in a short because Solett had taken a short in a feature film. It also explores the children who live in this New York community in a truly observational, fun way. It takes the personalities of the real kids who live in these neighborhoods and weaves them into character stories in a way that made sense to us. We showed this short film to our young children who are not actors just before we made our film, just to show them what kind of artistic, weird film we would all make together.
Do the right thing is available for streaming on Netflix and Tubi and for rent on Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, YouTube and Google Play.
Growing up Victor Vargas is available for streaming on Netflix, Vudu, Pluto TV, Amazon Prime Video and Tubi and for rent on Apple TV.
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