WE THE ANIMALS is making waves throughout the film community, bringing home multiple film festival awards and nominations including a Grand Jury Award at LA Outfest and NEXT Innovator and Audience Award nominations at the Sundance Film Festival. The critical acclaim continues to pour in, which shows in the film’s 95% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The Wall Street Journal raves, “Every once in a while a movie grabs you, unsuspecting, and hustles its way into your heart. Jeremiah Zagar’s WE THE ANIMALS does that.”
Actors Raúl Castillo, Sheila Vand and Isaiah Kristian stopped by the Angelika New York for a Q&A on the film’s opening weekend, alongside novelist Justin Torres. For Torres, developing his novel into a film was born over an oyster dinner in Brooklyn with Director Jeremiah Zagar. He was continually impressed by the cinematography and the performances, and relished in seeing the moments that these performers created on screen. He elaborates on seeing his story come to life, here:
Sheila Vand, who plays Ma in the film, loved the nuance and the rawness within her character, and says that there is a ‘beast within her’ that Vand relates to. Vand describes Ma as “A woman trapped into a set of circumstances” due to the young age at which she had children… she feels caged, and is bound by her socioeconomic status.
WE THE ANIMALS puts the idea of masculinity under a microscope, as it follows three young boys growing up in a harsh world. Raul Castillo’s character, the father, displays the most harsh sense of masculinity. Characterization was a bit of a challenge for Castillo, who says he had to withhold judgment of the character in favor of giving him an honest portrayal, with the help of Torres’ author insights.
About the film:
Sundance Film Festival NEXT Innovator Award winner and Audience Award nominee WE THE ANIMALS is being heralded as “mesmerizing” by the Hollywood Reporter, and displays “a distinctive take on the discovery of queer identity.” Manny, Joel and Jonah tear their way through childhood and push against the volatile love of their parents. As Manny and Joel grow into versions of their father and Ma dreams of escape, Jonah embraces an imagined world all his own.
View the trailer:
Where to see it: