Seattle director Bret Fetzer’s My Last Year With the Nuns, a wild, semi-autobiographical coming-of-age comedy written by and starring Matt Smith, will have its Los Angeles premiere September 25-October 1 at the Arena Cinema. On the same day, it will be available nationwide from the online film service Fandor.
It is due to come out on additional VOD channels in coming weeks–stay tuned for more information on that at the film’s Facebook page.
Nuns world premiered at the 2014 Seattle International Film Festival, where it played to two completely sold-out crowds and was included in the “Best of SIFF” program. Eric Kohn of indieWIRE called it “an innovative feature-length monologue…like Amarcord by way of Spalding Gray. A compelling cinematic experiment [and] rich coming-of-age story. [Matt] Smith is never a bore to watch.”
An adaptation of Matt Smith’s acclaimed one-person show, Nuns was filmed at the very Seattle locations where the stories from Smith’s childhood took place, resulting in an unique and surprising hybrid of storytelling and documentary styles about growing up in racially segregated 1960s America.
Since SIFF, My Last Year With the Nuns has played at several other festivals, including the Olympia Film Festival, where it was the opening night film, and the Pickford Film Center’s Doctober documentary series.
Based on Smith’s popular autobiographical play of the same name, Nuns recalls his 8th grade year as a schoolboy in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood in 1966. Using a novel hybrid style that combines stand-up comedy, narrative storytelling, animation, and documentary forms, the film adaptation becomes a wild coming-of-age comedy grounded in Smith’s Catholic education, the casual racism of the time, and the joys and horrors that are male adolescence. While the movies focuses on Smith’s experience, the story glimpses, just beyond the boy’s full comprehension, a society on the cusp of larger cultural shifts around race, sexuality, and morals.
Real-life locations in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood (the churches, houses, and streets) as well as its back alleys and empty lots, frame and illustrate the lives of young Matt and his friends.
My Last Year With the Nuns is directed by Smith’s longtime collaborator, writer/director Bret Fetzer, and produced by indie film alumni Michael Seiwerath (Policebeat, The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle) and Jennessa West of Pressing Pictures (Worst Laid Plans, Lane 1974). The film was shot by cinematographer Benjamin Kasulke (Laggies, Hump Day, Safety Not Guaranteed).
A regular figure in the Northwest theatre, Matt Smith has appeared in several movies, including starring in the short Whiteface and playing prominent supporting roles in independent features The Naked Proof, Outsourced, and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle. Matt also played the mailman in Sleepless in Seattle.
More information about the film can be found at the project’s website, mylastyearwiththenuns.com.