A one-night stand that becomes something more - an unconventional love story between two young men trying to make sense of their lives.
On a Friday night after hanging out with his straight mates, Russell heads out to a nightclub, alone and on the pull. Just before closing time he picks up Glen. And so begins a weekend - in bars and in bedrooms, getting drunk and taking drugs, telling stories and having sex - that will resonate throughout their lives.
Weekend is the second feature by director Andrew Haigh and stars newcomers Tom Cullen and Chris New. It was produced by Glendale Picture Company with The Bureau, and Co-produced with Synchronicity Films through support from EM Media (the East Midlands regional funding organisation). The film shot for 17 days entirely on location in Nottingham, UK on a budget of under £120,000. It premiered at the SXSW Film Festival in 2011 winning the Emerging Visions Audience Award and picking up North American distribution with IFC’s Sundance Selects label.
During the US festival run it also picked up the Grand Jury Prize and Best Actor Award at the Nashville Film Festival and the Grand Jury Prize at Outfest in Los Angeles. In New York it opened the BAMCinemaFest where A.O. Scott of The New York Times called the film ‘Perfectly realised - a bracing, present-tense exploration of sex, intimacy and love’. The European premiere took place at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in June 2011 taking part in the ‘Forum of Independents’ competition and the film has played at numerous prestigious festivals worldwide including Rome, Ghent, Warsaw, Dinard, & Thessalonki. The UK premiere took place at the London Film Festival in October 2011.
In the US, the film was released theatrically by Sundance Selects in September 2011 (taking over $600,000 on a limited release) and in the UK in November by Peccadillo Pictures (taking over £200,000 on a limited release). It has also secured theatrical distribution in Germany, France, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, Poland & Brazil with more territories coming soon.
By the end of the year the film picked up over 20 international awards including 2 BIFAS and 2 Nominations at the London Critics' Circle Awards and appeared in many 'best of the year' lists including those in The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Telegraph, The Independent, Film Comment, Sight and Sound, Indiewire, Salon, Slate Magazine, AV Club and Total Film.
I wanted to tell an honest, intimate and authentic love story. I wanted to express that feeling of both fear and excitement that comes with the possibility of something new. I wanted to watch these two guys slowly fall for one another, fall for each other’s differences almost as if they were uncovering missing pieces of themselves. I wanted to capture those moments that two people share when they truly start to engage with one another, gently focusing in on the struggles at the core of their characters. Russell and Glen are two people navigating through life in very different ways but both are looking for same thing - to find their place within the world around them. They are trying to work out who they are, what they want and how they should define themselves, in private as well as in public. Obviously when dealing with two gay characters many of these issues become especially pertinent and it was important to me that I tried to say something truthful about the complexities of the modern gay experience. However, just as there are many ways to define a person, the same can be said of a film. I hope that rather than narrowing the resonance of the story, the gay context helps to amplify the themes felt at the heart of Weekend - those struggles we all face regardless of sexuality.