In Actual People, writer-director Kit Zauhar stars as Riley, an “absolutely terrified” college senior adrift in a world where everyone around her seems to have online magazine or startup jobs lined up. But as for Riley? She’s doing “absolutely nothing.”
Described as a “vibrant and talkative” freshman in the new trailer, by the time we meet Riley, she appears “beaten down,” an assertion her character refutes — albeit not very convincingly.
The film has shades of Lena Dunham (think Tiny Furniture or early Girls). But with a large Asian cast, the narrative is able to explore things not seen in many mumblecore films, which are overwhelmingly white. It’s executive produced by Zosia Mamet, who broke out as Shoshanna in Girls.
Actual People made its world premiere at Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland last summer, and then went on to play at Milano Film Festival, Jeonju International Film Festival, Slamdance, and others. Most recently, Actual People won a special jury award at the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival. That jury, on which I served, wrote: “Despite a host of characters who drift in and out of the narrative, make no mistake, Actual People centers on writer-director Kit Zauhar’s transfixing performance as the unraveling Riley. Zauhar’s future as a writer-director is undeniably bright, and this award highlights her equally promising future as an actor as well.”
Next up for Actual People is a screening at BAMcinemafest on June 25 in New York City.
Actual People comes out this fall from Factory 25. It’s produced by Andrew Nadkarni and Jason Wang and executive produced by Mamet, Arabella Oz and Zauhar.
Watch the trailer for Actual People, exclusively debuted by Moviemaker, above.
Main image: writer-director Kit Zauhar stars as Riley in Actual People. Photo courtesy of Owen-Smith Clark / Factory 25