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Sometimes when I have to write an article based on a Variety piece about a first-time screenwriter or director getting a job, it's hard to have anything to say. Today that is not a problem. Spike Jonze has picked up the feature rights to Shane Jones' novel Light Boxes, but instead of directing it, he's handing off those duties to my film school classmate, Ray Tintori.
Since graduating from Wesleyan University in '06, Ray's been slowly building a name for himself, directing music videos for fellow Wes graduates MGMT and The Killers, and submitting his 12-minute thesis film "Death to the Tinman" to the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Out of all the people in our graduating class, he was totally the one who would get the movie deal first.
What's cool about this deal is that Jonze will presumably be shepherding Ray through the process, and will hopefully use his clout to keep whatever Ray comes up with from getting chewed up by the Hollywood machine. Light Boxes is about a town enduring a long winter that teams up to fight February, which is a real character aiming to cause them harm. One Amazon reviewer wrote that it is "in fact a mash-up of several ancient forms, masterfully combined here into a new whole. Throughout the novel are elements of the fable and the fairy tale, of the historical romance, of the satire and the detective story." Another simply called it "Brilliant."
Click on the links below to check out some of Ray's previous work, and understand why this isn't just some inexperienced kid handed a directing job he can't handle. I'm wildly jealous at his success, of course, but even more excited to see what he can do with a real budget and a feature length.
MGMT's "Electric Feel" music video
"Death to the Tinman" (12-minute short)
"Jettison Your Loved Ones" (6-minute short)
My interview with Ray for the Wesleyan Argus -- please no judgments on my interview skills
Embedded below: Ray's video for MGMT's "Kids"