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Filmmaker Letter

Filmmaker Letter

Little Fish

by director Chad Hartigan

Thank you so much for clicking this link and presumably being somewhat interested in our film, Little Fish. I am genuinely thrilled that you have the opportunity to safely check it out in a Landmark theater, as it was always intended to play big and loud and uninterrupted. I wish I could spend some time talking about the various reasons I felt compelled to make the film when I first read it, or how amazing it was to work with Olivia Cooke, Jack O’Connell, Soko and Raúl Castillo on it, or tell some funny anecdotes from the set, but there’s clearly one discussion topic that has superseded the rest and must be addressed.

We shot Little Fish in the Spring of 2019. I would describe it to people then as a deeply felt romantic drama set against the science-fiction backdrop of a global pandemic. We put the finishing touches on the edit around February 2020, just as word started to trickle around that a virus was appearing in pockets all across the globe. Now here we are, almost a full year later, releasing the film at last with no shortage of uncertainty still omnipresent and a great deal of our science-fiction turned into fact. As a filmmaker, you know when you set out making something that there’s always a chance audiences might read it differently than you imagined, but rarely are you as certain of it as I am here. There’s simply no getting around the fact that this film hits different now and I’ve had plenty of time to wonder if that’s for better or worse.

Is there room for a film about a fictional pandemic in a world dealing with a very real one? I’m confident that the answer is yes. Particularly one that is first and foremost about love. About how we recognize what is dearest to us and cling to it tightly during unprecedented and unforgiving times. About finding the optimism in a crumbling world around you. Those are all things that I already related to intensely and felt to be universal when I first read the script back in 2018 and only feels more true today. In some ways, we have never been more ready and better equipped to receive a story like this. Or is that just me finding the optimism in a crumbling world around me?

At one point in the film, our protagonist Emma wonders, “When your disaster is everyone’s disaster, how do you grieve?” Somehow, our screenwriter Mattson Tomlin hunched over his computer at some point in 2017 and concisely summarized a thought that would collectively define the world’s frame of mind in 2020. He continued writing his version of a solution to that question and I’m extremely proud to share it with you all now in the hopes that you may find it cathartic and sincere. Thanks again and I hope you enjoy the movie.

Posted January 12, 2021

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