Trapped in a dead-end industrial town in Maine, two teenage best friends (The Place Beyond the Pines’ Emory Cohen and The Great Gatsby's Callan McAuliffe) take tragically different paths to realize their dream of making it to the big city, in this vividly detailed fiction feature debut from veteran documentary filmmakers Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly.

Discovery

Beneath The Harvest Sky

Aron Gaudet, Gita Pullapilly

Dominic (Callan McAuliffe) and Casper (Emory Cohen) are restless teenagers stuck in the dying industrial town of Van Buren, Maine, with nothing much to do besides push old jalopies off cliffs, shoot potato guns and chase moose along the back roads at night. The boys dream of leaving Van Buren and moving to Boston, so they can catch the Sox whenever they please. But to do that they need money — and how they get money is where these best friends most obviously differ. Dominic spends the harvest working on a potato farm, while Casper falls into a drug-running scheme with his old man Clayton (Game of Thrones' Aidan Gillen), a gig that is just as likely to land him in jail as to help him escape.

Co-writers and directors Aron Gaudet and Gita Pullapilly bring to Beneath the Harvest Sky, their fiction feature debut, an impressive background in documentary, and a dazzlingly high degree of sensitivity to adolescent frustrations. Their depiction of small-town life is vivid: the abandoned houses and open fields, the teenage pregnancies and embittered divorced parents, the good times and bad blood. Clayton's illegal enterprise is being quietly investigated by the Feds, and, unbeknownst to him, someone close to him has turned informant.

With its engrossing network of narrative threads involving young loves, troubled alliances, and terrible betrayals, Beneath the Harvest Sky offers a feast of poignant and engaging details. And its central performance from Cohen — who made such an impression at last year's Festival in The Place Beyond the Pines — marks the arrival of a fierce new talent.

JANE SCHOETTLE

Screenings

Sun Sep 08

Scotiabank 3

Regular
7:00pm
Mon Sep 09

Scotiabank 10

Industry
1:45pm
Tue Sep 10

The Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Regular
11:45am
Thu Sep 12

Scotiabank 4

Industry
1:15pm
Fri Sep 13

TIFF Bell Lightbox 2

Regular
6:15pm