Local produce: New film, 'Take Shelter,' wins acclaim in Cannes

Charlottesville seems to be a lucky charm for filmmakers these days. Several recent locally made documentaries have found wider audiences at international film festivals and on PBS. Now, another film with a local connection will show at the most prestigious festival of all: Cannes.

Take Shelter, a feature film that follows a husband and father as he struggles with what's either the coming apocalypse or the onset of schizophrenia, was dubbed a "work of art" by Vanity Fair, and has already won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Now, it's one of only seven films– and the only American picture– selected for the Cannes International Critics Week line-up, a 50-year-old competition for first and second-time filmmakers that runs concurrently as part of the Cannes film festival, which takes place May 11-20 in that city on the French Riviera.

"We're very excited," says the film's executive producer, Keswick-based Chris Perot. A 1997 Albemarle High School grad, Perot notes that Take Shelter, written and directed by Jeff Nichols (Shotgun Stories) and starring Oscar-nominated actor Michael Shannon, is the first effort for Strange Matter Films, the production company she formed back in 2006 with UVA grad and current Cleveland-area resident Tyler Davidson. (Another UVA grad, Derek Sieg, director of Swedish Auto, was an early partner in Strange Matter but has since "amicably" parted ways, says Perot). 

Take Shelter has already been picked up for distribution by Sony Classics, and various film websites are already suggesting Shannon as an Oscar contender for the role.

"We've been looking for the right movie to make," Perot says. "Apparently this was it."