AMERICAN TEEN is the touching and hilarious Sundance hit that follows the lives of five teenagers – a jock, a popular girl, a heartthrob, an artsy girl and a geek – in one small town in Indiana through their senior year of high school. We see the insecurities, the cliques, the jealousies, the first loves and heartbreaks, and the struggle to make profound decisions about the future.
Filming daily for ten months, filmmaker Nanette Burstein (ON THE ROPES, THE KID STAYS IN THE PICTURE) developed a deep understanding of her subjects. The result is a film that goes beyond the enduring stereotypes of high school to reveal complex young people trying to find their way into adulthood.
Hannah Bailey is smart and beautiful, but a misfit in her high school. She is a liberal living in a traditional, Christian, conservative town and dreams of moving to California after graduation. Colin Clemens is the star of the high school basketball team – and in Indiana, basketball is everything. Colin is under enormous pressure this year playing not only to make his town, his school, and his father proud, but for a college scholarship. Jake Tusing is considered to be a nerd in high school. Though quite funny and charming one-on-one, he is painfully shy in group situations and crushed with self-doubt. In his senior year, he vows that nothing will stand in the way of him finding a girlfriend. Megan Krizmanich is the student council vice president and the youngest daughter of a prominent local surgeon, anxiously awaiting word from the University of Notre Dame admissions. Wealthy, pretty, smart and popular, she rules her high school – just don’t get on her bad side. When Megan’s peers challenge her authority, she can’t help but take action, even if it means risking her future. Mitch Reinholt is an attractive and charming Varsity basketball player with a soft side. When he puts his social status on the line, avoiding his popular friends for dates with artsy Hannah Bailey, he strains to maintain his reputation while discovering a new side of himself.
With extraordinary intimacy and a great deal of humor, AMERICAN TEEN captures the pressures of growing up – pressures that come from one’s peers, one’s parents, and not least, oneself.
Paramount Vantage presents AMERICAN TEEN, directed by Nanette Burstein. The film is an A&E Indiefilms Presentation of a Firehouse Films and Quasiworld Entertainment production in association with 57th and Irving. The producers are Nanette Burstein, Jordan Roberts, Eli Gonda and Chris Huddleston. The executive producers are Elisa Pugliese, Patrick Morris, Molly Thompson, Nancy Dubuc and Rob Sharenow. The behind-the-scenes team includes directors of photography Laela Kilbourn and Wolfgang Held and editors Mary Manhardt and Tom Haneke. The animation was created by Blacklist.