For Ira Sachs and Jennifer Ehle, moviemaking is less of a job than it is a way of life. Sachs' fascination with the film world began while attending Sundance Film Festival in his early teens. After college, he spent three months in Paris, where he saw three films a day — one hundred and ninety-seven films in total. Though Sachs never attended film school, his enthusiasm for movie-watching eventually lead him to a life of self-taught filmmaking, a successful directing career (Love is Strange, Keep the Lights On), and a position as a film professor at NYU (who had rejected his application years earlier). Ehle, meanwhile, was raised by the iconic stage and screen actor Rosemary Harris. Following in her mother's footsteps, Ehle went on to blaze her own trail to critical acclaim in movies like Zero Dark Thirty, Contagion, and the BBC's Pride and Prejudice, as well as two Tony-winning stage performances.
These two Hollywood powerhouses are brought together by Sachs' movie Little Men, a project that chronicles the story of two boys living in a gentrifying Brooklyn neighborhood. At the same time as the children become best friends, their parents become embroiled in a real estate dispute. "It's one of the most beautiful scripts I had read," Ehle shares with host Ophira Eisenberg. "It's very truthful. It's about love, and [about] people. You really feel like you get to know these people intimately, and that's quite a rare experience in film." While Sachs is quick to share the fact that this is a very personally driven narrative, he is confident that the overarching themes of the film will be relatable to all audiences. As he puts it, "Everyone worries about where they're gonna live and how they're gonna pay for it."
To celebrate Ehle's two Tony wins and Sachs' cinephilia, we curated a challenge in which the worlds of stage and screen collide. Ophira Eisenberg and Jonathan Coulton perform dramatic readings from movie adaptations of plays that either won or were nominated for a Tony Award, and our guests must determine which movie they are quoting.
Ira Sachs on his goals as a film professor at NYU
I always tried to give my students the initiative to take their work seriously.
Ira Sachs on his motivation for founding the Queer Art Film festival
I would like to see a whole apparatus that supports and encourages and gives artists the permission to tell these stories. Capitalism does not do that.
Jennifer Ehle on winning a Tony Award when she was nominated alongside her mother
My mother couldn't be more wonderful and supportive. We were both thrilled to be nominated, and neither of us expected to win.