AFI Catalog of Feature Films
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Wendy and Lucy
Alternate Title: Train Choir
Director: Kelly Reichardt (Dir)
Release Date:   Dec 2008
Premiere Information:   World premiere at Cannes Film Festival: week of 25 May 2008; New York opening: 10 Dec 2008; Los Angeles opening: 12 Dec 2008
Production Date:   Aug 2007 in Portland, OR
Duration (in mins):   80
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Cast:   Michelle Williams (Wendy [Carroll])  
    Lucy the dog (Herself)  
    David Koppell (Kid by fire)  
    Max Clement (Kid by fire)  
    Sid Shanley (Kid by fire)  
    Dave Hubner (Kid by fire)  
    Michelle Worthy (Sadie)  
    Will Oldham (Icky)  
    Walter Dalton (Security guard)  
    Roger Faires (Recycler in wheelchair)  
    Boggs Johnson (Recycling man)  
    Tanya Smith (Grocery checker)  
    Michael Brophy (Grocery store stocker)  
    John Robinson (Andy)  
    John Breen (Mr. Hunt)  
    Deneb Catalan (Male cop)  
    Skeeter Green (Female cop)  
    Marilyn Hickey (Police administrator)  
    Jeanine Jackson (Grocery cashier)  
    Brenna Beardsley (Grocery cashier)  
    Winfield Jackson (Teenager by car)  
    Gabe Nevins (Teenager by car)  
    Connor O'Shea (Teenager by car)  
    Josh Larsen (Teenager by car)  
    Ayanna Berkshire (Pound employee)  
    Dan Wilson (Man on bus)  
    Greg Schmitt (Mechanic in garage)  
    Will Patton (Mechanic [Bill])  
    David Rives Curtright (Man reading book)  
    Larry Fessenden (Man in park)  
    Holly Cundiff (Security guard's woman)  
    James Yu (Cab driver)  
    George Haapala (Home owner)  
    Deirdre O'Connell (Phone call voice, Deb)  
    M Blash (Phone call voice, Dan)  

Summary: Taking her savings of just over five hundred dollars, young itinerant Wendy Carroll along with her yellow-gold dog Lucy, leaves Indiana to find work in the fish-canning factories in Ketchikan, Alaska. Traveling in Wendy's old car, they follow a route Wendy has carefully plotted on a map and keep mostly to themselves except for stopping at an occasional camp site. Along the way, Wendy keeps detailed track of their progress and her meager funds in a notebook. Upon arriving in Oregon, Wendy and Lucy spend the night in the car in a pharmacy parking lot until they are awakened the next morning by an older security guard. The man regretfully tells Wendy that they cannot sleep there but when, to Wendy's dismay, the car will not start, he helps her push the vehicle to the curb. The guard assures Wendy that the garage across the street is reliable and that there is a market just down the street. Waiting for the garage to open, Wendy provides Lucy with bottled water, then discovers that there is only a handful of dried dog food remaining. The girl and dog stop at a gas station nearby and, leaving Lucy tied up outside, Wendy washes and changes clothes in the bathroom. Afterward, she and Lucy wander the town as Wendy retrieves several aluminum cans to sell at a recycling store. In line at the shop, however, Wendy grows uncomfortable with a man in a wheelchair who has no cans, so gives her few to him. Later, Wendy and Lucy head to the grocery store where Wendy leaves Lucy tied to a bicycle rack at the store’s entrance. Going through the aisles, Wendy takes two cans of premium dog food and places them in her bag, then just as she steps through the door, a stock boy, Andy, stops her, accuses her of shoplifting and takes her to the manager. Although the older man responds sympathetically to Wendy’s sincere apology and Spartan appearance, Andy is adamant that the store rules be followed, and the police are summoned. Although Wendy pleads with them to allow her to retrieve the still waiting Lucy, she is taken directly to the police station where she is photographed, fingerprinted and held in a cell until mid-afternoon. After paying a fifty dollar fine, an anxious Wendy takes a bus back to the grocery store but is stunned to find Lucy gone. When Wendy inquires inside, a cashier vaguely remembers seeing a van retrieve the dog, but cannot be certain. Wendy circles the market several times calling for Lucy to no avail, then returns to her car near the pharmacy. After Wendy reveals to the guard that Lucy has gone missing, he kindly tells her that the pound is three miles away. Agreeing with the guard that it is too late to check the pound that day, Wendy uses a nearby pay phone to call her sister Deb in Muncie. Her brother-in-law Dan answers and is sympathetic to Wendy’s hesitant explanations, but when Deb gets on an extension line, she is suspicious that Wendy only wants money and brushes her sister aside before hanging up. Wendy spends the night huddled in her car, then the next morning, after washing up at the gas station, hurries to the pound. Although there is no record of a dog matching Lucy’s description, Wendy fills out a detailed report, then walks through the kennel hoping to find her companion. Returning to the garage, which is now open, Wendy tells the mechanic, Bill, that she was warned several hundred miles back that her engine belts were well worn. Despite the car being parked across the street, Bill informs her they must tow it, but upon seeing Wendy’s stricken face, he offers her a discount for the service. Later that afternoon, after clearing out the car of her personal items so it can be repaired, Wendy asks the guard to give her change so she might call the pound. Instead he offers her use of his cell phone, then tells her she may give the pound that number for messages. After learning that the pound still has no information on Lucy, Wendy makes up a lost dog sign with Lucy’s photo and places copies around town. Later, she chats with the pharmacy guard, who reveals that there are few jobs in the area, then relates a childhood situation about a lost dog that was found after family members left a piece of their clothing at various spots where they had been with the dog. After wandering by the train tracks, Wendy leaves items of her clothing at the few places where she has been with Lucy. That night, lulled by the comforting sounds of the trains passing, Wendy decides to sleep in the wooded hills above the tracks. Finding some large pieces of cardboard, she settles down on them to sleep only to be awaken later by the sounds of someone going through her bag. Terrified, Wendy remains motionless as a man’s voice orders her not to look at him, then comments that kids use the cardboard to slide down the hill. The man’s monologue grows increasingly erratic, filled
with profanity and growing anger, so when he moves off, Wendy darts away. Running through the darkened streets, Wendy returns to the gas station lavatory where she bursts into tears of anxiety and frustration, before realizing that she must hold herself together to find Lucy. Wendy then waits outside of the pharmacy for the guard to arrive for his shift and is startled when he arrives late in civilian clothes. After explaining that it is his day off, he informs Wendy that she had a call the prior evening. Wendy then uses his cell phone to contact the pound and she is heartened to learn that Lucy had been retrieved the first day and immediately placed in a foster home that had only just been noted in the records. Relieved, Wendy returns the phone to the guard who then kindly gives her seven dollars and wishes her luck. Wendy then goes to the garage where Bill reveals that her car’s engine needs to be rebuilt and the cost would be more than the car is worth. Devastated, Wendy agrees to pay for the towing and labor before taking a cab out to the foster home caring for Lucy. As she approaches, Wendy sees a pleasant looking older man drive away from the small but tidy house with a well kept fenced yard, then spots Lucy resting in the grass. Calling to her friend, the two reunite with a hug over the fence. Wendy throws a stick several times for her dog, then looking around, realizes that Lucy is well off in her current situation and has more than she can offer her. Vowing to return once she has earned some money, Wendy leaves Lucy and heads to the train tracks where she leaps aboard an empty box car and continues her journey alone. 

Production Company: Filmscience  
  Glass Eye Pix  
Distribution Company: Oscilloscope Laboratories  
Director: Kelly Reichardt (Dir)
  Gabriel Fleming (1st asst dir)
Producer: Neil Kopp (Prod)
  Anish Savjani (Prod)
  Larry Fessenden (Prod)
  Todd Haynes (Exec prod)
  Rajen Savjani (Exec prod)
  Phil Morrison (Exec prod)
  Joshua Blum (Exec prod)
Writer: Kelly Reichardt (Scr)
  Jon Raymond (Scr)
Photography: Sam Levy (Dir of photog)
  Greg Schmitt (Addl cine)
  T. G. Firestone (1st asst cam)
  Eliza Plumlee (2d asst cam)
  Efrem Peter (Gaffer)
  Bryan Waters (Best boy elec)
  Brian Shotzbarger (Key grip)
  Ezra Cimino (Best boy grip)
  Simon Max Hill (Still photog)
  FotoKem (Film labs)
  FotoKem (Video dailies)
Art Direction: Ryan Smith (Prod des)
  Jonny Fenix (Art dept asst)
  Blake Britton (Art dept asst)
  Kate Smith (Art dept asst)
  Stephen Poon (Art dept asst)
Film Editor: Kelly Reichardt (Ed)
  Andreas Fehrle (Asst ed)
  Abbi Jutkowitz (Asst ed)
  Mike Burchett (Asst ed)
Set Decoration: Nate Smith (Leadman)
Costumes: Amanda Needham (Ward des)
  Jamie Hanson (Ward asst)
  Claire Schoonover (Ward PA)
Music: Smokey Hormel (Grocery store music)
  Will Oldham (Wendy theme music)
Sound: Eric Hill (Loc sd)
  Leslie Shatz (Sd des)
  Eric Offin (Sd des)
  Tyler Stephens (Addl sd rec)
  Reuben Cox (Rain rec)
  Leslie Schatz (Re-rec mixer)
  Leslie Shatz (Re-rec mixer)
  Eric Offin (Co re-rec mixer)
  Javier Bennassar (Sd ed)
  Gabriel J. Serrano (Mix rec)
  Eli Cohn (Foley supv)
  Brian Vancho (Foley artist)
  Mark Garcia (ADR rec)
  Sasha Awn (Sd asst)
  Wildfire (Re-rec facility)
Special Effects: Hollywood Intermediate (Digital intermediate services provided by)
  David Waters (Sr prod, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Sarah Priestnall (Prod supv, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Jim Delany (IO prod, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Will Harris (Digital intermediate colorist, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Chris Ward (DI prod, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Jon Pehlke (Sr DI online ed, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Fred Masselink (DI online ed, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Prince Bagdasarian (DI asst online ed, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Larry Arpin (Sr graphic artist, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Arturo Lopez (Scanning mgr, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Chris Thomas (Scanning op, Hollywood Intermediate)
  James Ledesma (Scanning op, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Carlos Cuellar (Scanning op, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Jesse Vanderpool (Scanning op, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Paul Kim (Digital clean-up artist, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Melody Guzman (Vault mgr, Hollywood Intermediate)
  David Graubard (Sr systems eng, Hollywood Intermediate)
  Todd Korody (System eng, Hollywood Intermediate)
Make Up: David Kennedy (Hair)
  Amy Cole (Tattoo artist)
Production Misc: Laura Rosenthal (Casting)
  Ali Farrell (Casting)
  Simon Max Hill (Portland casting)
  Jeff Harding (Prod supv)
  Roger Faires (Loc)
  Andie Webb (Prod asst)
  Sam Gaty (Prod asst)
  John Moody (Prod asst)
  David Parson (Prod asst)
  Cat Tyc (Prod asst)
  Tyler Peterson (Clearances)
  Half & Half Café (Catering)
  Brett Cranford (Prod accountant)
  Nicole Hawkins (Asst accountant/payroll)
  Katy Kolego (Prod coord)
  William Bailey (Addl casting)
  Lance Rosen / Rosen Lewis, PLLC (Prod legal)
  Doug B. Scott Agency (Prod insurance)
  Kyle Gilman (Post prod supv)
Country: United States
Language: English

Source Text: Based on the short story "Train Choir" by Jonathan Raymond in Livability (New York, 2009).
Authors: Jonathan Raymond

Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres

Genre: Drama
Subjects (Major): Companions
Subjects (Minor): Animal shelters
  Gas stations
  Grocery stores
  Telephones, Mobile

Note: Pre-release credits contained in the AMPAS Library file on the film list its title as Wendy . According to an online interview with director Kelly Reichardt, the film's working title was Train Choir , the title of the Jon Raymond short story upon which the film was based. Various contemporary sources confirm that Raymond did not publish the short story "Train Choir" until 2009, when it was included in a collection of his stories entitled Livability .
       The closing credits thank numerous individuals as well as The Film and Electronic Arts Division at Bard College and The Media Arts Fellowships. As noted in the closing credits, Wendy and Lucy was shot on location in Portland OR. According to the 2 Jun 2008 Var review, “Lucy” is Reichardt's own dog and also appeared in Reichardt's first feature Old Joy (2006). The review also noted that Lucy was awarded Cannes' unofficial “Palme Dog” prize 2008 for her performance when the film was screened at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in the Un Certain Regard category.
       Wendy and Lucy was selected by AFI as one of the ten Movies of the Year for 2008. The film was screened at numerous film festivals, including the 2008 AFI Fest and was nominated for the Independent Spirit Best Feature and Female Lead (Michelle Williams) awards. Wendy and Lucy also won the Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Performance, Female (Williams) and Best Picture.  

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Hollywood Reporter   27 May 2008.   
Los Angeles Times   12 Dec 2008.   
New York Times   10 Dec 2008.   
Variety   2 Jun 2008.   

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.
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