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Winter's Bone
Director: Debra Granik (Dir)
Release Date:   2010
Premiere Information:   Los Angeles and New York openings: 11 Jun 2010
Duration (in mins):   100
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Cast:   Jennifer Lawrence (Ree)  
    John Hawkes (Teardrop)  
    Kevin Breznahan (Little Arthur)  
    Dale Dickey (Merab)  
    Garret Dillahunt (Sheriff Baskin)  
    Sheryl Lee (April)  
    Lauren Sweetser (Gail)  
    Tate Taylor (Mike Satterfield)  
    Isaiah Stone (Sonny)  
    Ashlee Thompson (Ashlee)  
    Valerie Richards (Connie)  
    Shelley Waggener (Sonya)  
    William White (Blond Milton)  
    Ramona Blair (Parenting teacher)  
    Andrew Burnley (Baby Ned)  
    Phillip Burnley (Baby Ned)  
    Isaac Skidmore (Baby Ned)  
    Cody Brown (Floyd)  
    Cinnamon Schultz (Victoria)  
    Casey MacLaren (Megan)  
    Marideth Sisco (Singer at party)  
    Ron "Stray Dog" Hall (Thump Milton)  
    Beth Domann (Alice)  
    Charlotte Jeane Lucas (Tilly)  
    Ray Vaughan Jr. (Ray)  
    Sgt. Russel A. Schalk (Army recruiter)  

Summary: In a rural community of the Ozark Mountains in Missouri, two children, Sonny and Ashlee Dolly, jump on a trampoline and play in front of a small, homespun cabin while their older sister, Ree, hangs laundry. In the morning, Ree prepares a meager breakfast for her siblings and combs the hair of her vacuous mother, Connie. Walking the kids to school, she quizzes them in spelling and math. As she passes through the school hallways, Ree observes a parenting class and a group of Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) kids marching with rifles. Later, Ree brings her horse to her neighbor, Sonya, and, after admitting that she does not have the money to feed it, Sonya agrees to take it in. As Ree chops wood, Sherriff Baskin arrives at the Dolly home. Realizing Connie is nearly catatonic, Baskin informs Ree that her father, Jessup, placed their home as collateral for a bond when he was arrested for cooking methamphetamines. Learning that his failure to appear in court in one week will cause the family to lose their home, Ree assures Baskin that she will find Jessup. Sonny suggests that they ask their neighbors for some of the deer they recently skinned, but Ree tells him to “never ask for what oughta be offered.” Later, Sonya brings the Dolly family a box of food and inquires about Baskin’s visit, making sure Ree did not give any information on Jessup’s whereabouts. Ree begins her quest for Jessup by visiting her friend and teenage mother, Gail, but her request to borrow her husband’s truck is denied. She then goes to her uncle, Teardrop, who tells her it’s Jessup’s choice whether or not he shows up in court. While menacingly loading a handgun cartridge, Teardrop cautions Ree against looking further or inquiring among his associates in the Meth-cooking trade. When she reminds him Jessup is his brother, Teardrop lashes out and grabs Ree’s throat. He then disappears, but his wife, Victoria, procures a small stash of cash for Ree before she leaves. Despite the warning, Ree proceeds to the home of Little Arthur, who tells her he hasn’t seen Jessup. Megan, another member of the Meth-cooking lineage, takes pity on Ree and advises her to see her grandfather, Thump Milton, who is the patriarch of the tribe. Ree continues despite her admission that Thump scares her most of all. Outside the Milton house, Ree encounters Thump’s wife, Merab, who tells her she’s come to the wrong place, but then motions her forward when Ree appeals that she’s Jessup’s daughter and they have the same blood. Merab inquires if Ree has men who can take on this task and when she says she doesn’t, she instructs Ree to wait. Upon returning, Merab tells Ree that Thump won’t speak to her because he doesn’t want witnesses and becomes enraged by Ree’s persistence. Back at home Ree is abducted by her neighbor, and distant cousin, Blond Milton, who takes her to a burned out Meth lab, claiming Jessup was killed there in the blow out. Knowing her father was famous for accuracy, Ree remains unconvinced. When Blond brazenly suggests he and Sonya adopt Sonny, Ree becomes furious, telling him the tall weeds growing at the site where Jessup was purportedly killed recently proves the story is a lie. Later, as Ree instructs Sonny and Ashlee to shoot, Gail shows up with keys to the truck. When Ree and Gail arrive at the home of April, Jessup’s former lover, the living room is bustling with a folk band and card games. April relates the last time she saw Jessup he was with three strangers and he looked through her, indicating something was terribly wrong. Back at home, Ree hunts squirrels with her siblings and teaches them how to skin them. As she loads a wood splitter, Teardrop arrives unannounced and says Jessup’s car was discovered, empty and burned out by a lake. Ree concludes her father is gone for good. Giving her money, Teardrop advises Ree to sell the homestead before the bondsmen claim it because Jessup failed to show up in court. When she refuses, Teardrop snorts meth and becomes angry when she shows no interest in taking drugs. On a walk in the woods, Ree begs her mother for advice, but is left without response. When the bondsman arrives, she tells him Jessup is dead. She learns the property value was not enough for the bond and a man paid the balance for Jessup’s release in cash. The bondsman gives her a week to prove Jessup is dead. Prompted by this new information, Ree tracks Thump down at a livestock auction and follows him home, where Merab throws coffee in her face and a gang of women beat her in the barn. When she comes to, Merab questions why she didn’t listen to her warning and Megan asks what they should do with her. Ree suggests they kill her, but Megan says that it has already been considered. Ree then proposes that they help her, but Megan says that they already tried by giving her warning. Thump grants Ree a chance to speak her mind, and she says that she can’t continue supporting the family, particularly if they become homeless. Teardrop appears as the barn door rises, announcing Ree is not responsible for her father’s sins and that he is taking her home. He vows to stand for her and make sure that she keeps quiet. On the ride home, Teardrop explains that Jessup didn’t want to go back to jail so he became an informant to Baskin, and this resulted in his murder. He elusively warns Ree to never tell him who killed Jessup. Back at home, Gail tends to Ree’s wounds and Sonya brings her painkillers. As Ree falls asleep, she asks Gail to make sure the kids have done their homework. The next day, Ree meets with an Army recruiter, inquiring about the $40,000 compensation for signing up, but after hearing her story he encourages her to stay home. In the middle of the night, Teardrop wakes Ree and takes her to a bar, anxious to resolve what happened to Jessup. A group of men threaten him, but Teardrop smashes their truck’s windshield with an axe. On the way home, Ree and Teardrop unsuccessfully search a cemetery for a fresh grave, and then get pulled over by Baskin. Refusing to get out of the truck while ominously cradling a rifle, Teardrop commands Baskin to divulge why he exposed Jessup and got him killed, causing Baskin to retreat. Some time later, Ree defensively greets a visit from Merab, who tells her she has come to “take you to your Daddy’s bones” in order to prevent further talk about their clan in the community. With a burlap sack over her head, Ree is taken at twilight to a location she’s told to forget. After paddling a boat across a murky lake, Merab tells Ree to reach down into the water to grab her father’s body. Merab instructs her to use a chainsaw and cut off her father’s hand, but despite her assurance that Jessup would want this Ree is incapable. Merab then saws the hand off herself as Ree holds on, sobbing. When she releases Jessup’s body after the hand is removed, Merab scolds her, saying that they need both hands, and Ree reaches back down in the water to repeat the procedure. Merab covers Ree’s shoulders with her coat when they are done. The next day, Ree delivers the hands to Baskin, telling him they were thrown on the porch the night before. Before she leaves, Baskin mentions that the only reason he didn’t shoot Teardrop during their face off was because she was there, and he does not want stories spread to the contrary about him backing away. Ree coldly assures Baskin that she does not talk about him. Later, as Teardrop presents Sonny and Ashlee with two baby chicks, the bondsman shows up at the Dolly home. He hands Ree the cash deposited for Jessup’s bail, convinced that it would not be reclaimed due to the circumstances of his murder. Sonny and Ashlee give Teardrop Jessup’s banjo, and he plays it despite his claim that he is not as good as his brother. He then turns to Ree and admits to his knowledge of Jessup’s killer, saying simply “I know who.” She offers the banjo to Teardrop as he leaves, but he tells her to keep it for him. Ree sits on the porch with her siblings, saying that she would be lost without them and promising never to leave.
 

Production Company: Winter's Bone Productions  
  Anonymous Content  
Distribution Company: Roadside Attractions  
Director: Debra Granik (Dir)
  Maura Anderson (Unit prod mgr)
  Yann Sobezynski (1st asst dir)
  Jolian Blevins (2d asst dir)
  Cedric Vara (2d 2d asst dir)
Producer: Anne Rosellini (Prod)
  Alix Madigan-Yorkin (Prod)
  Jonathan Scheuer (Exec prod)
  Shawn Simon (Exec prod)
  Kate Dean (Co-prod)
  Michael McDonough (Assoc prod)
Writer: Debra Granik (Adpt)
  Anne Rosellini (Adpt)
  Ron "Stray Dog" Hall (Addl dial)
  Jim Lass (Addl dial)
  Kathy Beeson (Addl dial)
  Casey MacLaren (Addl dial)
  Terry Marshall (Addl dial)
  Randy Price (Addl dial)
  Sgt. Russel A. Schalk (Addl dial)
  Bruce Tanner (Addl dial)
  Ray Vaughan Jr. (Addl dial)
Photography: Michael McDonough (Cine)
  Alan Pierce (2nd unit dir of photog)
  Richard Sandler (Super 8 photog)
  Alan Pierce (Cam op)
  Michael Burke (1st asst cam)
  Megan Morris (2d asst cam)
  Jeff Pinette (Red cam tech)
  Nina Kuhn (Gaffer)
  Meg Schrock (Best boy elec)
  Gregory S. Bahler (Elec)
  Axel Thiele (Elec)
  Joseph Paolini (Key grip)
  Terry Zumalt (Best boy grip)
  Easton Thiele (Grip)
  David Newton (Grip)
  Carissa Crain (Cam intern)
  David Fleming (Cam intern)
  Luke Keen (Cam intern)
  Final Frame (Dailies)
  Sebastian Mlynarski (Still photog)
  Red Camera (Filmed on the)
  Abel Cine Tech (Cam and lenses)
Art Direction: Mark White (Prod des)
Film Editor: Affonso Gonçalves (Ed)
  Naomi Goodman (1st asst ed)
  Victoria Stewart (2d asst ed)
  Ramsey Fendall (Media tech)
  Edit Center (Addl ed)
  Erika Blaszak (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Alice Borrelli (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Drew Boyd (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Kristin Cully (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Sara Cross (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Mike D'Angelo (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Eric Glatt (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Noah Goldman (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Ashley Gormley (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Rosa Oh (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Michelle Scourtos (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Sheila Shirazi (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Rosemary Siciliano (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Sigi Torinus (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Stephanie Ahn (Addl ed, Edit Center)
  Cindy Yoon (Addl ed, Edit Center)
Set Decoration: Rebecca Brown (Set dec)
  Russ Dove (Leadman)
  Nathan R. Webster (Leadman)
  Jonathan H. Way (Set dresser)
  Carter Royce Waite (Set dresser)
  Ron Moore (Carpenter)
  Deanna Smith (Art prod asst)
  Christopher Strok (Art prod asst)
  Jacob S. Wynant (Art prod asst)
  Richard Peete (Props master)
  Rob Yapkowitz (Props asst)
Costumes: Rebecca Hofherr (Cost des)
  Lauren Schad (Ward supv)
  Cassie Tweeten (Ward prod asst)
  Ryan Piotrowski (Ward prod asst)
Music: Dickon Hinchliffe (Mus)
  Dan Evans Farkas (Mus ed)
  Marideth Sisco (Mus research and prod)
  Steve Peters (Mus research and prod)
Sound: James Demer (Sd mixer)
  Michael Grinage (Boom op)
  David Fleming (Addl sd rec)
  Steve Peters (Addl sd rec)
  Damian Volpe (Supv sd ed)
  Dom Tavella (Re-rec mixer)
  Damian Volpe (Re-rec mixer)
  David Ellinwood (Dial ed & ADR ed)
  Matt Rocker (Foley supv)
  Jay Peck (Foley artist)
  Ryan Collison (Foley eng)
  Sound One (Re-rec)
Special Effects: Jessica Allen Elvin (Smoke artist)
  Andrew Still (Data mgr)
  Daniel Silverman (Imaging and rec)
  Kevin Vale (Imaging and rec)
  Ditlevfilms (Title des)
Make Up: Maya Hardinge (Key makeup artist)
  Marina Proctor (Key hair artist)
  Nathan Shelton (Prosthetic FX)
Production Misc: Kerry Barden (Casting)
  Paul Schnee (Casting)
  Heather Laird (Loc principals & extras casting)
  Sarah Grace Johnson (Casting asst & extras casting coord)
  Kate Dean (Line prod)
  Andrew Cesana (Scr supv)
  Lyon Taylor (Loc mgr)
  Richard Michael (Loc scout and community liason)
  Tom Maloney (Key prod asst)
  Bryan Manning (Set prod asst)
  Anthony White (Set prod asst)
  Sidney McGregor (Set prod asst)
  Bryce Young (Set prod asst)
  Darrell Claunch (Set intern)
  Jeremy Lowe (Set intern)
  Steve Shapiro (Prod accountant)
  Sarah Kessinger (Prod office coord)
  Dan Seligmann (Asst to the prods)
  Jayson Wilkins (Prod office intern)
  Brendan Baker Schmidt (Prod office intern)
  Jared Billman (Prod office intern)
  Bo Darde (Prod office intern)
  Lindsey Paydon (Prod office intern)
  Teresa Brown (Prod office intern)
  Mike Blesse (Prod office intern)
  Vanessa Fields (Prod office intern)
  Ashley Hytti (Prod office intern)
  Kim Guy (On-set tutor)
  Jim Kelley (Honeywagon driver)
  Adrian Trent (G/E driver)
  Thirl Haston (Insert car driver)
  Tana Miller at Abby Road Foods (Catering)
  Paulie Allen at Da Barefoot Chef (Catering)
  Steve Weyher at Golden Coral (Catering)
  Tana Miller at Abby Road Foods (Craft service)
  Ben Clutter (Craft service)
  Sarah Connors (Post prod consultant)
  Fred Siegel CPA (Accounting services)
  Pes Payroll (Payroll services)
  Reiff & Associates, LLC (Insurance provided by)
  Josh Sandler, Sandler Law (Legal affairs, Winter's Bone Productions)
  Marc H. Simon, Cowan Debaets Abrahams & Sheppard LLP (Prod legal)
  Technicolor New York (Telecine services provided by)
Stand In: Shawn Nash (Stunt coord)
  Felicia Beeson (Key stand-in)
  Kathleen Malm (Key stand-in)
Color Personnel: Technicolor New York (Digital intermediate by)
  Tim Stipan (DI colorist)
  Dana Bloder (DI prod)
  Eric Leverenz (DI asst)
  Barbara Jean Kearney (Exec prod DI)
MPAA Rating: R
Country: United States
Language: English

Music:
Songs: "The Missouri Waltz" (1914), a.k.a. "Hush-a'bye, Ma Baby," words by J. R. Shannon, music by John Valentine Eppel, performed a capella by Marideth Sisco; "High on a Mountain" (1970), written by Ola Belle Reed, performed by Marideth Sisco with Dennis Crider, Kim & Jim Lansford, DJ Shumate and Billy Ward, courtesy of Midstream Music Publishers; "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies," traditional, performed by Marideth Sisco with Dennis Crider, Kim & Jim Lansford, DJ Shumate and Billy Ward; "Farther Along" (1911), traditional, music & lyrics by J. R. Baxter and W. B. Stevens, performed by Marideth Sisco with Bo Brown, Van Colbert, Jessica Collins, Dennis Crider and Linda Stoffel; "On a Hill Lone and Grey" (1884), written by Beverly Francis Caradine, performed by Van Colbert with Bo Brown, Jessica Collins, Dennis Crider and Linda Stoffel; "In the Palm of His Hand," written by Daniel Parkin, performed by Dirt Road Delight, courtesy of Your Place or Mine Digital Music, LLC.; "Out of Sight," music & lyrics by Rick Reding, performed by Ralph Dienno, Mark Moling, Gary Moore, Rick Reding, Billy Ward and Steve Youngblood, courtesy of White River Music Company; "Missing You," music & lyrics by Rick Reding, performed by Ralph Dienno, Mark Moling, Gary Moore, Rick Reding, Billy Ward and Steve Youngblood, courtesy of White River Music Company; "I Saw Your Cross," written & performed by Backhoe Butchery, courtesy of Backhoe Butchery; "Blueline Murders," performed by Silence Free Style Free, composed by James Vincent Tassillo (BMI), published by Phoenix Cloak Sounds (BMI), courtesy of ACM Records; "In Memory of the Four Winds" (2000), performed by Steve Peters, courtesy of Steve Peters; "Frere Jacques," traditional, performed by the Bradleyville Lower School Band; "Wrong," written by Katherine Miller, performed by Lumatic, courtesy of Lumatic.
Composer: Backhoe Butchery
  J. R. Baxter
  Beverly Francis Caradine
  John Valentine Eppel
  Katherine Miller
  Daniel Parkin
  Steve Peters
  Rick Reding
  Ola Belle Reed
  J. R. Shannon
  W. B. Stevens
  James Vincent Tassillo
Source Text: Based on the novel Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell (New York, 2006).
Authors: Daniel Woodrell

Physical Properties: Sd: Dolby Digital in selected theatres
  col:
  Lenses/Prints: Fujifilm

 
Genre: Drama
  Drama
  Melodrama
Sub-Genre: Domestic
  Rural
  Teenage
 
Subjects (Major): Brothers and sisters
  Drugs
  Family relationships
  Missing persons
  Ozark Mountains
  Searches
  Secrets
 
Subjects (Minor): Bail bondsmen
  Banjos
  Caretakers
  Drug addicts
  Drug dealers
  Firearms
  Folk music
  Friendship
  Hands
  Homesteaders
  Hunger
  Land rights
  Murder
  Police
  Poverty
  Rural life
  Secret societies
  United States. Army

Note: According to onscreen credits, Winter’s Bone was filmed entirely on location within the Christian and Taney counties of the Ozark region in Southwest Missouri. A 30 Apr 2010 NYT article about director Debra Granik, who started her career studying documentary filmmaking and based her first feature, Down to the Bone (2004), on a woman she knew, describes the significance of authenticity and neo-realism in her work. Granik’s adaptation of the novel Winter’s Bone , with writing partner Anne Rosellini, stayed so close the its source that author Daniel Woodrell, as cited in the same NYT article, reported feeling “overwhelmed by how faithful the film is to the novel.” Woodrell, a Missouri native, was inspired to write the story after observing a young woman try to feed herself and two children with $7 at a convenience store, as described in a 10 Jun 2010 LAT article.
       The importance of local culture in the story, along with Granik’s admittedly limited “connection to that region,” compelled the crew to set up a base of operations in the town of Branson, Missouri before production, mining the area for cast members, locations, instruction in native customs, music, dialect and props, according to a 11 Jun 2010 NYT review. The production team spent two years immersed in the area, casting the role of “Ashlee Dolly” with the daughter of the Thompson family, who lived at the location used for Ree’s contested homestead, and even keeping her real name for the character. In a 4 Feb 2011 HR interview, Granik mentions that the novel and script had been written with two brothers for Ree, but after noticing Ashlee reappear in rehearsal footage, they changed the character to a sister so she could be cast in the role.
       Audio commentary by Granik and cinematographer Michael McDonough on the DVD release of Winter’s Bone adds other non-professional actors and members of the community to the list of individuals who played significant roles in the film, including Isaiah Stone as “Sonny Dolly,” Billy White as “Blond Milton,” Sgt. Russell Schalk, an active army recruiter based in Missouri and Ron “Stray Dog” Hall, whose personal experience as a local contributed to his lines as “Thump Milton.” Schalk, Hall and many other cast members received onscreen credits for additional dialogue due to their intimate knowledge of the area and its vernacular. Professional actors in leading roles, including Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Dale Dickey also hail from the Midwestern and bordering states, bringing their own familiarity of custom and dialect to their characters.
       Utilizing local and non-professional resources was also necessary to produce the film with limited funding. According to an 8 Dec 2010 Var news item, an unnamed production company that had committed to financing Winter’s Bone with a larger budget pulled out just before shooting began, but Granik was able to complete the picture within a budget of $2 million. Granilk, in her audio commentary, emphasizes that she got the film to work only through the generosity of the community. The burned house used as the location for the rumored scene of Jessup’s death, for example, was provided by a local family despite the stigma attached to burned-out houses that identify them as meth labs. Granik and McDonough describe how the art department and costume designer borrowed and traded props and clothing from members of the community. Many sets were minimally dressed and shot as they were really lived in, including details such as fingerprints and refrigerator magnets evident in Teardrop’s kitchen. In a 25 Jan 2010 LAT article, Granik notes that the production was not warmly welcomed at the onset, but her research of the families she worked with helped to build trust and openness. Onscreen credits list special thanks to families and individuals in Missouri who helped integrate the production team of Winter’s Bone into their traditions and culture.
       Granik’s commitment to filming in Missouri and hiring the services of locals took precedence over shooting during winter, according to McDonough in his commentary, and although the title of the film indicates this season, the film was actually shot in twenty-four and a half days, from Feb to Mar 2009 despite the changes in weather. The tight schedule did not allow for selectivity about time and dates to shoot, and many days were extremely warm, presenting cast and crew with the challenge to convey a freezing climate. This effect was later enhanced during post-production, according to McDonough. For example, the climactic lake scene, which appears to take place at night, was shot primarily at midday in seventy-degree heat. McDonough explains that the lighting required for shooting the entire scene at night was not within the means of the budget. The end product was created by manipulating exposure time using digital film on a Red One camera, breaking the scene down into different camera angles shot at various times of day and interspersing close-ups that were shot at night. Granik mentions in her 4 Feb 2011 HR interview that the first version of the script was filled with references to snow, but upon realizing how difficult it was to manufacture, the word “snow” was universally removed from the text and extricated from the conditions of the production.
 

Bibliographic Sources:   Date   Page
Daily Variety   25 Jan 2010   p. 9.
Daily Variety   8 Dec 2010   p. 1, 4.
Hollywood Reporter   1 Feb 2010.   
Hollywood Reporter   1 Feb 2010   p. 4, 10.
Hollywood Reporter   4 Feb 2011.   
Los Angeles Times   25 Jan 2010.   
Los Angeles Times   3 Jun 2010   p. 1, 7.
Los Angeles Times   10 Jun 2010   p. 1, 4.
Los Angeles Times   11 Jun 2010   p. 1.
Los Angeles Times   9 Nov 2010.   
New York   14-21 Jun 2010.   
New York Times   30 Apr 2010.   
New York Times   11 Jun 2010   p. 1.
Variety   8 Feb 2010   p. 43.
Variety   8 Dec 2010.   

Display Movie Summary
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