Five Questions With... Angus MacLachlan, Writer/Director of ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE

Following the death of their father, brother and sister Jesse (Terry Kinney) and Tracy (Amy Ryan) must decide whether to continue to run the family farm or make a change in their lives. Their choice is complicated by the arrival of another group of siblings, who set up camp and claim a surprising connection to their land. Executive produced by Martin Scorsese and written and directed by Angus MacLachlan (Goodbye to All That, NFF 2014), ABUNDANT ACREAGE AVAILABLE wrestles with questions of family, legacy, and generational responsibility.

Read more with writer/director Angus MacLachlan below, and come see a screening on Friday, June 23 at 2:15 PM and/or Saturday, June 24 at 9:00 PM!

NFF: Do you have siblings? Was the story influenced or inspired by any personal relationships?

Angus: I do, actually, have two brothers. But that realization didn’t really occur to me until late in the project. I can’t say the specifics of this piece were inspired by actual events, but as we were making it there were many events that mirrored the story. In fact, my father died a week after we finished shooting the film.

NFF: Can you talk a little about casting, and how your actors came to the project? Did you write this with any of them in mind?

Angus: I do not write with specific actors in mind, wanting to create characters first. I had a relationship with a wonderful agent at Gersh, Rhonda Price, who read the script and suggested Amy Ryan. She then gave it to Amy’s agent. Steve Coulter, who plays Charles, had been in my last film, and we actually went to school together. Terry, Francis, and Max came about through luck and flukes and much good fortune.

NFF: The location is integral to the story. How did you find and decide on your location? Where did you shoot?

Angus: We shot it where it is set in East Bend, NC. Which is about 40 minutes from where I live. I had imagined the story there, and then wanted to shoot there. To find the actual farm I drove around East Bend and came upon the house, which was empty. It had been a rental, but empty for a year or so. I had to do some sleuthing to find out the owner, Thad Joe Matthews. And then had to convince him that we would take good care of his property. It was such a perfect embodiment of what I had imagined.

NFF: A few of your actors come from a theatre background, and film is notoriously short on time for rehearsal. Did having theatre actors on set change the way you rehearsed or prepared?

Angus: We had a day before we started shooting to rehearse with everyone. Of course I had had one on one discussions with each actor prior. And, yes, I would say all the actors had theatre technique and came prepared. This helped with the amount of dialogue that everyone had. And also resulted in a very close relationship between the cast.

NFF: Why are you excited to show the film in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences will take away?

Angus: My experience at the Festival with my last film, GOODBYE TO ALL THAT, in 2014 made me feel the Nantucket audiences were some of the most responsive, savvy viewers my film had. They seem appreciative of film. I hope this movie will be resonant. It truly is about ‘letting go’. And the idea that no matter what we possess, or earn, or hold on to, no matter who we love in this life - we will all have to let go of it at some point. And how hard that is to do. 

Amy Ryan in Abundant Acreage Available

Amy Ryan in Abundant Acreage Available