Max Winkler has been sitting in a room doing phone interviews all morning, and so the 28-year-old writer/director politely apologizes for standing for some of our interview. He's full of energy and dressed all in white, so I have to sometimes squint to see him as he moves around the conference table. Voted one of Paper magazine's Beautiful People of 2010, Winkler is charming, highly intelligent and, without a doubt, frigging adorable. If his feature-length debut, 'Ceremony,' is any indication, he's also a writer and director to keep a close eye on in the years ahead.
In 'Ceremony,' Michael Angarano plays Sam, a 22-year-old who is full of enough smooth-talking faux swagger that he convinces his neurotic best friend Marshall (Reece Thompson) to take him on a weekend getaway. What Marshall doesn't know is that their destination is just down the beach from Zoe's (Sam's ex-girlfriend) house; what neither of them knows is that it's the weekend of her wedding to her longtime beau, Whit, a pretentious British filmmaker played by Lee Pace.
Much to everyone's surprise, Whit invites the guys to stay with them for the whole weekend, including the wedding. As Sam schemes to win back Zoe (Uma Thurman), he and Marshall party at Whit's Gatsby-esque mansion among eccentric and kind of icky rich people. It's a smart and sweet movie beautifully shot in Long Island, N.Y., that indie film lovers should most definitely seek out. 'Ceremony' premiered at the Toronto Film Festival and is playing South by Southwest; it is currently available via VOD and will open in theaters on April 8.