Press/Photos: ‘Hearts Beat Loud’s’ Kiersey Clemons and Sasha Lane can’t be boxed in

Kiersey Clemons remembers the moment she discovered who Sasha Lane was. It was late 2016 and she was walking the New York streets on her way to Whole Foods. In passing a movie theater, she stopped in her tracks, mesmerized by a poster outside. It was of a brown girl with dreadlocks, her hands thrown into the air. She faintly recalls some American flag-like colors on it.

“I was like, ‘Who the … is that? She looks like me. I have to go see that,’” she said.

Clemons went directly into the theater to watch “American Honey,” Lane’s acting debut about a teenager who joins a band of misfits as they trek across the Midwest, partying hard, bending the law and falling in love.

“I was on the edge of my seat watching this movie,” she said, “and my heart was pounding because it was [someone like] me [on screen]. I emailed a guy at [the distribution company] A24, ‘This is the best movie y’all have ever made.’”

That’s one of the many moments when she realized “representation does [freaking] matter.”

Clemons and Lane would meet in person a couple months later and develop an enduring friendship with much in common: They’re both biracial queer women early in their careers interested in doing work that means something to them and others — work that matters.

It’s that purpose that made their collaboration on Brett Haley’s “Hearts Beat Loud,” now playing in limited release, all the more worth it. In it, Clemons plays Sam, a young Brooklyn native who forms a band with her dad (Nick Offerman) the summer before she goes off to college. Lane is Sam’s girlfriend Rose.

In advance of the film’s release, The Times spoke with the pair about working with Haley and co-writer Marc Basch to make their characters more authentic, an industry that tries to force them into boxes and the importance (and burden) of representation.

What made you say “yes” to this project?
Clemons: I was excited to make the movie because I’d be excited to see it. I really enjoy music and singing, and I enjoy musicals. I don’t even know if this is a type of musical … [if] you don’t like them, then it’s not a musical. [laughs] But everyone else was already attached when I came on so I was excited to work with the cast, specifically Sasha because she texted me about it. I knew I wanted to do it before I even read it.

Lane: I just read the script and smiled. It was such a warm script and then after meeting with Brett, the fact that he was full-on allowing me to be part of the process of casting Sam and working on [dialogue], I thought it’d be a warm movie.
Were your characters written as biracial black girls?

Lane: Mine was, or rather [Brett] had already attached me so Rose was who I was. Sam was originally supposed to be Asian American, but after a while he wanted [the chemistry] to be right and feel good. We listened to people’s songs and I played with those other [actors] but none of them felt right. Once we mentioned Kiersey, it felt right and the story was still doing what it was supposed to. It’s not like we’re here to throw race in — it’s not mentioned, so it doesn’t really matter. It’s just the person who embodied the character, and Kiersey did that.
Did they want someone who could sing?

Clemons: There are a lot of actors who can sing and singers who can act but I know for so long I’ve always done both. And they wanted the vocals to be live so I think doing musical theater helped with that and being trained vocally probably had something to do with it.

Lane: And not just that … I heard these other girls sing the songs. It was beautiful. They had very nice voices, but hearing her sing — I had nothing to do with it but [Brett] just sent me the track — I cried. That’s what you want. She wasn’t just singing. She has something in her spirit… Being able to sing was great, but we needed something else. That’s not just technique. It’s energy.

And you both worked with Haley and Basch on the script, right?
Lane: I really enjoyed that we got to sit there and go through it and have fun.

Clemons: I’ve told a lot of queer stories and I’ve had directors and writers that have worked with me [on the character]. But this was the first time I felt fully confident in what I was saying. It helped that [Sasha] was there.

Lane: Really, and since then, it’s built my confidence. Now when I read a script, I’m like, “I dig it, but it sounds like it was written by a male or someone that doesn’t have a connection to this world.”
I find the film to be so beautiful and the relationship between your characters so authentic. I love that you both are brown queer girls in brown queer roles. Considering you have played both queer and not on screen, when you’re looking for roles what are you looking for?

Lane: I just want to find if I relate. Can I tap into this character? Do I feel like I have the right to play this, to embody this? There’s room for flexibility because we’re actors, but I want to make sure it feels right to me. It has to connect.

Clemons: I’ve never restricted myself in terms of playing straight or queer. On a personal level, I feel like I discovered myself and came to terms with myself while I was growing up and making movies. So, it’s interesting to do work that makes you think about yourself.

Like, I never thought about what my mom and I looked like together — me being brown and my mom being white. I’m sure as a kid I did, but I’m 24 now and don’t ever think about that. And then you see yourself on screen or you read stuff and you’re trying to get in character and you’re like, “Oh … this is what I look like to other people.”
At Sundance you were dubbed “the two queer women we need more of in Hollywood” amid this conversation about representation. When was the first time you felt like you saw yourself on screen?

Lane: Is it really [freaking] sad that maybe “Hearts Beat Loud” was the first time that I actually saw myself? I can choose other things that I’ve done but I don’t know anything else that I connected with me on every single level.

Clemons: If I’m being honest, I remember having really strong feelings about “That’s So Raven.” As a kid, I moved around so much and there were times when I’d be the only person who wasn’t white in a classroom. I remember always being so afraid of, when I was 8, responding or acting in a way that was different from what everyone else was doing.

And you both worked with Haley and Basch on the script, right?
Lane: I really enjoyed that we got to sit there and go through it and have fun.

Clemons: I’ve told a lot of queer stories and I’ve had directors and writers that have worked with me [on the character]. But this was the first time I felt fully confident in what I was saying. It helped that [Sasha] was there.

Lane: Really, and since then, it’s built my confidence. Now when I read a script, I’m like, “I dig it, but it sounds like it was written by a male or someone that doesn’t have a connection to this world.”
I find the film to be so beautiful and the relationship between your characters so authentic. I love that you both are brown queer girls in brown queer roles. Considering you have played both queer and not on screen, when you’re looking for roles what are you looking for?

Lane: I just want to find if I relate. Can I tap into this character? Do I feel like I have the right to play this, to embody this? There’s room for flexibility because we’re actors, but I want to make sure it feels right to me. It has to connect.

Clemons: I’ve never restricted myself in terms of playing straight or queer. On a personal level, I feel like I discovered myself and came to terms with myself while I was growing up and making movies. So, it’s interesting to do work that makes you think about yourself.

Like, I never thought about what my mom and I looked like together — me being brown and my mom being white. I’m sure as a kid I did, but I’m 24 now and don’t ever think about that. And then you see yourself on screen or you read stuff and you’re trying to get in character and you’re like, “Oh … this is what I look like to other people.”
At Sundance you were dubbed “the two queer women we need more of in Hollywood” amid this conversation about representation. When was the first time you felt like you saw yourself on screen?

Lane: Is it really [freaking] sad that maybe “Hearts Beat Loud” was the first time that I actually saw myself? I can choose other things that I’ve done but I don’t know anything else that I connected with me on every single level.

Clemons: If I’m being honest, I remember having really strong feelings about “That’s So Raven.” As a kid, I moved around so much and there were times when I’d be the only person who wasn’t white in a classroom. I remember always being so afraid of, when I was 8, responding or acting in a way that was different from what everyone else was doing.

Lane: [Nodding] Or even with your hair being curly and everyone else’s being straight …

Clemons: Yes, and afraid of anyone commenting on anything. If you were “sassy,” you got mocked. But that attitude that Raven-Symoné has that you inherently have if you have black aunties, sisters

Lane: Yeah! Like being goofy and loud …

Clemons: It’s just how you talk to your cousins or the people in your household. It’s just different and it’s part of black culture for some people in America. I remember seeing that on TV. Because before Raven-Symoné, I idolized Amanda Bynes. She was so funny and gross and said crazy [stuff]; she wasn’t Lizzie McGuire. And then we had Raven and I was like “She’s like Amanda Bynes but looks like me.” I didn’t even know that was allowed to happen. Before seeing her, I was so restricted in what I thought a girl can be. Until you see it in a way that’s more relatable …

Lane: Like, “I can be like this too?”

Clemons: … I don’t have to limit myself. And as much as I want to be like, “[Screw] being a role model…” I have to remind myself that representation is a thing and it does matter. As much as you want to write off the royal wedding … she’s changing the way young girls see fairy tales.
How is it being somebody else’s Raven-Symoné and somebody else’s Sasha?

Clemons: I still find it shocking. Because we get comments and immediate feedback on social media. I’m always [surprised].

Lane: It’s amazing. I love being an inspiration. That’s cool that you can get that out of me but I also need you to accept and understand and realize that I too am a person going through [stuff]. So, it’s not always going to be set in stone and it’s not going to stay perfect, your image of me. I full on accept that I’m taking this responsibility and know I’m going to be an image for certain people because I’m trying to help people through my art. But acknowledge that I’m still going through it too.

Clemons: And also you realize that I’m not for everyone and that’s fine.

Lane: You don’t have to love me in order for me to feel OK …

Clemons: Because people will all of a sudden start to say “Sasha or Kiersey is doing this and I’m not with it.” Well, I was never here for you. Go find someone else. There is a plethora of young, amazing brown women you can idolize. I’m just not the one for you and that’s fine.

Lane: Like, “We’re not on the same page and that’s cool.” I’m going to uplift her and she’s going to uplift me, because everyone has their own purpose. We can all support each other. You go be that, and she can go be that, but let me be this!

Lena Waithe often talks about the burden of representation and the fact that everything she does shouldn’t have to check everybody’s boxes.

Lane: Because it might check that person’s box over there and not yours and I can’t check everyone’s box. Because then you lose yourself. That’s why you’ve gotta be like, “I know I made this movie and I know how I felt when I made it, so whatever happens with this movie happens.” It will connect with the people it’s supposed to.
So how is it having these unboxable personas in an industry built on boxing people in?

Lane: It’s hard… It’s like a beautiful curse but I have to make sure that I’m not letting that bull … take over.

Clemons: And everyone thinks they know what we want. They think we all want the same things: the cover, the movie, the award. But you don’t know what I’m chasing. You don’t know what aspirations I have outside of this. People always assume that they know your master plan.

Lane: And they say you have to be this or that but I can still be about peace and love and flow and energy, but also like to turn [it] up every once in a while…

Clemons: Can I say something? And this is a realization I’ve had in the last six months that completely shifted the weight of things… I used to feel so unbalanced, so down or so up. And I realized it was because I was trying to separate everything. No matter the film, you’re like “this is my work life” and “this is my personal life.” But in this industry, you get to the point where you realize you can’t do that with everything.

I had been manipulating everything to make sense. I was so afraid of not making sense — even though I hadn’t been making sense to people for so long. In constantly doing interviews or even trying on clothes, we’re always forced to face ourselves and look at ourselves — physically, mentally, emotionally. You would think I was crazy if I broke down in tears right now because we’re always supposed to leave our truths [outside].

I took a step back and realized that, for black girls specifically, it’s always this thing of you can be outspoken and badass and stick-it-to-the-man and I’m a rebel or you can say everything people want to hear that’s rebellious enough but still [be] the American black princess. There’s no in between — which is where I feel like Sasha and I lie. And it’s difficult and it’s hard because you’re expected to pick a side.

And you know that when you do an interview, they’re going to pick a side for you if you don’t. And depending on that side they pick for you, they sell it to a certain type of person and you’re sitting here having been pitched as a person that [you’re] not…

Lane: It’s like they’ve said “Sasha is purple” but I’m feeling like a [freaking] rainbow. Why can’t I be a queen and a tornado at the same time?

Clemons: Everything needs balance — and we have to allow balance. In Hollywood, as we’re pushing open all these doors, we have to expect balance. You don’t have to accept me, but don’t be mad when you see I’m a rounded out person. At the end of the day, what you should expect is sincerity. Because if you ask for a game, they’re going to give you a game.
I feel that deeply because, with me, people have expectations.

Clemons: “You don’t look like you work at the L.A. Times” [laughs] Exactly, because there’s a particular idea of what a journalist is supposed to look like and what one at the L.A. Times is supposed to look like — and they’re not supposed to be black, queer and gender nonconforming.

Lane: We don’t just let people be. The amount of photo shoots where I’m not happy that day and they want me to smile… I’m like, “I just broke down so this is what you’re going to get.” And other times I feel light and am dancing around and they’re like “We want that badass Sasha.” But I’m not rebellious today. [laughs] Take me as I am in that moment because that’s my truth.

Clemons: It’s funny you have that issue because I always have the issue where they want me to be less feminine. It’s the haircut and the gay thing, but those that know me on a personal level know that I’m preppy and weird and super femme, the complete opposite of whatever picture you’ve painted of me. And all you’re doing trying to take this photo is paint another picture to add to the hall of fame and she ain’t even here. [laughs]

Lane: She ain’t even here!
Source

Photos: 2018 MET Gala

Sasha is in attendance at the 2018 MET Gala tonight. She looks beautiful. I’ve added photos to the gallery. Enjoy!

Photos: Prada Resort 2019 Fashion Show

Sasha was in attendance yesterday at the 2019 Prada Resort Fashion Show. I’ve added a few photos to the gallery. Enjoy.

Photos: 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

Sasha was in attendance at the Tribeca Film Festival promoting The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I’ve added photos of her from two events there. She looks so lovely! Enjoy.

Press/Photos: Allure Magazine

Sasha is featured on the new issue of Allure magazine. I’ve added scans to the gallery. Enjoy!

Photos: Gallery Update (Scans, Events, and Photo Sessions)

I’ve added a bunch of additional missing photos to the gallery of Sasha from events, magazine scans, and photo sessions from 2016 to 2018. Enjoy!

Press: Sundance Winner ‘Miseducation of Cameron Post’ Sells to FilmRise

FilmRise has acquired exclusive North American distribution rights to coming-of-age drama “The Miseducation of Cameron Post,” starring Chloe Grace Moretz.

FilmRise plans a summer release for “Miseducation of Cameron Post,” which also stars John Gallagher Jr., Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, and Jennifer Ehle. The movie premiered in January at the Sundance Film Festival, where it won the U.S. dramatic grand jury prize.

Based on Emily M. Danforth’s 2012 novel, “Miseducation of Cameron Post” follows Moretz’s character as she is sent to a gay conversion therapy center after getting caught with another girl in the back seat of a car on prom night. The organization, run by a brother and sister played by Gallagher and Ehle, is supposed to help members repent for “same sex attraction.” Cameron forms an unlikely family with an amputee stoner, Jane (Lane), and her friend (Goodluck) in order to survive.

“Cameron Post” is directed by Desiree Akhavan from a script she co-wrote with Cecilia Frugiuele. The producers are Michael B. Clark and Alex Turtletaub of Beachside, Cecilia Frugiuele of Parkville Pictures, and Jonathan Montepare. The executive producers are Akhavan and Parkville’s Olivier Kaempfer. Beachside financed the film.

“With ‘The Miseducation of Cameron Post,’ Desiree has created a timely yet timeless, hilarious yet heart-wrenching story,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher. “We are proud to bring this powerful film from a rising director to wider audiences, in a time when the story is as profound and pertinent as ever.”

The filmmakers said in a statement, “In FilmRise, we have found a passionate supporter driven to bring this important story to a wide audience, and we’re excited to be collaborating and partnering with them on the release.”

The deal was negotiated between Fisher and FilmRise’s Faye Tsakas with UTA Independent Film Group and Endeavor Content. Akhavan is repped by UTA, United Agents, and Gang, Tyre, Ramer & Brown. Gallagher Jr. is repped by UTA, Wetzel Entertainment Group, and Morris Yorn. Ehle is repped by UTA.
Source

Press: THE POWER OF THE SCREEN: HERE ARE ALL OF THE FEATURE FILMS COMING TO THE 2018 TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL

Our feature film lineup for the 17th annual Tribeca Film Festival champions the discovery of emerging voices and the celebration of new work from established filmmaking talent. This year, we’re closing the festival with the world premiere of The Fourth Estate, from Oscar®-nominated director Liz Garbus, which follows the New York Times’ coverage of the Trump administration’s first year. Our centerpiece gala is the world premiere of Drake Doremus’ sci-fi romance Zoe, starring Ewan McGregor, Léa Seydoux, Rashida Jones, and Theo James. The 2018 Tribeca Film Festival takes place April 18th to the 29th.

The 2018 feature film program includes 96 films from 103 filmmakers. Of the 96 films, 46% of them are directed by women, the highest percentage in our festival’s history. The lineup includes 74 world premieres, 6 international premieres, 9 North American premieres, 3 U.S. premieres, and 4 New York premieres from 27 countries. This year’s program includes 46 first time filmmakers, with 18 directors returning to the festival with their latest feature film projects. Tribeca’s 2018 slate was programmed from more than 8,789 total submissions.

“We are proud to present a lineup that celebrates American diversity and welcomes new international voices in a time of cultural and social activism,” said Paula Weinstein, Executive Vice President of Tribeca Enterprises. “Our films succeed in being both entertaining and illuminating which is what you desire from great storytellers.”

“In a year that has reminded us more often of our divisions than our connections, this Festival’s program embraces film’s unique power to overcome differences — that connecting with stories not our own is the road into our deeply programmed human capacity for empathy and understanding,” said Cara Cusumano, Tribeca’s Director of Programming. “We hope that in representing a wealth of undiscovered stories and unique perspectives- including those of a record number of female directors — these 96 films offer a collective journey towards narrower divides and smaller obstacles.”

“For our program this year, we have curated a selection of filmmakers whose distinct voices illuminate the world around us. Audiences can choose their cinematic journeys to faraway places or closer to home, to discover unique stories told with audacity and emotion and to get to know heroic, flawed, and lovable characters,” said Artistic Director Frédéric Boyer. “Our international Competition showcases bold, risky and stylish film voices. These new perspectives, with diversity of tone and approach, may inspire people to expand their opinions and offer some exciting visions of our world today.”

Fifty-one narratives and 45 documentaries will debut over the course of the 12-day festival. Our competition section features 12 documentaries, 10 U.S. narratives and 10 international narratives; 14 Spotlight Narratives, 15 Spotlight Documentaries; five Midnight, 16 Viewpoints selections; and 11 Special Screenings.

The films in competition will compete for cash prizes totaling $165,000, as well as artwork from the Artists Awards program, offering work from acclaimed contemporary artists in select categories. One of the first awards to honor excellence in storytelling by a female writer or director, the 6th annual Nora Ephron Award, presented by CHANEL, will award a $25,000 prize to a woman who embodies the spirit and boldness of the late filmmaker.

Twelve years ago, Tribeca introduced the first film festival for independent sports and competition films. This year’s Tribeca/ESPN Sports Film Festival, sponsored by Mohegan Sun, includes five documentaries and one narrative feature film, as well as a shorts program and more to be announced.

In addition to Cusumano and Boyer, the programming team includes Liza Domnitz, Loren Hammonds, Ian Hollander, Tammie Rosen, and associate programmers Brian Gordon, Dan Hunt, Jule Rozite, Mara Webster, and Shayna Weingast.

Ticket packages are on sale now. Single tickets for events at the Beacon Theatre will go on sale on Tuesday, March 20th, and single tickets for all other events will go on sale Tuesday, March 27th.

The Tribeca Immersive lineup will be announced tomorrow, March 8th, and short films on Tuesday, March 13th. The Tribeca Talks, Tribeca TV, and N.O.W. (New Online Work) lineups will be revealed in the coming weeks.

The 2018 film selections are as follows:
The Miseducation of Cameron Post, directed by Desiree Akhavan, written by Desiree Akhavan, Cecilia Frugiuele. Produced by Michael B. Clark, Alex Turtlelaub, Cecilia Frugiuele, Jonathan Montepare. (USA) – New York Premiere. After Cameron is caught making out with another girl on prom night, her conservative guardians send her to gay conversion therapy. There, she forges an unlikely community with her fellow teens in this Sundance-winning coming of age story. With Chloë Grace Moretz, Sasha Lane, Forrest Goodluck, John Gallagher Jr., Jennifer Ehle.
Source/Full List

Photos: 2018 Oscars Vanity Fair After Party

I’ve added a bunch of photos of Sasha from the 2018 Oscars Vanity Fair After Party. She looked so beautiful at the party!

Press/Photos/Video: Sasha for Teen Vogue

Meet Teen Vogue’s Young Hollywood Class of 2018

Sasha Lane knows she packs a mean punch.

The 22-year-old is set to appear in the reboot of the comic superhero film Hellboy as Alice Monaghan, an Irish woman who develops magical powers after being kidnapped by fairies as a baby. With its gaggle of characters with super-abilities, filming required extensive stunt work, which was a steep learning curve for Sasha. But she came out of it more of a badass than ever, especially after some “tough love” from the stunt coordinators.

“If I got something wrong or if I didn’t do it correctly, they were like, ‘What are you doing? Come on, you know you can do this,’” Sasha tells Teen Vogue on the set of the Young Hollywood shoot with a sly grin. “They’re like, ‘Hit me harder,’ and I’m like, ‘All right.’”

“I’d get scared that I was gonna, like, knock them out — because, you know, I have a mean punch,” Sasha added. “But it worked out. Everyone’s safe.”
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Sasha reveals that while she has long been a passive fan of the movie — which is based on the beloved comic by artist Mike Mignola — she has been humbled by Hellboy’s cult-like following.

“I’ve always dug Hellboy, but I’ve never really gotten into the comics,” she says. “People have come up to me saying, ‘I’ve been reading it since I was 10 years old,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, my gosh, whoa, that’s sick.’”

Fans may see a brawl or two featuring Sasha in the action flick, but another one of her buzzed-about projects tackles an evil rooted in reality. In The Miseducation of Cameron Post, she plays “Jane Fonda,” a teen whose “born again” father sends her away to gay conversion camp. Winner of the top prize at the Sundance Film Festival in January, the LGBTQ film has been lauded for its sensitive, understated portrayal of adolescent self-doubt and discovery.

“The story meant a lot to me,” says Sasha, who came out as bisexual in 2015. “To get really good feedback from it was nice because you want to do a story like that justice.”

For the film, the award-winning Iranian-American filmmaker Desirée Akhavan did her research: She spoke at length with survivors of conversion therapy — which seeks to change a patient’s sexual orientation and has been denounced by major medical groups, like the American Psychiatric Association — in advance of shooting, and had survivors on set to ensure authentic and sensitive portrayals of the experience. In preparation for the role, Sasha also read an autobiographical account from someone who survived conversion therapy.

The film has garnered attention for the wealth of female talent behind the scenes and the diversity of its cast. Besides having Akhavan at the helm, Miseducation features Sasha, who is black and Māori, and Native American actor Forrest Goodluck alongside Chloë Grace Moretz, who plays the titular character, Cameron Post.

“I was very happy to be working with a bunch of women — we had women directors, a female cinematographer, writers,” says Sasha, who made her film debut in American Honey (2016). “It offers a different insight and a different type of feel. The more of it we can get out there, the better.”

Having plenty of women behind the camera was crucial for Sasha, proving that there are spots for them in all aspects of film and beyond. She explains, “I think it’s good for women to know that they can do whatever they want. That they can do any profession.”

The film comes on the heels of movements like Time’s Up, which brought to light long-standing inequalities women face in Hollywood and pretty much all industries, and the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite campaign, which calls for diversity in casting and recognition of the contributions of people of color to the world of entertainment.

And Sasha gets why these initiatives are so pivotal.

“People want to be represented; people want to be seen,” Sasha says. “You want to see yourself on screen so you have something to relate to. You can feel comfortable.”

Fearless when it comes to her own stunts and calling for action, it only makes sense that she brings that same bravery to getting inked up. She got a tattoo of a bee on her foot from a 13-year-old: “His mom actually owned the shop and just was like, ‘My son will do a tattoo for you, 20 bucks, anything you want,’” Sasha says. “I looked over and he was doing some chick’s back piece and I said, ‘F*ck it, OK.’ I told him to tattoo a bumblebee on my foot, and he did.”

To those scared of getting stung, a bee is a peculiar choice. But not for Sasha.

“I always have this thing with bees,” Sasha said. “Anytime I feel like I need to know that things are going to be all right, a bee always lands on my face or on my hand or just really close to me and chills there for a couple seconds and leaves. It’s like my little sign that things will be all right.”
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