“Mud” is an adventure about two boys, Ellis and his friend Neckbone, who find a man named Mud hiding out on an island in the Mississippi. Mud describes fantastic scenarios—he killed a man in Texas and vengeful bounty hunters are coming to get him. He says he is planning to meet and escape with the love of his life, Juniper, who is waiting for him in town. Skeptical but intrigued, Ellis and Neckbone agree to help him. It isn’t long until Mud’s visions come true and their small town is besieged by a beautiful girl with a line of bounty hunters in tow.
Matthew McConaughey (MUD)
Matthew McConaughey is one of Hollywood’s most sought after leading men whose films have grossed over a billion dollars at the box office. A chance meeting in Austin with casting director and producer Don Phillips led him to director Richard Linklater, who launched McConaughey’s career in the cult classic “Dazed and Confused.” Since then he has appeared in over 40 feature films, and has become a producer, director, and philanthropist all the while sticking to his Texas roots and “j.k. livin” philosophy.
2012 was a turning point for McConaughey -- he was nominated for 2 Independent Spirit Awards for his work in William Friedkin’s “Killer Joe” and Steven Soderbergh’s “Magic Mike,” and won Best Supporting Actor from the New York Film Critics Circle for his work in “Magic Mike” and Richard Linklater’s “Bernie,” which also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Picture. To round the year out, he had 2 world premiere films at Cannes, Lee Daniels’ "The Paperboy" and Jeff Nichols' "Mud.”
McConaughey’s other film credits include “The Lincoln Lawyer,” “Ghosts of Girlfriends Past,” “Tropic Thunder,” “We Are Marshall,” “Fool’s Gold” and “Two for the Money,” “Failure to Launch,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” “Reign of Fire,” “Thirteen Conversations About One Thing;” “Frailty,” “The Wedding Planner,” “U-571,” “EDtv,” “Amistad,” “Contact,” “A Time to Kill,” “Lone Star,” “Angels in the Outfield,” “The Newton Boys,” and “The Return of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.” He earned a People’s Choice Award for his role in the action adventure comedy “Sahara,” the first major motion picture produced by his production company, j.k. livin productions.
In 2008, McConaughey started The just keep livin Foundation which is dedicated to helping boys and girls transform into men and women through programs that teach the importance of decision making, health, education, and active living. The just keep livin Foundation has partnered with Communities in Schools (CIS) in West Los Angeles to implement fitness and wellness programs in two large, urban high schools. CIS is the nation’s largest, non-profit, dropout prevention organization. Through the j.k. livin afterschool program, they are able to give kids a healthy start in life and the promise of a healthy future. The official website is: www.jklivinfoundation.org
Tye Sheridan (ELLIS)
Tye Sheridan, 15, started out acting in school plays before being plucked from 10,000 other hopefuls to star in legendary writer-director Terrence Malick’s “The Tree of Life.” Tye played the sensitive youngest son to Jessica Chastain and Brad Pitt in this breathtaking film about growing up with a disciplinarian father. “The Tree of Life” won the 2011 Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival, the 2011 Gotham Award for Best Picture, and received three Academy Award nominations. Tye was featured in indieWIRE’s “Top twenty-five Filmmaker and Actors” of 2011.
Tye will soon begin production on “JOE,” a Southern drama directed by David Gordon Green. Tye will play Gary Jones, the eldest child in a homeless family headed by an alcoholic father. He and an ex-con (Nicolas Cage) become close as they try to find a better life in the hard world of small-town Mississippi.
Tye enjoys baseball, basketball, bow hunting and bow fishing, and resides in Elkhart, Texas.
Sam Shepard (TOM BLANKENSHIP)
Sam Shepard is an actor, screenwriter, director, and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright for his 1979 three-act play “Buried Child.” Shepard’s numerous other plays have included “Angel City,” “Curse of the Starving Class,” “Killer’s Head,” “The Mad Dog Blues,” “Cowboy Mouth,” “The Rock Garden,” “True West,” “The God of Hell,” and “Fool for Love.” In 1970, Shepard co-wrote Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Zabriskie Point” and later won critical acclaim for his original screenplay of Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas.”
As an actor, Shepard made his film debut in Bob Dylan’s “Renaldo and Clara” and went on to impress critics that same year starring in Terrence Malick’s “Days of Heaven” alongside Richard Gere. A number of strong appearances followed, including “Resurrection;" "Raggedy Man;” "Frances," opposite Jessica Lange; and most notably his role in Philip Kaufman’s “The Right Stuff,” which brought him an Academy Award® nomination. Shepard then re-teamed with Lange in “Country” and “Crimes of the Heart,” and played the lead in Robert Altman’s adaptation of his play “Fool for Love.”
Shepard’s other notable film credits include “Baby Boom,” “Steel Magnolias,” “Defenseless,” “Thunderheart,” “Bright Angel,” “Voyager,” “The Pelican Brief,” “Snow Falling on Cedars,” “Hamlet,” “All The Pretty Horses,” “The Pledge,” “Swordfish,” “Black Hawk Down,” “The Notebook,” “Stealth,” “Bandidas,” “Don’t Come Knocking,” “The Return,” and “Walker Payne.”
His notable television films and miniseries have included Larry McMurtry’s “Streets of Laredo,” “Lily Dale,” “Purgatory,” “Dash and Lilly” (which brought him both Golden Globe and Emmy nominations for his performance as writer Dashiell Hammett), “One Kill,” “Wild Geese,” and “Ruffian.”
Shepard also wrote and directed the features “Far North” and “Silent Tongue.”
Most recently Shepard was seen in “Blackthorn” directed by Mateo Gil opposite Eduardo Noriega and Stephen Rea, “Fair Game” with Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, directed by Doug Liman and “Inhale” with Dermot Mulroney and Diane Kruger, “Brothers,” opposite Jake Gyllenhaal, Tobey Maguire and Natalie Portman and directed by Jim Sheridan. He has recently completed the films “Darling Companion” with Diane Keaton directed by Lawrence Kasdan, “Safe House” with Denzel Washington directed by Daniel Espinosa and “Cogan’s Trade” with Brad Pitt directed by Andrew Dominik.
Reese Witherspoon (JUNIPER)
Reese Witherspoon's extraordinary performance as June Carter Cash in “Walk the Line” earned her the 2006 Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role, as well as a BAFTA, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award, New York Film Critics Award, Broadcast Film Critics Award, People’s Choice Award, among others.
Witherspoon most recently starred in “This Means War” with Tom Hardy and Chris Pine; “Water for Elephants” with Robert Pattinson and Christopher Waltz; “How Do You Know,” directed by James L. Brooks with Owen Wilson, Paul Rudd, and Jack Nicholson; and in Dreamworks Animation's “Monsters vs. Aliens.” She will next be seen starring opposite Colin Firth in Atom Egoyan's “Devil's Knot.”
Her illustrious career began when, at the age of 14, she hoped to be an extra in Robert Mulligan’s coming-of-age drama, “The Man in the Moon,” and unexpectedly landed the lead. She went on to star in such films as “Rendition,” “Just Like Heaven,” and as one of the most indelible characters in English literature, the social climbing Becky Sharpe, in Mira Nair’s revisionist take on the Thackery novel, “Vanity Fair.” She captured the hearts of girls everywhere with her endearing performance as Elle Woods in the surprise hit “Legally Blonde” and again two years later as both producer and star in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde.”
Additional film projects include the hit comedies “Four Christmases” and “Sweet Home Alabama;” “Alexander Payne's Election,” where her role as the indelible Tracy Flick earned her a Best Actress Award from the National Society of Film Critics as well as a Golden Globe Nomination; the teen cult classic “Cruel Intentions;” “Pleasantville,” written and directed by Gary Ross; the pulpy thriller, “Fear” opposite Mark Wahlberg; and “Freeway,” the wildly conceived modern version of “Little Red Riding Hood," produced by Oliver Stone and premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Witherspoon’s production company, TYPE A FILMS, in addition to producing “Legally Blonde 2” and “Four Christmases,” produced the modern fairy-tale Penelope, starring Christina Ricci and James McAvoy.
Witherspoon currently serves as Avon’s Global Ambassador and Honorary Chairman of the Avon Foundation for Women representing a company with a conscience and strong rights for Women’s Empowerment. Witherspoon strongly supports the passage of the International Violence Against Women Act, which creates a comprehensive approach to combat violence. Although low key about her ongoing charity work, Witherspoon has been active on behalf of the Rape Treatment Center at the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center and Save the Children. She currently serves on the board of the Children’s Defense Fund, with whom she has been involved for many years, raising money and awareness for their many programs. Last year she went to New Orleans with a group of women to open the first “Freedom School” there, and they have since endowed thirteen more community centers in the area.
Jeff Nichols, Director and Writer
Jeff Nichols made his feature film debut as the writer and director of “Shotgun Stories” in 2007, and his second film, “Take Shelter,” which was released in 2011.
“Shotgun Stories” premiered at the Berlin Film Festival in 2007, and was released theatrically in the United States in March 2008. It was nominated for a 2008 Independent Spirit Award, won the Grand Jury Prize for New American Cinema at the Seattle International Film Festival, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Austin Film Festival, and won the FIPRESCI International Jury Prize at the 2007 Viennale.
“Take Shelter” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2011 and was released theatrically in the United States in September 2011. It won the Critics Week Grand Prize, the FIPRESCI award, and the SACD Award for Best Feature at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. “Take Shelter” was nominated for five 2012 Film Independent Spirit Awards including: Best Feature, Best Director, Best Male Lead (Michael Shannon) and Best Supporting Female (Jessica Chastain).
“Mud,” Nichols’ third and latest film, recently premiered in main competition at the 2012 Cannes Film Festival.
Born and raised in Little Rock, Arkansas, Nichols is a graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts, School of Filmmaking, and is a current resident of Austin, Texas.
Sarah Green, Producer
Sarah Green was Executive Producer on “Take Shelter,” written and directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. “Take Shelter” premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and won the Grand Prize in Critics Week, the FIPRESCI award and the SACD award for best feature, all at the Cannes Film Festival.
Green has worked often with writer/director Terrence Malick; she produced his Best Picture Academy Award-nominated “The Tree of Life” starring Brad Pitt and Sean Penn, which also won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, as well as his latest film, “To The Wonder,” starring Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem, which will be released in early 2013. Green produced Malick's epic adventure “The New World,” starring Colin Farrell and Christian Bale, and is currently producing two new films with Malick: “Knight of Cups” starring Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett and Natalie Portman, and an untitled film starring Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Rooney Mara and Natalie Portman.
Green produced the Academy Award-winning “Frida,” directed by Julie Taymor and starring Salma Hayek and Alfred Molina, and “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights,” starring Diego Luna. She produced “Girlfight” and “State And Main” in 2002. “Girlfight” won the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival, shared the Grand Jury Prize and won Best Director for Karyn Kusama at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as multiple awards for then newcomer Michelle Rodriguez, and “State And Main” won multiple cast awards for an ensemble that included Philip Seymour Hoffman, Sarah Jessica Parker, Alec Baldwin and Julia Stiles, as well as four screenplay nominations for writer/director David Mamet.
Previously, Green produced Mamet’s “The Winslow Boy,” “The Spanish Prisoner,” “American Buffalo” (directed by Michael Corrente) and “Oleanna.” She produced three films for writer/director John Sayles: “The Secret Of Roan Inish,” nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards; “Passion Fish,” nominated for two Academy Awards, two Golden Globes and two Independent Spirit Awards (winning one); and “City Of Hope,” which won the Grand Prix at the Tokyo Film Festival and the Critics’ Award at the Edinburgh International Film Festival. She also produced the Emmy Award® winning American Playhouse production of “Andre’s Mother,” which was named Best Television Movie of 1990 by the National Board of Review.
Green serves on the boards of the Producers Guild of America and the Austin Film Society.
Aaron Ryder, Producer
Aaron Ryder has established himself as one of the brightest and most prolific young producers working today. In 1999 he teamed with Newmarket to serve as the company’s president of production and in-house producer. During his tenure he developed, produced and executive produced such films as “The Mexican,” starring Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts, the independent hit “Memento,” starring Guy Pearce and Carrie-Anne Moss, as well as “Donnie Darko,” with Drew Barrymore and Jake Gyllenhaal. Other credits include “Stark Raving Mad” and “Wrong Turn.”
In 2003 Ryder shifted gears to help Newmarket build their fledgling distribution company. Ryder was directly responsible for acquiring films for domestic distribution including “Whale Rider,” “Monster” and “The Woodsman.”
In 2004 Ryder and Newmarket formed Raygun Productions - a non-exclusive production entity for Ryder to produce up to two films a year for the Newmarket pipeline, while at the same time affording him the ability to produce films outside of the parent company. Recent projects outside of his deal with Newmarket include: “The Amateurs,” starring Jeff Bridges, “The Return,” for Universal’s Rogue Pictures starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, “The T.V. Set,” which he produced with filmmaker Jake Kasdan and starred David Duchovny and Sigourney Weaver, and Richard Loncraine’s “My One And Only,” which starred Renee Zellweger and Kevin Bacon. Through his deal with Newmarket Ryder produced “The Prestige,” which reunited him with “Memento” and “Dark Knight” director Christopher Nolan. The film stars Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie.
Ryder’s “Hamlet 2,” starring Steve Coogan, Catherine Keener, Amy Pohler, and Elizabeth Shue was the second largest seller in Sundance history after “Little Miss Sunshine.”
In 2009 Ryder joined FilmNation Entertainment to serve as the company’s President of Production. He served as Executive Producer on “Sanctum,” a James Cameron presentation which was released by Universal. Ryder produced “The Raven” for FilmNation which stars John Cusack, Luke Evans, Alice Eve, and Brendan Gleeson, and was directed by James McTeigue (“V For Vendetta”). Ryder also recently produced FilmNation’s “The House At The End Of The Street” which was directed by rising British director Mark Tonderai, and stars Jennifer Lawrence (“Winter’s Bone”), Max Thieriot, and Elisabeth Shue.
Lisa Maria Falcone, Producer
Lisa Maria Falcone founded Everest Entertainment to develop films focusing on important and sometimes difficult issues, the quality of writing and strong, complex characters. Her motion picture credits include executive producing Danny Boyle’s acclaimed film “127 Hours” (Fox Searchlight), which was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Motion Picture. She also produced Thomas McCarthy’s “Win Win” (Fox Searchlight), which stars Paul Giamatti, and produced Rodrigo Garcia’s “Mother and Child” (Sony Pictures Classics) starring Naomi Watts and Annette Bening. On the music side, Lisa Maria produced Grammy Award-winning artist Swizz Beatz upcoming album titled “Haute Living,” featuring such artists as Jay-Z, Mary J. Blige, John Legend and Coldplay.
Her childhood spent growing up in Spanish Harlem was enriched by her access to the arts. Today, whether producing films, sitting on the board of the New York City Ballet, serving as chairwoman of numerous galas including the Museum of Natural History or being an early and major supporter of Friends of the High Line—New York's first elevated public park—Lisa Maria is committed to making the arts accessible to all individuals. Born and raised in New York City and of Puerto Rican descent, Lisa Maria and her husband Philip are the proud parents of twin daughters.