Suspenseful and genuinely observed, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte’s As You Are is a genre-blending saga of three teens forging their identities in the upstate New York suburbs. Told through a complex network of flashbacks and police interviews and filled with inspired visual touches, it is one of the most accomplished recnt American debuts. It also features a superb cast of rising acting talents: Owen Campbell (The Miseducation of Cameron Post), Charlie Heaton (Stranger Things, The Souvenir: Part II) and Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games). Shot when Joris-Peyrafitte was only 23, he became one of the youngest filmmakers ever accepted in competition at Sundance when the film premiered there in 2016, winning the Special Jury Award.
Youth is one of the film’s main themes, and Joris-Peyrafitte felt urgently that he wanted to tell this story while still close to his protagonists’ age, so that the upheavals in their lives retained real weight and force for him. Alongside his co-screenwriter and close childhood friend Madison Harrison, Joris-Peyrafitte was able to draw with remarkable immediacy on their shared memories and experiences, avoiding the nostalgia that often bothered them in other coming-of-age films.
“I’m still in awe of the vulnerability and honesty of the performances and the trust that our producers put in a couple of kids to make this movie. I love everyone who we made this with and I’m sure I always will.” MILES JORIS-PEYRAFITTE
The film is set in the early ’90s, a choice made to show how these characters would have been isolated in the era before social media. The era is evoked in the title (borrowed from a Nirvana song), and in the playlist’s worth of grunge and punk bands namechecked in the script and production design. Joris-Peyrafitte also co-wrote the film’s score, recording over an hour of music with close friend Patrick Higgins in a whirlwind 5-day session to meet their Sundance deadline – a feat only possible since the musically minded director had shot scenes with certain chord patterns already planned out.
An Albany, New York native, Joris-Peyrafitte is a graduate of Bard College, where he studied under filmmakers Kelly Reichardt, Peter Hutton and So Yong Kim and made his first short films. His second feature, Dreamland, starring Margot Robbie and produced for her company LuckyChap and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones’ Automatik, is a crime story set in 1930s Texas. Upon its Tribeca 2019 premiere, Hollywood Reporter hailed it as a “stunning” drama that “proves [Joris-Peyrafitte] to be one of the most exciting young directors around.” He is currently working on an original screenplay titled “The Hunter & the fox”, announced as an elevated horror thriller and produced by Annapurna.
- Credits for
- As You Are
- Owen Campbell, Scott Cohen, Charlie Heaton, Mary Stuart Masterson & Amandla Stenberg
- written by
- Madison Harrison & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
- produced by
- Sean Patrick Burke, Justin Lothrop, Joseph Mastantuono & Brent Stiefel
- co-produced by
- Joseph Aliberti
- associate produced by
- Shea Chappel
- executive produced by
- Charles Stiefel & Todd Stiefel
- Caleb Heymann
- Rick Cardone
- Patrick Higgins & Miles Joris-Peyrafitte
- Abbi Jutkowitz
- production design
- Audrey Turner
- costume design
- Miyako Bellizzi