Hannah Fidell’s website is almost blank. The starkly white homepage just reads, “Hello. My name is Hannah. I write, direct, and produce movies.” But the plainness of Fidell’s web presence belies the New School media studies alumna’s accomplishments. Her feature-length film, A Teacher, has been selected to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. The film is nominated in the NEXT category, which features “pure, bold works distinguished by an innovative, forward-thinking approach to storytelling,” according to the Sundance website.
Shot entirely in Austin last year, Fidell’s indie film stars emerging actress Lindsay Burdge as a high school teacher from Texas who has an affair with her student, played by newcomer Will Brittain.
“I wanted to make a film about getting older,” said Fidell, “about realizing that you’re not a kid anymore, that you can’t make the mistakes you can make when you’re young.” Written as a psychological drama with Burge in mind for the lead, A Teacher was inspired by Isabelle Huppert’s powerful performance in Michael Haneke’s The Piano Teacher.
“I started thinking about what made my favorite movies my favorite movies, and realized the majority of them dealt with characters in the midst of some sort of emotional crisis.”
Fidell, who wrote, directed, and produced A Teacher, is based in Brooklyn. In May of 2012, she won the top prize at the inaugural Champs-Elysées Film Festival’s US in Progress event, and was recently named to Filmmaker Magazine’s annual ’25 new faces of independent film’ list. Fidell has had two previous short films, The Gathering Squall and Man & Gun, shown at the 2012 South By Southwest film festival.
To watch a clip from A Teacher, click here.