Roman Coppola
Credit: Jonathan Leibson/WireImage

A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III

It was a Coppola family affair at the Los Angeles premiere of Four Stories, a short film series sponsored by and featuring W Hotels and Intel Ultrabooks. Roman Coppola curated. Jason Schwartzman and Robert Schwartzman starred in two of the films. And Talia Shire turned out to support her sons and nephew.

Die Again, Undead One is Roman Coppola’s bonus contribution to the slate. It’s part Coppola just having fun with the idea of Hollywood, B-movies, and his cousin (Schwartzman), and part plug for A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swann III (in theaters February 8).

But the main event was to show the four films that were selected from over 1,000 screenplays by a panel of indie film cool kids like Chloë Sevigny and Michael Pitt, and quickly turned into sleek shorts set in W Hotels around the world on budgets of around $75K each.

After the jump, take a look at the Four Stories, directed by Lake Bell (In a World…), Lee Toland Krieger (Celeste and Jesse Forever), Spencer Susser (Hesher), and Kahlil Joseph (Until the Quiet Comes).

While Four Stories is part a marketing stunt, each was done with heart and sincerity by filmmakers who have gotten into Sundance (Bell’s In a World… and Joseph’s Until the Quiet Comes will be at the 2013 Festival, and Susser’s Hesher was shown at the 2010 Festival) and been nominated for Film Independent Spirit Awards (Krieger’s Celeste and Jesse Forever, which also premiered at Sundance in 2012).

Each film rises above the gimmick to tell funny, bizarre, and haunting stories. The Four Stories are not just love letters to two brands.

Coppola says, “I was approached and basically I felt that when corporations like Intel and W feel that it’s worthwhile to sponsor emerging artists and young people trying to do stuff, I think it’s admirable and a nice gesture. I said yes because I thought “why not” in a positive way. I’m very pleased. We gave opportunities and people seemed to appreciate it.”

Up next, see the shorts directed by Lake Bell and Kahlil Joseph.

¡El Tonto! directed by Lake Bell (feat. Kyle Mooney)

¡El Tonto! was originally submitted with no dialogue at all. Lake Bell stepped in to collaborate with the screenwriter to add some dialogue, humor, and an element of being lost in translation.

Bell decided against using subtitles in ¡El Tonto! to deliberately disorient the audience. She says “I wanted the audience to experience with Kyle. I also don’t speak Spanish, but I like the idea that you roll along with the protagonist in trying to figure out what’s going on around you. Hopefully you’ll see the relationship between the two guys without understanding what either of them were saying.”

Established in her own right as an actor and director, Bell doesn’t have an issue with the sponsors behind these films. “Anytime you want to do something and there are opportunities, you need to go out of your way to seek out and participate in those opportunities. If you hear of a screenwriting competition and you want to be a screenwriter, there’s no reason why not. My first short film I made with the help of Kickstarter. This is a similar conceit,” says Bell.

The Mirror Between Us directed by Kahlil Joseph (feat. Nicole Beharie from Shame)

Click through for Spencer Susser and Lee Toland Krieger’s shorts.

Eugene directed by Spencer Susser

Modern/Love directed by Lee Toland Krieger (featuring Robert Schwartzman)

This isn’t the first time the Coppolas have dipped their toes into commercial work. Roman Coppola directed this Stella ad with Wes Anderson. Sofia Coppola worked on a Dior perfume campaign. Gia Coppola even did one for Opening Ceremony with Kirsten Dunst and Schwartzman. They join a bevy of established directors whose work has crossed over into the ad world, including David Lynch, David Fincher, Ridley Scott, Spike Lee, John Hillcoat, and Baz Lurhmann, just to name a few.


A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III
  • Movie
  • 86 minutes