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Volume 24, Number 10 — November 2017

Abingdon natives direct major films

October 26, 2017

Abingdon natives, Colette Burson and Scott Cooper, both have directed major Hollywood films which premiere at the Virginia Film Festival, Nov. 9-11 in Charlottesville, Virginia, then go into major release.

Burson's film, "Permanent," is a comic coming-of-age story based on her own experience attending E.B. Stanley Elementary School in Abingdon. It's 1982, and all the young girls yearn for Farrah Fawcett-type curls. Pre-teen Aurelie begs her parents for a permanent, hoping for life-changing curly waves, but when they take her to a beauty school instead of a salon to save money, disaster ensues. A bored student-beautician accidentally sets the timer for too long, and the perm ends up destroying Aurelie's already low-grade social life as well as her hair follicles. Aurelie is left as a gawky, yet endearing, young teenager trying to navigate junior high with what some kids call an afro, who then throw things at her — from epithets to dodgeballs.

Burson is a writer/producer/director known for creating "Hung" (HBO, 20092011) and "The Riches" (FX, 2007) with her husband/writing partner Dmitry Lipkin. She directed episodes of "Hung," as well as the short film "Little Black Boot" (Sundance, 2004). Scott Cooper's new film, a western, is set in 1892 and focuses on Army Captain Joseph Blocker (played by Christian Bale) who is ordered to escort an ailing, long-time prisoner, Chief Yellow Hawk, and his family back to their Cheyenne homeland to die.

Blocker is enraged by this assignment because Yellow Hawk was the killer of his friends. This gritty western is a meditation on hatred and how a soul can be forged by violence. The central theme is that hostility can come from anywhere, or anyone. We are all potential hostiles. Other actors in the film include Wes Studi and Rosamund Pike. Scott Cooper, an actor and director, is known for "Crazy Hear




Colette Burson