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USA, 1998 (MIFF 1998, International Panorama)

Director: Susan Skoog

A New Jersey girl on the verge of adulthood. Anna (Liza Weil) is struggling to realise her dreams in a world where there are no easy solutions or happy endings. It is the early 80s: The Ramones, Iggy Pop and Blondie are hot. It's a time of excess - a last call for the sex, drugs and rock and roll in a time of pre-AIDS adventure and experimentation. Anna has her sights set on a prestigious - and more importantly, free - art school in New York. She also wants to experience life to the full, and there couldn't be a better person to help her walk on the wild side than the troubled, hard-partying Brenda (Chad Morgan). Brenda introduces her to a couple of sexy and dangerous young men with criminal pasts, with whom they find romance, danger and the adventure they are seeking.

The appeal of Whatever is the way in which it deals with weighty issues in a realistic context. Unlike so many rites-of-passage films, Whatever neither tears issues out of context or shies away from them. Nor does it take a patronising, adult view of the adolescent world. Liza Weil embraces the role of Anna with a range of emotions which come with the age: over-zealous confidence, fear, uncertainty and a desperate need for independence. Susan Skoog's Whatever is a bold, gritty and ambitious adolescent film, a long-overdue addition to the psychology of youth.

"As a film lover I've never felt that my experiences, and those of my friends, have been faithfully represented on screen. Most coming of age films voice the male perspective or present stereotypes with easy solutions and happy endings. For most of us there are no clear answers and our experiences fall in between the cracks of the high school cliche." - Susan Skoog

Whatever is Susan Skoog's debut feature film. Previously, she has worked as writer, director and producer for such television networks as TNT, MTV and CBS. Her first short film, A Dry Heat, was accepted for the Cannes Film Festival, and screened at other film festivals including Avignon, Boston, Vancouver and Seattle.

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