Whatever (sony pictures classics)
photophoto
I called the film WHATEVER because at that time we all tried to maintain the facade that nothing mattered when, in fact, it did matter. It all mattered very much -Susan Skoog

As Susan Sontag said, "high school is the most formative experience of our lives". High school is where we become who we are going to be. It's the end of our childhood and the eve of adulthood. It's the beginning of our lives.

By the time we turn eighteen, we've experienced deep friendships, family conflicts, romantic turmoil and questioned our role in the world. At this combustible age, every detail is crucial; nothing is insignificant. Your hormones are raging, your mother is screaming, your best friend is messing up her life, and passing English becomes a life and death situation. Thank God it's over.

But it's never really over. With every job, every friendship and every romance, I'm reminded of someone or something from that era. High school is the ultimate microcosm and as much as the names and faces change, the song remains the same.

As a film lover and filmmaker, 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. But for most of us there are no clear answers and our experiences fall in between the cracks of the high school cliche.

Although I'm from New Jersey like Anna, the film is not autobiographical in specifics but I feel that the experience and emotional life she goes through are universal and something I understand. I've gone through major disappointments, I've given up things I've wanted to do, I've had trouble with my parents, I've had trouble with my friends - as I think everyone has.

I hope the film I made tells the truth about what it is to be a seventeen-year old girl, what it's like to lose your virginity to the wrong guy, to experiment with drugs, to lose your best friend, to forgive your mother, and finally, to find hope for the future. The excitement and wonder of adolescence goes hand-in-hand with the anxiety and the disappointments. My goal was to paint a portrait that is as colorful and vivid, as funny, complex and genuine as life itself.



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