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May 25, 2003

Family brag: This afternoon, at the 56th Cannes Film Festival, the Palm D’Or was won by Elephant, directed by Gus Van Sant. Van Sant also won the Best Direction award.

A movie about high school violence, cast with real high school kids, this indie feature hasn’t actually been released yet, but I’ve been hearing bits and pieces about it because (ahem) my brother, Benjamin Hayden, was the movie’s art director. Needless to say, he and the rest of the small cast and crew are currently over the moon.

USA Today reports van Sant’s acceptance remarks:

“Thank you very much, from the bottom of my heart,” he said, looking somewhat stunned after winning the festival’s top prize. “For years, I tried to bring one of my films to the Cannes festival and this time, it’s invigorating to receive such a prize. Vive la France!”
Vive la, indeed. And serious congratulations to Benjamin. Oh yeah, to that van Sant guy too.

UPDATE: IMDB link under Benjamin’s name courtesy of stfnal prodigy Greg van Eekhout, in my comment section. [05:29 PM]

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Hard-Hitting Moderator: Teresa Nielsen Hayden.

Comments on Family brag::

LauraJMixon ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2003, 06:18 PM:

Woohoo! Way cool. Congrats to your brother and to van Sant and the rest of the movie crew.

Greg van Eekhout ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2003, 06:58 PM:

Curious, I IMDB'd your brother and discovered that I'd been admiring his work on X-Files for years.

Congrats to all.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2003, 07:19 PM:

Yep, that's him. He was props guy for a bunch of X-Files seasons, as I recall. The last time I was out to Portland to visit him and his family, piled-up X-Files script copies served as scratch paper for the kids. I reflected on how agog some of my TV-geekier friends would be to see this...

Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: May 25, 2003, 10:40 PM:

Oh wow! He worked on the movie of Even Cowgirls Get the Blues! Did he get to meet Tom Robbins? I love that man's books! Must get the new one soon.


Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 07:56 AM:

He has done some interesting work. He must be very good to have worked on movies like that. Did he actually get to go Cannes?

Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 09:26 AM:

Congratulations to your brother and the rest involved in the film!

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 08:30 PM:

Big front-page article on the "Elephant" win & a profile of Van Sant in _The Oregonian_ today:


The movie was filmed in an abandoned high school in north Portland.

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 08:49 PM:

Indeed it was. They dressed it up to look like an in-use high school; in a bit of in-family freelancing, I'm told, my graphic-designer parents designed the sign on the school's exterior, and a bunch of classroom posters and other printed matter which will probably be on screen for about half a second.

In a further bit of strange connection, my mother is fairly sure it's the same school in which she was briefly a substitute librarian over thirty years ago, during the one year our whole family lived in Portland.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 11:44 PM:

I wonder if the site will become a cinema-buff tourist attraction. Maybe the McMinamins (sp?) Bros. will turn it into another B&B, like they did with the Kennedy School.

God knows Oregon can't afford to actually reopen it as a school . . .

Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: May 26, 2003, 11:57 PM:

Assuming you mean the brothers who operate all those cool brewpubs and theaters in Portland: the spelling is McMenamin.

Google is your friend. And mine.

Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: May 27, 2003, 01:07 PM:

Them's the ones.

Not just Portland. All over NW Oregon, and bits of Washington, too. They've got restaurants, B&Bs, and little resorts (including a converted Masonic lodge/retreat). And they've got the SPRUCE GOOSE!

Whoever does *their* design work and decor has it on the ball.