Joe Talbot’s “American Paradise” brings attention to itself by referencing Trump’s America in its official synopsis: “A desperate man in Trump’s America tries to shift his luck with the perfect crime in this story inspired by true events.”
“I think the film feels especially relevant because of what Trump’s election has brought to the forefront for people,” said Talbot. “But in truth, the actual events took place over five years ago. And what the film deals with is as old as the country itself. Even as a story, when I stumbled upon it, I felt like I had discovered some great lost folk tale. It’s drenched in all of this American symbolism, but it just feels like a bizarre campfire story. That’s part of why we chose to tell it the way we did, as a myth of sorts told by a grandfather to his grandchildren.”
James Brooks plays the weekend fisherman idly narrating the tale of an amateur criminal who is more than clueless. Talbot’s writing talent is this short’s secret weapon, and the narration Brooks provides is practically Coen Brothers-esque.
One of Filmmaker’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film 2015, San Francisco-native Talbot attended the Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab with his soon-to-be-produced debut feature, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco,” in 2016. “To be returning to Sundance the following year with a movie feels like a dream,” said Talbot.