The buzz is officially on for writer/director Jeff Nichols’ new film, Take Shelter.  The film took the Grand Prize of the Critics Week  at the Cannes Film Festival last week and was awarded best film at the Sundance Competition.  Jeff Nichols also won the SACD award for best screenwriter.

The Little Rock native Nichols shot his first feature, 2007’s Shotgun Stories, in southeast Arkansas.  The small budget Shotgun Stories tells the story of three brothers feuding with the family that their now dead father began after he abandoned them.  The audience knows tragedy can be the only outcome, creating a slow burning intensity that Nichols relishes.

Based on the trailer, Take Shelter has a similar “impending dread” pace.  It stars the excellent Michael Shannon (who was in Shotgun Stories as well as Revolutionary Road, Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire) as Curtis LaForche who experiences visions of a massive, apocalyptic storm before deciding to construct a shelter for his family.  The wife disapproves of Curtis’ commitment, money troubles appear to be hounding the family.  Although the trailer has Shyamalanian eeriness to it, I doubt Take Shelter will have a supernatural slant.  I’m guessing that the storm is a sign of Curtis’ oncoming mental illness.

Here’s the trailer.  Let’s hope Arkansas is a part of the ‘limited release’ schedule…please.

Nichols’ next film will be Mud, produced by Aaron Ryder (who produced Christopher Nolan’s Mememto and The Prestige) and Sarah Green (who produced Terrance Malik’s The New World and upcoming Tree of Life). Chris Pine is in talks to play a Mississippi fugitive who seeks help from a fourteen year old boy.