(San Francisco, CA)—The Emmy® Award-winning PBS series Independent Lens, hosted by Maggie Gyllenhaal, concludes its Fall 2009/Spring 2010 season with the broadcast premiere of Ramin Bahrani’s critically acclaimed Goodbye Solo. The film, an Independent Spirit Award nominee, and winner of the International Critics Prize at the Venice Film Festival, premieres on Tuesday, June 1, 2010, at 10pm (check local listings).
On the lonely roads of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, two men forge an improbable friendship that will change both of their lives forever. Solo is a Senegalese cab driver working to provide a better life for his young family. William is a tough, Southern, good ol’ boy with a lifetime of regrets. One man’s American dream is just beginning, while the other’s is quickly winding down. But despite their differences, both men soon realize they need each other more than either is willing to admit. Through this unlikely, but unforgettable friendship, Goodbye Solo deftly explores the passing of a generation, as well as the rapidly changing face of America.
To learn more about the film and its subjects, visit the companion website for Goodbye Solo at pbs.org/goodbye-solo. Get detailed information on the film, watch preview clips, read an interview with the filmmaker and explore the subject in depth with links and resources. The site also features a Talkback section where viewers can share their ideas and opinions.
About the Filmmakers
RAMIN BAHRANI (Writer/Director/Producer)
Born and raised in North Carolina, American writer/director Ramin Bahrani’s first feature film, Man Push Cart (2005), premiered at The Venice Film Festival, won over 10 international prizes, and was nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards (2007) including Best First Film. Chop Shop (2007), premiered at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, and then screened at Toronto (2007) and Berlin (2008). Chop Shop won several prizes, including the Acura Someone to Watch Independent Spirit Award (2008) for Bahrani. In 2009, the film was nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Director. Roger Ebert listed Chop Shop on his best 10 of the decade list and proclaimed Bahrani “the director of the decade.” In 2008, Bahrani premiered his third film, Goodbye Solo, as an official selection of the Venice Film Festival and won the FIPRESCI international critics prize for Best Film. The film was called a “near-masterpiece” by A.O. Scott of The New York Times and Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun Times hailed Ramin Bahrani as “the new great American director.” The film was on countless top ten lists in 2009 and was nominated for a 2010 Spirit Award and a Gotham Award (2009). His latest film, a short subject titled Plastic Bag (2009), premiered as the opening night film of Corto Cortissimo in the Venice Film Festival, where Bahrani was also on the jury for best first films. It later screened at Telluride, New York, and SXSW film festivals. The film features the voice of legendary filmmaker Werner Herzog, and an original score from Kjartan Sveinsson of Sigur Rós. In early 2009, Bahrani was a recipient of the prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship, and was also the subject of several international retrospectives, including the MoMA in New York City, Harvard University, and the La Rochelle Film Festival in France. Bahrani is professor of directing at Columbia University’s graduate film program, and is currently preparing his new film, a period Western.
JASON ORANS (Producer)
New York City-based independent producer Jason Orans was nominated for the 2009 IFP Independent Spirit Producer Award for his work on Goodbye Solo, and for the feature Year of the Fish (Sundance 2007). Orans most recently produced Night Catches Us, starring Anthony Mackie and Kerry Washington, which premiered at Sundance 2010 in the Dramatic Competition and Dare, starring Emmy Rossum and Alan Cumming, which premiered at Sundance 2009, also in the Dramatic Competition. Orans co-founded Gigantic Pictures with producing partner Brian Devine, and together they’ve produced Goodbye Solo (Slamdance 2007); Flannel Pajamas (Sundance Dramatic Competition 2006); and Satellite (Tribeca 2005), as well as the several movies for PBS including Cosmopolitan, The Suitor, and The First Seven Years.
BAHAREH AZIMI (Screenwriter)
Bahareh Azimi holds a degree as a water engineer, and is also an architect and interior designer in France. Azimi has worked for several years in one of the leading and most innovative architecture firms in Nice. She has also written songs for several French independent musicians. Goodbye Solo is her follow-up collaboration with Ramin Bahrani after co-writing Chop Shop with him.
About the Cast SOULÉYMANE SY SAVANÉ (Solo)
Born in the Ivory Coast to a Senegalese mother and a Mandingo father, Savané grew up in both Paris and West Africa‘s Abidjan. In the mid-nineties, Savané won an African modeling contest, and he soon became a regular face at Paris Fashion Week, working with such notables as Jean-Paul Gaultier, Dries Van Noten, and Kenzo. In 2006, Savané was cast as a recurring character on the world‘s first African TV drama produced in the States, Yama Afrika. Savané was also a flight attendant for many years with Air Afrique. Goodbye Solo is his feature film acting debut; his performance earned him a 2009 Independent Spirit Award nomination of Best Male Lead.
RED WEST (William)
Born in 1936 in Memphis, Tennessee, Red West is known around the world as a close friend of Elvis Presley, and a member of the fabled Memphis Mafia. He served as Presley’s bodyguard and constant companion throughout the many phases of Presley‘s career, from the humble beginnings through the tragic end. While working with Presley, West became a movie stuntman and actor and appeared in 16 classic Elvis movies. Since the 60’s, West has appeared in supporting major roles for Francis Ford Coppola, Robert Altman, and Oliver Stone and has appeared in many other films, from big budget studio fare such as Glory Road and Road House, to independent gems like Ira Sachs’s Sundance award-winning Forty Shades of Blue. He has appeared in recurring roles on numerous TV series including The Riches and Wild Wild West. West is also an accomplished songwriter, whose work has been recorded by the legendary singers Pat Boone, Ricky Nelson, Johnny Rivers, and many others. His two classics are Separate Ways and Why Can‘t Every Day be Like Christmas?; both of which were made into immortal recordings by Elvis Presley. Goodbye Solo is West’s first leading role.
About Independent Lens
Independent Lens is an Emmy® Award-winning weekly series airing Tuesday nights at 10pm on PBS. The acclaimed anthology series features documentaries and a limited number of fiction films united by the creative freedom, artistic achievement and unflinching visions of their independent producers. Independent Lens features unforgettable stories about a unique individual, community or moment in history. Presented by the Independent Television Service (ITVS), the series is supported by interactive companion websites, and national publicity and community engagement campaigns. Further information about the series is available at www.pbs.org/independentlens. Independent Lens is jointly curated by ITVS and PBS, and is funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), a private corporation funded by the American people, with additional funding provided by PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts. The series producer is Lois Vossen.