Frozen River (2008)

Frozen River 2008tt0978759.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Frozen River (2008)
  • Rate: 7.2/10 total 14,218 votes 
  • Genre: Crime | Drama
  • Release Date: 31 October 2008 (Venezuela)
  • Runtime: 97 min
  • Filming Location: New York, USA
  • Budget: $1,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $4,028,957(Worldwide)(2008)
  • Director: Courtney Hunt
  • Stars: Melissa Leo, Misty Upham and Charlie McDermott
  • Original Music By: Peter Golub  Shahzad Ismaily  (as Shahzad Ali Ismaily) 
  • Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
  • Plot Keyword: Mohawk | Money | New York | River | Smuggling

Writing Credits By:

  • Courtney Hunt (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Charlie McDermott and James Reilly, who play brothers, are, in actual life, cousins.
  • Melissa Leo’s character Ray Eddy’s name is spoken one time throughout the film.

Goofs: Factual errors: In Québec there are no license plates on the front of vehicles. However, there is a front Québec license plate mounted on the Toyota Forerunner driven in the second smuggling.

Plot: Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec… See more »  »

Story: Takes place in the days before Christmas near a little-known border crossing on the Mohawk reservation between New York State and Quebec. Here, the lure of fast money from smuggling presents a daily challenge to single moms who would otherwise be earning minimum wage. Two women – one white, one Mohawk, both single mothers faced with desperate circumstances – are drawn into the world of border smuggling across the frozen water of the St. Lawrence River. Ray and Lila – and a New York State Trooper as opponent in an evolving cat-and-mouse game.Written by anonymous  

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Synopsis: The film is set in the North Country of Upstate New York, near the Akwesasne (‘Where the Partridge Drum’) St. Regis Mohawk Reservation and the Canadian border, shortly before Christmas. Ray Eddy (Melissa Leo) is a discount store clerk struggling to raise two sons with her husband, a compulsive gambler who has disappeared with the funds she had earmarked to finance the purchase of a double-wide mobile home. While searching for him, she encounters Lila Littlewolf (Misty Upham), a Mohawk bingo-parlor employee who is driving his car, which she claims she found abandoned with the keys in the ignition at the local bus-station. The two women, who have fallen on hard economic times, form a desperate and uneasy alliance and begin trafficking illegal immigrants from Canada into the United States across the frozen St. Lawrence River for $1200 each per crossing.

Ray’s older son T.J. wants to find a job and help support the family so they can afford to eat something more substantial than popcorn and Tang. He and his mother clash over whether he should remain in high-school and look after his little brother Ricky or drop out to work. To make matters worse, T.J. sets an outside corner of the trailer afire with a torch in an attempt to unfreeze the water pipe. Lila longs for the day she will be able to reclaim and live with her young son, who was taken from her by her mother-in-law immediately after his birth.

Because the women’s route takes them from an Indian reservation in the US to an Indian reserve in Canada, they hope to avoid detection by local law-enforcement. However, their problems escalate when they are asked to smuggle a Pakistani couple and Ray, fearful their duffel bag might contain explosives, leaves it behind in sub-freezing temperatures, only to discover it contained their infant baby when they arrive at their destination. She and Lila retrace their route and find the bag and the baby, which Lila insists is dead, but which she revives moments before being reunited with the baby’s parents. The experience leaves her shaken, and she announces she no longer wants to participate in the smuggling-operation. But Ray, needing just one more crossing to finance the down payment on her mobile home, coerces her into joining her for one last journey.

They pick up two Asian women from a strip club for crossing. When the club owner tries to short them, Ray successfully threatens him with a gun. When she is re-entering her car, the irate club owner retaliates by shooting Ray in the ear. Shaken, her fast and erratic driving catches the attention of the state police. Ray tries to elude capture by crossing the frozen river where one of the wheels of the car breaks through the ice. The four women abandon the vehicle and take refuge at the Indian reservation.

Because the police are demanding a scapegoat, the tribal head decides to excommunicate Lila for five years due to her smuggling history which involved the death of her Mohawk husband. Surprised then saddened by the news, Lila gives in to Ray’s pleas to go free for the sake of her children. However, running through the woods, Ray has a fit of conscience and returns. She gives her share of money to Lila with instructions for taking care of her sons and seeing through purchase plans for a trailer home. She and the illegal immigrants are surrendered to the police and a trooper speculates she will have to serve four months in jail. She calls her son T.J. to explain what has happened.

Lila pushes her way into her monther-in-law’s home and reclaims her infant son. She and the baby show up at the Eddy trailer while T.J. is still on the phone with his jailed mother. In a day scene, T.J. completes the welding of a bicycle-propelled carousel bearing his younger brother and Lila’s strapped in baby. He pedals the carousel while Lila smiles on. A truck nears carrying the new trailer home.

{tab=FullCast & Crew}

Produced By:

  • Charles S. Cohen known as executive producer
  • Molly Conners known as co-producer
  • Jenny R. Evans known as associate producer (as Jenny Evans)
  • Donald Harwood known as executive producer (as Donald A. Harwood)
  • Chip Hourihan known as line producer
  • Chip Hourihan known as producer
  • Jay B. Itkowitz known as co-executive producer
  • Laura Mehlhaff known as assistant producer
  • Heather Rae known as producer
  • Craig Shilowich known as assistant producer
  • Alfonso Trinidad known as associate producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Melissa Leo known as Ray Eddy
  • Misty Upham known as Lila Littlewolf
  • Charlie McDermott known as T.J.
  • Michael O'Keefe known as Trooper Finnerty
  • Mark Boone Junior known as Jacques Bruno
  • James Reilly known as Ricky
  • Jay Klaitz known as Guy Versailles
  • John Canoe known as Bernie Littlewolf
  • Dylan Carusona known as Jimmy
  • Michael Skye known as Billy Three Rivers (as Michael Sky)
  • Gargi Shinde known as Pakistani Mother
  • Rajesh Bose known as Pakistani Father
  • Azin Jahanbakhsh known as Pakistani Dealer
  • Jack Phillips known as Pakistani Baby
  • James Phillips known as Pakistani Baby
  • Madelyn Cross known as Velma – Ticket Taker
  • Donna Jacobs known as Evelyn Littlewoof
  • Trudy Rice known as Rosalie
  • Craig Shilowich known as Matt
  • Brittany Leborgne known as Pat
  • Justin Kotyk known as Mick
  • Betty Ouyang known as Li Wei – Chinese Woman #1
  • Nancy Wu known as Chen Li – Chinese Woman #2
  • Pun Bandhu known as Chinese Man #1
  • Scott Chan known as Chinese Man #2
  • Joey Chanlin known as Chinese Man #3
  • Kenneth Fung known as Chinese Man #4
  • Brian Lashway known as Rent-To-Own Man
  • Paul Borst known as Rent-To-Own Man
  • Trisha M. Sky known as Danceuses Nues Bartender
  • Angelina Kent known as Danceuses Nues Dancer
  • Angus Curotte known as Wolf Mart Attendant
  • Adam Lukens known as Mitch
  • Thahnhahténhtha Gilbert known as Little Jake
  • Tom Messner known as TV Weatherman
  • Betty Deer known as Mrs. Three Rivers
  • Scott W. Beebie known as Surete De Quebec Officer
  • Gary Hemingway known as Mobile Home Driver
  • John K. Vanvalkenburg known as Mobile Home Driver
  • Jonathan T. Vanvalkenburg known as Mobile Home Driver
  • Pat Fisher known as Mobile Home Customer
  • Sherry Drinkwine known as Mobile Home Customer
  • Konwenni Jacobs known as Wolf Mart Patron
  • Catherine Deer known as Wolf Mart Patron
  • Melissa-Jean Deer known as Wolf Mart Patron
  • Patrice Jersey known as Yankee One Dollar Patron
  • David Jersey known as Yankee One Dollar Patron
  • Cameron Jersey known as Yankee One Dollar Patron
  • Lance Delisle known as Bingo Caller / Disc Jockey (voice)
  • Crystal Shade known as Bingo Parlor Worker
  • Darleen Thompson known as Bingo Parlor Worker
  • Joe Clukey known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Nicole Clukey known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • John Conroy known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Daniel Dame known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Donnell Dame known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Donna Dame known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Summer Lynn Dame known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Natalie Dame known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Donna David known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Wilfred David known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Brittany Dennis known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Cristal Dennis known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Priscilla Dennis known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Raymond Devins known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Esther Devins known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Ruth A. Dixon known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Linda M. Dombrowski known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Hugette Dubuque known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Mary T. Favreau known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Maria Garrant known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Jacob Guerin known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Meaghan Hollo known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Larry Joiner known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Elizabeth Martineau known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Joseph McLean known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Walter E. Mooney known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Jane Mooney known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Jessica Rock known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Nancy L. Russell known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • David See known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Cecile Stone known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Sylvester Watson known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Carrie Watson known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Josie White known as Bingo Parlor Patron
  • Dino known as Thunder

..{tab=Supporting Department}Makeup Department:

  • Brittany Leborgne known as makeup intern
  • Lindsey Novotny known as hair stylist
  • Lindsey Novotny known as makeup artist
  • Crystal Shade known as hair stylist
  • Crystal Shade known as makeup artist

Art Department:

  • Rachael Palmer Filsinger known as assistant set decorator (as Rachel Filsinger)
  • Joel Hager known as assistant property master
  • Richard Peete known as set dresser
  • Max Sherwood known as property master
  • Jory Sutton known as art department assistant (uncredited)

..{tab=Company}

Production Companies:

  • Cohen Media Group
  • Harwood Hunt Productions
  • Off Hollywood Pictures

Other Companies:

  • Premier PR  publicity (UK)
  • Big Film Design  titles
  • Courier Car Rental  vehicles
  • Donna Daniels Public Relations  publicity
  • Eastern Effects  lighting and grip equipment
  • Gotham Sound  sound equipment provided by
  • L.A. Studios, The  additional adr (as LA Studios)
  • Liman Video Rental (LVR)  camera
  • Media Services  payroll
  • Offhollywood Digital  digital intermediate facility
  • Oliver Russell Agency  publicity materials
  • PMK / HBH  publicity
  • Sound Lounge  sound post-production
  • The Edit Center  additional editing
  • Trevellyan Graphic Design and Marketing  website design

Distributors:

  • A-Film Distribution (2008) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Distribution (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Archibald (2009) (Italy) (theatrical)
  • Astaire (2010) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • NonStop Entertainment (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • PCV (2008) (Greece) (theatrical)
  • Rézo Films (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Classics (2008) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing Canada (2008) (Canada) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (retail)
  • Lighthouse Home Entertainment (2010) (Germany) (DVD)
  • Movie Bank (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD) (rental)
  • Orlando Films (2009) (Israel) (all media)
  • Sandrew Metronome Distribution (2009) (Finland) (DVD)
  • Sandrews (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Sony Pictures Releasing (2009) (Argentina) (all media)

..{tab=Other Stuff}

Special Effects:

  • Alpha Cine Motion Pictures Laboratory (tape to film transfer) (as Alpha Cine Labs)
  • Leonardo Quiles Studios (visual effects)

Visual Effects by:

  • Mark A. Brown known as digital film services (as Marc Brown)
  • Nicholas Daniels known as lead effects animator: Leonardo Quiles Studios (as Nicholas Daniels)
  • Leonardo Quiles known as visual effects supervisor: Leonardo Quiles Studios

Release Date:

  • USA 18 January 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • USA 26 March 2008 (MoMA Film Exhibitions)
  • USA 12 June 2008 (Seattle International Film Festival)
  • USA 18 June 2008 (Provincetown Film Festival)
  • USA 20 June 2008 (Nantucket Film Festival)
  • Australia 28 July 2008 (Melbourne International Film Festival)
  • USA 31 July 2008 (Traverse City Film Festival)
  • USA 1 August 2008 (limited)
  • Canada September 2008 (Atlantic Film Festival)
  • Spain 20 September 2008 (Donostia-San Sebastian International Film Festival)
  • Brazil 25 September 2008 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Germany 2 October 2008 (Hamburg Film Festival)
  • Brazil 17 October 2008 (São Paulo International Film Festival)
  • UK 23 October 2008 (London Film Festival)
  • Venezuela 31 October 2008
  • Mexico 7 November 2008
  • Greece 17 November 2008 (Thessaloniki International Film Festival)
  • Sweden 2 January 2009
  • France 7 January 2009
  • Netherlands 5 February 2009
  • Uruguay 6 February 2009
  • Australia 19 February 2009
  • Brazil 20 February 2009
  • Greece 12 March 2009
  • Italy 13 March 2009
  • Belgium 15 April 2009
  • Iceland 17 April 2009 (Green Light Film Festival)
  • Denmark 18 April 2009 (CPHPIX Festival)
  • Spain 28 April 2009 (Tarragona International Film Festival)
  • Finland 13 May 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Turkey 29 May 2009
  • Ireland July 2009 (Galway Film Fleadh)
  • UK 3 July 2009 (London) (premiere)
  • Ireland 17 July 2009
  • UK 17 July 2009
  • Poland 4 August 2009 (Film and Art Festival Two Riversides)
  • Spain 4 September 2009
  • Argentina 21 October 2009 (DVD premiere)
  • Taiwan 6 November 2009
  • Japan 30 January 2010
  • Japan 10 September 2010 (Aichi International Women's Film Festival)
  • Germany 24 September 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Hong Kong 3 April 2011 (Hong Kong International Film Festival)

MPAA: Rated R for some language

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Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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