Traverse City Record-Eagle

2012 Traverse City Film Festival

August 1, 2012

'Robot and Frank' premieres today

TC native Cody Ryder is one of the co-producers

TRAVERSE CITY — Jake Schreier admits he's spoiled by his directorial debut.

Schreier, 30, directed "Robot and Frank," set for its Midwest premiere today at the Traverse City Film Festival.

The cast includes Susan Sarandon, who received an award from the film festival. Schreier, Sarandon and others who worked on the movie are in town for the screening and related festivities.

One of the film's co-producers is Cody Ryder, a native of Traverse City, Schreier said.

"She said it's one of the most beautiful towns you can imagine," said Schreier.

Schreier grew up in Berkeley, Calif., and went to New York University's film school, where he met Chris Ford. The pair wrote "Robot and Frank," about an aging cat burglar (Frank Langella) in the "not-so-distant future" whose son (James Marsden) gets him a robot (voice of Peter Sarsgaard) to help him continue to live independently.

Sarandon plays Langella's love interest, Jennifer, who works at the local library, which is being "turned into a hipster community center," Schreier said.

The film was shot in upstate New York in a community Schreier thinks might resemble Traverse City, with "lots of tchotchke shops."

Schreier said he got the job directing the film through his connections with writer Ford and beyond. He said he and Ford hatched the idea for the screenplay after reading articles about robots who assist people, mainly in Japan, so the idea isn't that far-fetched.

Working with Sarandon was a dream, he said.

"She was wonderful. The first day, with Frank (Langella), I kind of forgot to direct," he said. "To have that kind of talent at your fingertips is amazing. I'm entirely spoiled."

The sold-out screening of "Robot and Frank" is at 3 p.m. at the State Theatre.

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