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Cholodenko, Lisa (b. 1964)  
 
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This process led to the idea behind her most successful film to-date, both critically and commercially, The Kids Are All Right, released in 2010.

Writing in The New York Times, Dennis Lim notes that the film "is a thought experiment of sorts, a film that wonders what might happen when sperm-donor children ask questions—and get answers—about their paternity."

Sponsor Message.

At the center of The Kids Are All Right are a lesbian couple, Nic (Annette Bening) and Jules (Julianne Moore), and their two children—Joni, an 18-year-old about to embark on college and her 15-year-old brother, Laser (played, respectively, by Mia Wasikowska and Josh Hutcherson).

Driven by Laser's desire to learn where he came from, and his growing need to make a strong connection with an adult male, Joni contacts their biological father. He turns out to be an easygoing and slightly rakish restaurateur named Paul (Mark Ruffalo).

When the two women learn of their children's secret meetings with their until-then anonymous sperm donor, they are wary at first but eventually attempt to build a friendly relationship with Paul. However, one of the women has an affair with him, the affair is soon discovered, and the family is very nearly destroyed by this act of betrayal.

Lim again notes, "It is a mark of [Cholodenko's] generosity that her characters don't always act as one might expect, let alone as identity politics dictate. She's aware that it is 'politically incorrect,' as she put it, to show a lesbian character caught up in a torrid heterosexual affair."

Cholodenko worked on the script with a co-writer, Stuart Blumberg, who had been a sperm donor while in college. Both Cholodenko and Blumberg were awarded Best Screenplay at the 2011 Independent Spirit Awards, and were nominated for Best Writing, Original Screenplay at the 2011 Academy Awards.

The Kids Are All Right was voted Movie of the Year at the 2010 AFI Awards and Outstanding Film at the 2011 GLAAD Media Awards. The film was also nominated for Best Picture of the Year at the 2011 Academy Awards.

Annette Bening and Mark Ruffalo also received Academy Award nominations for their work on the film.

Cholodenko also directed the made-for-television film Cavedweller (2004), with a script by Anne Meredith and based on the novel by the lesbian author Dorothy Allison, which starred Kyra Sedgwick and Aidan Quinn.

In addition, she has also directed episodes for television series, including Homicide: Life on the Street (1999); Six Feet Under (2001); Push, Nevada (2002), The L Word (2005); and Hung (2010).

Cholodenko and Melvoin and their son Calder currently reside in Los Angeles.

Craig Kaczorowski

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arts >> Overview:  American Television, Drama

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Gay, lesbian, and bisexual film directors have been a vital creative presence in cinema since the medium's inception over one hundred years ago.

arts >> Overview:  Film Festivals

The queer film festival circuit came into its own in the early 1990s and has since burgeoned into a major international phenomenon.

arts >> Overview:  Screenwriters

Although film may be a director's rather than a writer's medium, gay and lesbian screenwriters have made significant contributions to both mainstream and independent film.

literature >> Allison, Dorothy E.

South Carolina native Dorothy Allison refuses to write didactic or romantic illustrations of the lesbian experience, focusing instead on the sheer survival of her lesbian characters in the hostile environment of Southern working-class families.

arts >> Arzner, Dorothy

Lesbian filmmaker Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director in 1930s and 1940s Hollywood, made films that convey the varieties of women's experiences and desires and the tenacity of women's relationships with other women.

social sciences >> Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a watchdog group dedicated to promoting accurate representations of the glbtq community in the media.


    Bibliography
   

Cooke, Rachel. "Lisa Cholodenko: 'I Wanted to Make a Film that Was Not Sanctimonious or Sentimental.'" The Observer (October 2, 2010): Features, 8.

Gross, Terry. "Director Lisa Cholodenko on Conceiving 'The Kids.'" National Public Radio (July 8, 2010): www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128106766.

Lim, Dennis. "Erotic Sparks Fly, and Lines Are Crossed." The New York Times (May 2, 2010): MT3.

Maslin, Janet. "Jaded Artist and Ingenue In an Arty Spider Web." The New York Times (June 12, 1998): E12.

Scott, A. O. "Meet the Sperm Donor: Modern Family Ties." The New York Times (July 9, 2010): C1.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kaczorowski, Craig  
    Entry Title: Cholodenko, Lisa  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2012  
    Date Last Updated February 6, 2012  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/arts/cholodenko_lisa.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
 
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2012 glbtq, Inc.  
 

 

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