'Tanner Hall': Growing up, privately - Metro US

‘Tanner Hall’: Growing up, privately

In “Tanner Hall,” first-time writer-directors Francesca Gregorini (Ringo’s stepdaughter) and Tatiana von Furstenberg (Diane’s daughter) present a lyrical look at adolescence through the eyes of four students at an all-girls boarding school in New England. (Rooney Mara, star of the forthcoming “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” leads the cast.) Coincidentally, the longtime friends met as students at a private school, but they insist the story isn’t autobiographical — not exactly, anyway.

How much of the film is drawn from personal experience?

FG: All the characters are composites. They’re composites of ourselves, friends we had, friends we have.

TVF: And just culture in general. We can mine from a friendship that dates way back. We met at the age that those girls were, so our references are there.

FG: We’re everywhere on that screen. When you are the writer-directors, every frame has all of you in it. A lot of the things that the girls are wearing are from Tatiana’s closet. It’s hard not to infiltrate pretty much all of it.

Have you warned friends not to look for themselves in characters?

TVF: No. We had to raise the stakes and the drama a lot. We’ve definitely lived the emotional truth of all the characters, but not the situations.

You have elements from several decades in the film to create a kind of timelessness.

FG: It’s more like a folklore.

TVF: I was trying very hard to realign materialism and teen culture stereotypes. Like, you can’t just buy stuff and become that person.

FG: The movie is not about cell phones and this and that. It’s about relationships and connecting. We tried to make an artful movie about coming of age that was not stereotypical or had any sort of moral judgment. It’s good and bad and everything in between, and that’s OK.

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