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Through a Modern Lens: A24

With over 100 films and revolutionary writing and cinematography, A24 has continued to showcase new talent, marginalized stories, and the true art of film.
Through a Modern Lens: A24
Ilene Goddard

 Two teenagers skating down a busy Los Angeles street with a chalky sunset at their backs in Mid90s. A strong-willed girl with a pink cast on her arm and hair to match it kneels in the wooden pew of a church in Lady Bird. A pair of bright-eyed, young girls gaze at a rainbow from the parking lot of an Orlando motel in The Florida Project. These stills from various productions display a modern side of film brought to screens by A24, an American, independent entertainment company formed in 2012 by a group of three men with an appreciation for all things cinematic. A24 has smoothly integrated itself into the wide world of cinema and television throughout the past twelve years, proving to be a worthy competitor in the film industry and showcasing the talents of writers, cinematographers, and actors, both up-and-coming and household names. While the company has only been in the business for less than twenty years, A24 has been established as a great vessel of modern film through its accumulation of Academy Awards and recognition in the media.

Viewers who’ve seen films such as Lamb or Marcel the Shell With Shoes On know that A24 is unafraid of the grotesque or strange. Their films’ specificity reflects the ingenious writing and production that goes into the content, introducing audiences to such niche and original plot lines, like the adoption of a human/sheep hybrid or the journey of a one-eyed shell with tiny shoes. A24 is a company where a coming-of-age, quirky movie becomes a 2003 tale about a dysfunctional family in Sacramento, Catholic school, and feminine rage. Furthermore, the specificity aspect of A24’s content is reinforced by its films’ innovative cinematography; the clarity and careful manipulation of lighting and camera angles ensures that audiences are receiving the full vision of the creators behind the films, not just a surface level viewing. While other productions simply show an x-ray or a family eating dinner, A24 shows the dislocated shoulder and the juices flowing from the steak on the plate.

Another original element of A24 is the deep, emotional connections made through its films. Genres like Horror, Drama, and Action are taken to extremes through extraordinary dialogue and acting techniques, focusing on character development and vivid imagery rather than pure plot. This unique approach to filmmaking has connected thousands of viewers to the content of A24’s films and has introduced audiences to modern cinema. Grace Ipalawatte, an A24 fan and Junior at St. Petersburg High School, describes her favorite movie from the company, Waves, as “emotionally compelling,” stating that “[the film] tugs on your heart strings.” Freshman Sandy Burnham also felt a connection with the creations of A24; having seen numerous films from the company, including Priscilla, Pearl, and Bodies Bodies Bodies, her top favorite was Mid90s because “[the film] was about skating and [she] has an interest in that.” Unlike much of Hollywood today and in the past, the company also emphasizes diversity and tells the stories of marginalized groups, hoping to further connect audiences of different cultures and backgrounds.. Movies like The Zone of Interest showcase foreign languages in the American film industry, giving audiences an opportunity to make a deeper connection through the artistry of film. Additionally, the A24 film Everything Everywhere All at Once – which is currently the company’s highest grossing film – draws from Chinese storytelling, creating an impact on audiences from many parts of the world. 

Although A24 began as a small, lesser-known entertainment company compared to the giants of Hollywood, it has steadily become an influential enterprise of the film industry. Having won a myriad of significant TV and film awards, including multiple Oscars, A24 has established itself as a successful company in the media. Especially on platforms like TikTok, A24’s productions have been used as the basis of many huge pop culture trends. For example, Priscilla sparked much of what the famous “coquette” trend has become; pulling inspiration from her wardrobe and overall aesthetic, Priscilla Presley’s vintage stylistic elements like bows and bold winged eyeliner have become staples to the ideal “coquette” look. 

As the world continues to learn of A24’s originality and cinematic genius, its movies and TV series are beginning to earn their deserved time on screens around the world. Highlighting the indie works of talented artists across different cultures, A24 prioritizes a sense of modernity and inclusivity being incorporated into a previously prejudiced industry. Likewise, A24’s productions represent the ultimate power of film: unity. So whether you feel the struggles of Aftersun’s Calum or the tribulations of Lady Bird’s Christine “Lady Bird” McPherson, know that you can find a true home in the great world of film.

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About the Contributors
Kelly Fuss, Staff Writer
Ilene Goddard, Photography Editor

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