Kari Skogland, '13 Reasons Why' Scribe Teaming on 'The Art of Love' (Exclusive)

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Kari Skogland and Nic Sheff

The film — being directed by Peter Gold — is based on Betsy Franco's young adult novel about homelessness and drug addiction among teens.

Peter Gold’s Gold Films is partnering with Blonde Mamba, the next-gen production house led by Amelia Baker and Mackenzie Munro, alongside Tom Franco and Iris Torres under their Firehouse Productions banner on The Art of Love, based on Betsy Franco’s young adult novel. 

The film — among the projects being shopped at Sundance — is being adapted by Betsy Franco, Munro and Esteban Gast, with Gold set to direct. Kari Skogland, the Emmy-nominated and BAFTA-winning director whose work has included The Handmaid's Tale and Loudest Voice, will exec produce, with Nic Sheff, writer of 13 Reasons Why, co-producing alongside the award-winning cinematographer Steven Poster (Donnie Darko, Someone to Watch Over Me). 

The Art of Love follows an obsessive high school student whose talented and charismatic older sister’s drug addiction leads her to run away from their suburban home. He goes on a search for his sister, who is living on the streets of San Francisco with a makeshift family of four homeless misfits, spiraling further into drugs, relationships and eventually sex trafficking. The siblings end up in an honest, messy coming-of-age story that explores the impact of America’s opioid crisis and its homeless teen communities. 

"I wrote the novel and screenplay after teaching poetry to girls in juvenile hall and talking to homeless youth in the Haight in San Francisco," said Betsy Franco. "This is an important film to expose the harsh realities homeless youth face and what addiction can do to families. I am thrilled to work with this group of talented and driven filmmakers to bring this story to life."

Added Poster: "When I was first brought on to The Art of Love it felt like I was starting Donnie Darko again. Smart young director, committed producers and a terrific script. It doesn’t get better than that."

Firehouse Productions co-founders Torres and Tom Franco said: "We believe in supporting new talent and The Art of Love is a unique story that deserves an opportunity to be told.”

Blonde Mamba's Baker and Munro said: "The Art of Love is a project rooted in authenticity driven by the desire to give a voice to a community which is often vilified or, at best, ignored. Blonde Mamba was set up to create resonant content for a Gen-Z audience and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with our fantastic partners on this special project.” 

Gold added: "My hope is that this film will illuminate various aspects of addiction in families, crush stereotypes and shine a light on the homeless teens in San Francisco, making this community portrayed as human, real and immediate. I am honored to be working with such a talented group of professionals, and I can’t wait to share this story with the world."