Frozen River

Melissa Leo and Courtney Hunt on location for Frozen RiverTo end today's show, we're replaying an interview Bob conducted in September 2008. The star of Frozen River and the film's director/screenwriter have both been nominated for Academy Awards to be handed out next Sunday, February 22. Courtney Hunt is up for Best Original Screenplay and Melissa Leo got a nomination for Best Actress thanks to her portrayal of down-on-her-luck Ray Eddy, a mother of two living in EXTREME upstate New York. She has a part time job at a local dollar store, her husband has just left to gamble away their savings at "high-stakes" bingo, so now Ray desperately needs a few thousand dollars to complete the purchase of a new double-wide trailer for her family. By chance, she meets a Mohawk Indian named Lila Littlewolf, another financially desperate single mom who introduces her to the lucrative pastime of smuggling illegal immigrants from Canada into the United States. Lila tells Ray that the international border doesn't exist on the Mohawk reservation, which straddles the two countries, so the Chinese and Pakistani immigrants Ray and Lila carry in the trunk of their car across the frozen St. Lawrence River are just "free trade between nations." Along with the rest of the country, I had focused on America's border with Mexico, giving little thought to our northern border. At the end of the interview, Bob asks first-time director Courtney Hunt what she's proudest of about the movie. She says that it's getting viewers to go along for the ride with these characters, to think about them, to acknowledge that they exist.

Here's the link to the official Frozen River website.

Frozen River was also just released on DVD.