"I never want to sacrifice the movies."
Director Trey Edward Shults suffers from millennial paranoia. At 28, his two films, the masterful Krisha, a SXSW surprise that took home an Indie Spirit Award in 2016, and his follow-up, the grim, post-apocalyptic thriller It Comes at Night, now out in 2,500 theaters, have earned him critical praise and devotees.
Today, Shults is part of a small group of under-30 directors -- along with Xavier Dolan (Mommy), Gia Coppola (Palo Alto), J.D. Dillard (Sleight), and Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan (Swiss Army Man) -- keeping the personal language of filmmaking alive for a new generation. He's got vision, directorial prowess, and, in the case of It Comes at Night, the interest of financial backers. But a few days before the movie opens, while nursing an IPA in the kind of New York City beer sanctuary where the real world should fall away, he's envisioning a dark future, with little solace from me.
"I'm worried about just being able to financially sustain myself," he tells me. "I don't ever want to do a movie to make money or with ulterior intentions. I only want to do stuff I really believe in. But sometimes there's not a lot of money for that kind [of film]. Not that I need a lot of money -- just enough to live on."