So Late So Soon - 2020

So Late So Soon - 2020

A half-century into their marriage, two Chicago artists look back at their lives together and contend with a never-ending series of house repairs.

– edited and associate produced by Isidore Bethel / directed by Daniel Hymanson / produced by Trace Henderson, Josh Penn, Kellen Quinn, and Noah Stahl

– 71 minutes, Department of Motion Pictures, Hedgehog Films, Cinetic (sales), Oscilloscope Laboratories (distribution), Criterion Channel (streaming), OVID (streaming)

– True/False Film Festival, DOC NYC, BAFICI, Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, Wisconsin Film Festival, Indie Memphis, Milwaukee Film Festival, Phoenix Film Festival, Hamptons Doc Fest, Cleveland International Film Festival, Reel Love Film Festival, Ashland Independent Film Festival, Miami Jewish Film Festival, The DocYard

– IDA Awards Best Feature shortlist, Indiewire Critic’s Pick, Calgary Underground Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Documentary Filmmaking

– Sundance Talent Forum, Sundance Music and Sound Design Lab, IFP’s Spotlight on Documentaries, the Illinois Arts Council Agency, True/False & Catapult Rough Cut Retreat

PRESS:’s Vikram Murthi: “Hymanson and editor Isidore Bethel demonstrate admirable restraint in not hitting any of [the film’s] thematic points too directly, choosing instead to let the circadian rhythms of Jackie and Don’s routine communicate crucial ideas.”
IndieWire: “Daniel Hymanson’s debut feature is a delicately observed portrait of long-married Chicago artists as they confront their twilight years…Though we meet the Seidens later in life, Hymanson and editor Isidore Bethel slowly introduce bits of Don and Jackie’s past into the picture, painting a fuller portrait of their lives…The film feels like a tribute, and an eventual goodbye — to two extraordinarily unique people, their unconventional home, and their truly remarkable way of life.” (Grade: A-)
– one of The New York Times’ “eight documentaries that capture something true about love:” “Heartbreaking.”
VOX: “It’s one of the best documentaries that played at this year’s True/False.”
The Hollywood Reporter: “Hymanson embedded himself with the Seidens, on and off, for about five years, and the intimacy and trust he attained shines through…it’s clear he became an essential [presence] — another vehicle through which this loving, complicated couple could artistically enshrine their lives.”
Filmmaker: “The well-sculpted throughline never disintegrates into thuddingly obvious foreshadowing, chapter breaks are segmented by archival material (old TV profiles of both artists et al.) allowed to play out at length and provide their own textural pleasures rather than being chopped down to key lines. It’s a tough-minded crowdpleaser that rarely errs on the side of understatement.”
The Moveable Fest: “It’s what Hymanson brings out of what the Seidens have held in emotionally, for better or worse, that resonates most and, obviously a product of great trust and compassion, it seems like after years of expressing themselves individually through their art, So Late So Soon allows them to be seen together as their greatest work.”
We Are Movie Geeks: The film “throws out the typical documentary structure, opting for a more memory and moment-based approach. The couple could be fighting one moment, only to ‘trigger’ a memory to some older footage, some other time. It’s a beautiful use of the film form and a testament to a relationship that doesn’t always work but is bonded together by art.”
Vox Magazine: “So Late So Soon is all about intimacy: whether it be between the director and the couple, between Jackie and Don or between the viewer and the home they’ve been invited into.”
Paste Magazine: “So Late So Soon has the feeling of a successful ‘small film,’ whatever connotations that may bring, but it is also more than that. It moves with modest and assured observation, its scope in content never wider than Jackie or Don’s interiority; even archival inclusion of Jackie’s educational art videos feels like a winnowing of focus rather than an expansion in the way it packs the present with meaning without contextualizing it. In this way, the film has power as a microcosm.”
Cine-File: “The director’s affection and respect for these two unique people emanates from every shot. All told, it’s a guileless slice of life – two lives, in fact, made better and more interesting because the other was in it.”’s Peter Sobczynski: “So Late So Soon is a moving and thoughtful meditation on the inevitability of aging and mortality and the unstoppable lure of the creative process.”
Cinemalogue: “The simplest of ideas yields a profound dignity in this quietly powerful documentary about aging, mortality, and the value of companionship.”
Senses of Cinema: “The result is an intimate observational portrait where forms of art and biology begin to fuse and break down in heartbreaking harmony.”
The Capital Times: So Late So Soon “is a touching look at the possibilities and limitations of a life devoted to one’s art.”
The Film Stage: “Taking the title from one of Don’s sculptures, So Late So Soon proves a warts-and-all expression of love, companionship, and the struggles intrinsic to the proximity inherent in both and how age makes everything harder.”
The Last Thing I Saw: The film “captures the loving dynamic between Jackie and Don, with a wonderful ear for the rhythms and casual poetry of their conversation, without turning them into adorable eccentrics.”
Talkhouse essay by Isidore Bethel on how So Late So Soon’s protagonist Jackie Seiden impacted him as a filmmaker and an educator
The DocYard Q&A with filmmakers Daniel Hymanson and Isidore Bethel and moderator Abby Sun (53 minutes)
Calgary Underground Film Festival jury statement: “We wanted to highlight Daniel Hymanson’s So Late So Soon, a film that quietly observes the intimate domestic life of aged, eccentric Chicago artists Jackie and Don Seiden, a couple facing inevitable change and transition following 50-plus years of marriage. Their quirky, idiosyncratic dynamic is the star of the film, colouring Hymanson’s heartfelt portrait of their life through the inescapable lens of time, the non-linear juxtaposition of his footage set against that of them in years prior. So Late So Soon is a tribute to the deep and complex bonds of matrimonial companionship, a reminder that the very humanity of our elders, who are so often overlooked, is too often treated as expendable.”

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