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Kathy Wolf

Kathy Wolf

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Brooklyn-bred screenwriter-director Ben Younger took the long road to filmmaking and still managed to make a successful feature debut by age 27 with "Boiler Room." A jack-of-all trades who worked numerous odd jobs as part of the fast-paced New York hustle, Younger studied political science at the city's public university and went on to work for local politicians. At age 21 he was the campaign manager for a successful New York State Assembly bid, and quickly became disenchanted with politics, looking for the creative rush he had with previous work as a stand-up comedian. Heeding the advice of another political staffer, Younger tried his hand at screenwriting and made two short films "Maestro" and "L & M." Working as a waiter in a Manhattan eatery, Younger struck up a felicitous conversation with a screenwriter that led to important industry contacts on the merits of "L & M." Before landing his feature debut, Younger worked in other behind-the-scenes capacities, serving as a driver for the independent "Walking and Talking" (1996) and working as a grip on the Italian production "New York Crossing" (lensed 1996) in addition to jobs directing music videos and commercials.The seeds of "Boiler Room" were...

Brooklyn-bred screenwriter-director Ben Younger took the long road to filmmaking and still managed to make a successful feature debut by age 27 with "Boiler Room." A jack-of-all trades who worked numerous odd jobs as part of the fast-paced New York hustle, Younger studied political science at the city's public university and went on to work for local politicians. At age 21 he was the campaign manager for a successful New York State Assembly bid, and quickly became disenchanted with politics, looking for the creative rush he had with previous work as a stand-up comedian. Heeding the advice of another political staffer, Younger tried his hand at screenwriting and made two short films "Maestro" and "L & M." Working as a waiter in a Manhattan eatery, Younger struck up a felicitous conversation with a screenwriter that led to important industry contacts on the merits of "L & M." Before landing his feature debut, Younger worked in other behind-the-scenes capacities, serving as a driver for the independent "Walking and Talking" (1996) and working as a grip on the Italian production "New York Crossing" (lensed 1996) in addition to jobs directing music videos and commercials.

The seeds of "Boiler Room" were sown some five years before its release, when Younger was approached with a too-good-to-be-true promise of big payoffs for hard work as a stock broker, much like his protagonist Seth (Giovanni Ribisi). Just minutes into the recruiting process, Younger knew that the firm was crooked and that what he was witnessing would make for an interesting film project. In 2000, upon the release of the "Boiler Room," it turned out that many critics agreed, praising this story of a hardworking and ambitious ne'er-do-well who thinks he finds the key to quick money and his father's approval with a job in a Long Island brokerage firm. While similar in subject to "Wall Street" and "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Boiler Room" had an unmistakable contemporary feel and a working-class sensibility. Younger's brokers were gangster-idolizing outer-borough self-starters just out of their teens, from good but far from privileged families, who would have to make their way in the business world on their own; nepotism and Ivy League societies wouldn't be their ticket in. The filmmaker's affection both for New York City and its inhabitants was evident in the film through both his writing and directing capacities, creating likable if misguided characters and including captivating and significant location shots. While this was only his debut feature film, Younger displayed an assurance and proficiency with the medium that belied his neophyte status and emerged as one to watch, a talent with promising vision.

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