February 4, 2016

Princeton University alums bring film Tumbledown to Garden Theatre

The Princeton Garden Theatre in partnership with the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University presents a special screening of the independent feature film, Tumbledown, Tuesday, February 16, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., followed by a Q&A with filmmakers and Princeton alumni Sean Mewshaw ’97 and Desi Van Til ’99 and moderated by Princeton University Professor of English and Comparative Literature Maria DiBattista. The Garden Theatre is located at 160 Nassau Street in Princeton. The screening will be preceded by a reception beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, however advance reservations are encouraged.


Photo courtesy of Rusticator Pictures

Tumbledown is a comedic love story with a serious side. Hannah (Rebecca Hall) has been struggling to write the biography of her late husband, an acclaimed musician with a devoted following (voiced by Damien Jurado), while taking refuge with the protective locals in her Maine hometown. Things begin to change when she meets Andrew (Jason Sudeikis), a brash New York academic with an obsession for tragic artists and a different take on her husband. Though Hannah is skeptical of his motives, the unlikely pair strike up a deal to collaborate on the book, forcing them to confront truths about themselves and the possibility that the next chapter in their lives may be written together.

Tumbledown had its premiere at the 2015 Tribeca Film Festival and will have a limited theatrical release in the U.S. beginning on February 12.

“Eight years ago we started working together on a small, personal film — a love letter to Desi’s hometown in rural Maine, a lighthearted exploration of grief and second chances,” says Mewshaw. “Eventually by dint of determination and luck Tumbledown grew into a bigger production, which we still aimed to keep true and a little off kilter. It’s exciting and fulfilling to have the opportunity to share our first film with the Princeton arts community that was so inspiring to us, and helped foster the creative courage we have relied on ever since.”

Sean Mewshaw, Princeton Class of 1997 and the son of author Michael Mewshaw, was raised in Rome, Italy. He graduated from Princeton with degrees in English literature and a certificate in theater, then headed for Los Angeles where he spent a decade working on productions with filmmakers such as Philippe Rousselot, Martin Scorsese, Michael Ballhaus, and Gary Winick. With his wife Desi Van Til, Mewshaw adapted James Salter’s story “Last Night” as a short film starring Frances McDormand. Founding his own production company, Mewshaw directed, shot, and edited commercials, shorts, and behind-the-scenes features for clients such as The Upright Citizens Brigade, Think Film, IBM, the United Nations, and Indian Motorcycles.
Mewshaw and Van Til moved to Portland, Maine to make their feature film debut, Tumbledown, and chose to remain there to raise their children.

Desi Van Til, Princeton Class of 1999, is a native of Farmington, Maine. She studied English literature at Princeton University followed by a post-graduate, cinema-intensive year in Paris on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship before moving to Los Angeles to work in film. She worked under Greg Silverman, whom she cites as a mentor, at Revolution Studios and Warner Brothers, then spent five years as Vice President of Development for producers Donna Roth and Susan Arnold. Van Til associate-produced Gary Winick’s 13 Going on 30 starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo, as well as Judd Apatow’s Drillbit Taylor starring Owen Wilson.

The Princeton Garden Theatre is a member-supported nonprofit movie theater in the heart of downtown Princeton. With a focus on art house and independent titles, the theater is also a home for family films, local filmmakers, classic Hollywood cinema, and community events. This organization of film-lovers is dedicated to the preservation of historic movie theaters and the celebration of the community film-going experience.

To learn more about this event or to reserve seats visit

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