Barling’s “Safe” world premiered at Critics’ Week, the Cannes sidebar dedicated to emerging directors.
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A twisted father-son thriller set in Barling’s native Atlantic City, “Safe” is the first U.S. short to compete at Critics’ Week in over four years. The film focuses on the manager of a defunct casino, who must confront his parental failures when his reckless son needs to find a way out of an illicit bind. The cast includes Will Patton (“Minari”), Philip Ettinger (“First Reformed”) and Cindy Katz (“Limitless”).
Barling is currently preparing his first feature debut “Francis,” and is participating in the Torino FilmLab, which supports creatives working on their first and second feature films.
The filmmaker, who is also a drummer and toured the eastern U.S. with punk rock bands in his youth, previously directed, edited, produced and wrote several shorts, including “Unfounded,” “17,” “Small Change,” “Deterrent,” “Atlantic Club” and “Agadez.” These have garnered several awards, including the Spike Lee Film Production Fund, Panavision New Filmmaker Grant and Riese Production Award.
Barling’s work as a cinematographer includes “Yearlings” and “The Carousel.”
The subject of “Francis,” his debut feature, also reflects his fascination with his home city. The Torino Lab describes the project thus: “An Atlantic City casino card dealer’s troubled past is brought to the fore as he attempts to navigate the fallout from the inexplicable return of his estranged son.”
Barling studied at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts Grad Film program.
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