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Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden
Updated September 01, 2010
An introduction to the fast-rising writer-director partnership behind the latest comedy from Focus Features, It’s Kind of a Funny Story.
Oakland-born Ryan Fleck and Boston-raised Anna Boden, writer-directors of It’s Kind of a Funny Story, met in 1999 on the set of a student short. At the time, Fleck was attending NYU Film School while, uptown, Boden studied film at Columbia. The two became a couple and, after Fleck went to Sundance with his NYU thesis film, Struggle, they decided to make a film together. Have You Seen This Man? was their first collaboration, a 2003 18-minute documentary short about an oddball artist/businessman who sold sundry items of negligible worth (a cracker, a thumbtack) across New York. The short premiered on PBS and was later broadcast by IFC. Of this period — and the next project that would consume them — Fleck told Filmmaker magazine, “After I graduated from NYU, I was doing just about anything to stay afloat. Then I met Anna, who was finishing up her undergrad work at Columbia University. We made our first documentary short, Have You Seen This Man?, and then we made another documentary in Cuba about hip hop music. At the same time I was playing around with this Half Nelson idea. Anna was giving me all these notes and her thoughts on it, and so we just started writing together at some point.”