How to Make the Cruelest Month

Director: Kip Koenig
Screenwriters: Kip Koenig

Institute History

  • 1998 Sundance Film Festival


Year after year, New Year’s resolutions are made and forgotten as quickly as the night is over. When Bell unearths that year’s resolutions on the first of December, she attempts to break the cycle. She has one month left to accomplish the two items on her list: quit smoking and fall in love. She already has a sort of ex-boyfriend, but he doesn’t count. So onward and upward.

As she begins her urgent quest, a whirlwind of activity ignites around her and those close to her in this small college town. Bell’s eclectic group of friends and bohemian family provide nonstop adventure in her life. Seemingly everything starts to happen, with the exception of the two things on her list. Her parents split up, her ex falls in love with her model younger sister while he’s failing out of school, her older sister has a baby, and as for Bell? More cigarettes and no love in sight. How to Make the Cruelest Month is an irresistible, quirky film with a collection of lively characters and hilarious situations. Bell is an absolutely charming protagonist who’s intelligent and spirited and boasts a wonderful sense of humor. A brilliant ensemble cast features winsome newcomers Clea DuVall and Gabriel Mann, as well as the established Marianne Jean-Baptiste and Mary Kay Place. Sharply written and directed, Koenig’s debut feature is a marvel of welcome humor and freshness, as well as establishing a notable presence of positive women’s roles.

Kip Koenig, Director
In school Kip Koenig studied English and film. After that, he worked as a scriptwriter in Hollywood. How to Make the Cruelest Month is his directorial debut. He’s from Los Angeles.

— Lisa Viola

Screening Details

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