17 year old Mercedes needs cash and she needs it now, so she recruits a former high school classmate with a massive crush on her to help her rob a bank.
Young Americans is a classic tale of the young American teenage runaway, but at its core it is about love and the lengths we’ll go to get it from those that just can’t seem to give it back to us. It’s a story about a boy in love with a girl, and a girl without love. Created by Kevin Lacy as an American Film Institute graduate thesis along with other students. Running over 30 minutes the film may be considered a short on technicalities, but is a feature length in spirit.
First love. First kiss. First bank robbery.
In YOUNG AMERICANS it was important for me to avoid what I’d seen in countless films about criminals: remorseless, morally bankrupt characters commit crimes either just for the fun of it or because it’s “in their blood”. Although these films have a certain appeal, I often find myself sitting back and observing the characters in these films rather than truly putting myself in their shoes and experiencing things through their eyes.
With all this in mind, Kevin ran with a clear direction: “What would it take to get me, boring, ordinary, law-abiding ME, to want to rob a bank and how would I go about doing it?”
I figured if I could get myself to go along with a bank robbery I could create characters complex and (most importantly) relatable enough to keep an audience right there with them as they make the choices that will drive them towards an unthinkable crime. From this process Denver Thomas and Mercedes Harper were born…
Two characters desperate to be loved by people who just can’t quite seem love them back.