Natasha Lombardi is one of eight teens whose stories are covered in director Chris Brown’s “The Other Kids.” (Courtesy CB Films)

Natasha Lombardi is one of eight teens whose stories are covered in director Chris Brown’s “The Other Kids.” (Courtesy CB Films)

‘Other Kids’ a truthful look at teens on screen

In his new movie “The Other Kids,” San Francisco-based director Chris Brown captures what it’s really like to be a teen — unlike most teen movies.

“It sounds insane, but for the first time I knowingly went into a feature production without a script, which was both thrilling and terrifying. I basically took everything I thought I knew about filmmaking, threw it out the window and just started over,” says Brown, describing the extraordinary, non-judgmental movie, which screens this week during San Francisco IndieFest at the Roxie.

Brown set the story in the small town of Sonora (population nearly 5,000) in the California foothills about 150 miles east of San Francisco.

“The Other Kids,” which seamlessly blends fiction and nonfiction, follows eight high-schoolers during the final weeks of their senior year.

They run the gamut from Isaac, an immigrant from Mexico, to Kai, who struggles with cutting.

Abby is an expert on the rifle range, and new kid in town Natasha (aka “Cricket”) wears piercings and blue hair.

“I really wasn’t searching for a representative sample of kids,” he says of his cast. “My only goal was to find the most talented and intelligent teen actors in town who were also independent-minded. I wanted kids who pushed back, who would tell me when I was wrong.”

Though the film may seem simple on the surface, it took 92 days, stretched over 18 months, to shoot.

“I feel it’s only fair that I mention my 700 miles of hideously composed, blurry outtakes!” he jokes.

Brown had long talks with his actors about fears, desires, relationships, etc., and then asked them to improvise.

“We worked on pure instinct,” he explains. “The goal was always spontaneity, truth, reality. I pretended that it was a documentary and did my best to capture what was happening in front of the camera, never quite knowing what the performers were going to do.”

Although the actors were willing to be quite vulnerable on camera, Brown knew he needed to protect them, at least to some degree.

He offered to cut any scene any actor found objectionable. No one took him up on it.

“At this point, after everything we’ve been through,” he says, “these kids feel like family to me.”

The Other Kids
Starring Savannah Bailey, Hunter Gilmore, Kai Kellerman, Sienna Lampi, Natasha Lombardi, Joe McGee, Isaac Sanchez, Abby Stewart
Directed by Chris Brown
Not rated
Running time 1 hour, 35 minutes
Note: The movie screens at 2:45 p.m. Feb. 12 and 9:30 p.m. Feb. 13 at the Roxie, 3117 16th St., S.F; visit

Chris BrownMovies and TVNatasha LombardiOther KidsSonora

Just Posted

Cabernet sauvignon grapes sat in a container after being crushed at Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena. (Courtesy Smith-Madrone Winery)
San Francisco’s ‘Champagne problems’ — Wine industry suffers supply chain woes

‘Everywhere you turn, things that were easy are no longer easy’

Glasses behind the bar at LUNA in the Mission District on Friday, Oct. 15, 2021. Glassware is just one of the many things restaurants have had trouble keeping in stock as supply chain problems ripple outward. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF restaurants face product shortages and skyrocketing costs

‘The supply chain crisis has impacted us in almost every way imaginable’

A Giants fans hangs his head in disbelief after the Dodgers won the NLDS in a controversial finish to a tight Game 5. (Chris Victorio/Special to The Examiner)
Giants dream season ends at the hands of the Dodgers, 2-1

A masterful game comes down to the bottom of the ninth, and San Francisco came up short

<strong>Workers with Urban Alchemy and the Downtown Streets Team clean at Seventh and Market streets on Oct. 12. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins> </strong>
Why is it so hard to keep San Francisco’s streets clean?

Some blame bureaucracy, others say it’s the residents’ fault

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi — seen in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday — touted Congressional Democrats’ infrastructure bill in San Francisco on Thursday. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times)
Pelosi touts infrastructure bill as it nears finish line

Climate change, social safety net among major priorities of Democrats’ 10-year funding measure

Most Read