It’s the end of April’s (Hannah Marks, Slash) senior year of high school, when she and longtime boyfriend Nick (Dylan Sprouse, The Suite Life of Zack and Cody) break up. While getting trashed at a house party, she bumps into Dylan’s new squeeze, Clara (Liana Liberato, also in To the Stars), a recent transplant from Fresno. BANANA SPLIT is set against the backdrop of April’s last days before heading off to college. Her plans for her last few high school months are about to hit a snag when she becomes best friends with her ex-boyfriend’s new squeeze. Usual teen social norms mean that they have to hate each, but it turns out they have way more in common than a mutual beau. Over the summer Clara and April develop a perfect kindred-spirit friendship in ways they never thought possible, all while working overtime to keep their relationship secret from Nick. Director Benjamin Kasulke (Your Sister’s Sister, Safety Not Guaranteed), stops by to talk about working with co-writer / co-star Hannah Marks, making the transition from cinematographer to director and finding the sweet spot of believability in this very entertaining teen drama / comedy.
About the filmmaker
Benjamin Francis Kasulke is a director, cinematographer, and Stranger Genius Award recipient born in 1977 in Syracuse, NY. After earning degrees in film from Ithaca College and FAMU (Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts) in Prague, he worked as a negative cutter with the Image Treasury in Seattle. His cinematographer career began while working extensively with the local dance film community, which he turned into collaborations with the likes of Guy Maddin, Lynn Shelton, Megan Griffiths, and Colin Trevorrow. He became a vital component of the Pacific Northwest film community, acting as cinematographer on such films as Humpday and The Immaculate Conception of Little Dizzle (both SIFF 2009), The Freebie (SIFF 2010), The Off Hours (SIFF 2011), Your Sister’s Sister (SIFF 2012), Safety Not Guaranteed (2012), Touchy Feely (SIFF 2013), Laggies (2014), and My Last Year With The Nuns (SIFF 2014). Banana Split marks his feature directorial debut.
91% on Rotten Tomatoes
“[Banana Split] understands, perfectly, the enormous pressure teenagers face.”—Refinery29
“Like any romance, “Banana Split” is constrained to some familiar beats, but Kasulke, Marks, and Power have such a handle on what makes the film tick – and Marks and Liberato are so charming and fun – that even expected turns feel clever and fresh.” – Kate Erbland, indieWire
“Bolstered by a thoughtful script and beautifully authentic performances, Banana Split provides a fresh take on the coming-of-age romantic comedy.”
“Banana Split” is a supremely well written film, showing Hannah Marks not only to be a tremendous actress, but a wonderful screenwriter as well. She’s phenomenal on both ends. – Joey Magidson, Hollywood News