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SXSW Reportedly Rejects 'The Canyons' Over "Quality Issues," Paul Schrader Has "No Qualms" That The Film Is "Very Good"

by Kevin Jagernauth
January 23, 2013 11:46 AM
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The Canyons James Deen Lindsay Lohan Behind-The-Scenes

Well, the buzz around Paul Schrader's "The Canyons" continues to swirl, and it's been not particularly good. Most of that talk comes from the New York Times Magazine extensive article on the film, which among other things included the saga of Lindsay Lohan's behaviour on the set, creative differences between the director, producer Braxton Pope and writer Bret Easton Ellis, and even the revelation that Steven Soderbergh offered to edit the film. The picture was also turned down by the Sundance Film Festival, and it seems another festival has decided they won't be screening the movie either.

According to sources speaking to THR, SXSW has rejected "The Canyons" citing "quality issues" with their source saying the movie has "an ugliness and a deadness to it." Umm, ouch. For what it's worth, Pope has said he's received no word from SXSW and again, this is unverified as well (though THR is legit and reliable). But for all this talk of the movie getting turned down from Park City, and now seemingly Austin, the director has hit Facebook to reveal that in retrospect, they probably weren't ready to premiere the movie just yet anyway. Moreover, he's confident in the picture. Here's what he wrote:

After the NYT Mag piece, many have asked when the film will be shown. It's going to be a few months. The intense reactions to Liz and Dick and the Times Mag article have made us realize that there will be an immediate blowback once The Canyons is publically screened--for good and ill. That's the nature of anything involving Lindsay (plus BEE and JD, who also elicit visceral reactions). Therefore, when the film is shown it should also be available VOD and limited theatrical. That way the curious can see the film for themselves. I am told it takes 3-4 months to organize a proper VOD release. After Sundance we'll screen the film for multi-platform distributors and set the process in motion. In a way it's good we're not at Sundance. We weren't prepared, we weren't organized. Films enter festivals to heighten their profile. The Canyons doesn't need to do that. We need to organize multi-platform distribution. This is not a dodge, it's common sense. The film is very good. I have no qualms about that. Paul S.

Like anything even remotely involving Lindsay Lohan, "The Canyons" will continue to be scrutinized until it finally does hit screens both big and small. But you can get a good taste of what's to come by watching a three minute clip from the movie right here. Is Schrader in trouble or is the movie being given an unfair shake? Let us know below.

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  • Veronilka K. | January 23, 2013 8:38 PMReply

    I heard that the only saving grace of this movie is how it looks.

  • Bob | January 23, 2013 3:02 PMReply

    $50 on Tribeca preeming it. Those guys love high-profile cheese.

  • Leonardo | January 23, 2013 2:25 PMReply

    i hated thaat the magazine bashed the movie without having seen it yet, i feel bad for bith Lohan and Schrader.

  • Roark | January 23, 2013 2:01 PMReply

    I feel bad for Schrader. Even if the movie sucks, its way unprofessional for these fest insiders to be bashing the film to reporters. But I guess he sort of invited it on himself - per the Times Magazine piece, he really didn't seem to know what he was getting into with Lohan. It wasn't just going to be the struggles getting her through the production - having her in the movie makes it an easy target and a punching bag before anyone has seen it. And now that the clip and the magazine piece have come out there's blood in the water.

  • Daniel | January 23, 2013 4:39 PM

    Agreed; that said, it's hardly reassuring that the director's defense consists basically of, "I think it's good." Of course you do, man - it's not your opinion that we're interested in, it's the opinions of people who *didn't* work on the movie. An objective audience. There's a lot of reasons that a festival may reject a film, but if it's confirmed that they rejected it because viewing it feels like sucking eggs through a garden hose, then the director needs more than just "well, I like it" to counter the bad buzz.

  • Mike | January 23, 2013 1:54 PMReply

    They should scale back and try Latin American Film Festivals.

  • dan | January 23, 2013 12:32 PMReply

    "an ugliness and a deadness to it." -- seems all right considering the setting of the movie.

  • afasdfs | January 25, 2013 5:33 AM

    Yeah, certainly. Is ugliness and deadness a bad thing? I wouldn't expect anything else from BEE, for better or for worse

  • Superzoom | January 23, 2013 12:22 PMReply

    I'm thinking all the "organizing" in the world is not going to save your picture, Paul. Maybe if you could "organize" a re-shoot with some real actors.

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