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Fox Searchlight Uses Director Cred to Sell The Tree of Life

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 16, 2011 at 5:36AM

In the old days, testimonial spots were shot outside movie theaters, with moviegoers saying how much they like a picture, and put on TV. This is the first time I've seen two top Hollywood directors with huge film fan cred lend their support via online video for a movie. Fox Searchlight got David Fincher and Christopher Nolan--two directors at the top of the Hollywood food chain--to explain why they admire Terrence Malick and his The Tree of Life. The movie has to be a must-see for any film buff, but Searchlight is pushing to get smart cinephile fans of Inception and The Social Network to give it a whirl.
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Thompson on Hollywood

In the old days, testimonial spots were shot outside movie theaters, with moviegoers saying how much they like a picture, and put on TV. This is the first time I've seen two top Hollywood directors with huge film fan cred lend their support via online video for a movie. Fox Searchlight got David Fincher and Christopher Nolan--two directors at the top of the Hollywood food chain--to explain why they admire Terrence Malick and his The Tree of Life. The movie has to be a must-see for any film buff, but Searchlight is pushing to get smart cinephile fans of Inception and The Social Network to give it a whirl.

I was ready to give kudos to whoever on Nancy Utley and Steve Gilula's team thought this up and made it happen--hose guys don't come down off the mountain for their peers very often. It's authentic advertising. In other words, these guys have no reason to say it unless they believe it, because they get so much respect for not being blowhards.

UPDATE: Searchlight admits in an email: "the interviews had already been completed before we acquired the film.  It was really from the filmmakers relationships and their love and appreciation of his work."  
 


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.