By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 7, 2011 at 8:18AM
It's been two years since David Lee Miller's My Suicide played the 2009 fest circuit, from Berlin (where it won The Crystal Bear) and Gen Art (best picture and actor, Gabriel Sunday), to SXSW, San Francisco and Seattle. The movie, which deploys cinema verite techniques to document a teen's quest to do himself in, kept distribution hope alive via an active Facebook page. Miller worked closely with his son Jason and his videographer star Sunday, who plays Archie, the film's "isolated, narcissistic blob,"as he describes it. They constantly raised coin for the film, which Sunday often shot himself, using multiple video cameras. It took three years to edit 15 terrabytes of footage. "It has this crazy ADD feeling to it," says Sunday.
But even agency WME struggled to find a way to release a serious message movie aimed at teens, which was further hampered by the strange accidental death of its star David Carradine. Sunday went on the counter-attack, insisting that Carradine was anti-suicide. "The idea of him giving up and killing himself?" he told me in our interview below, "he did not seem like a depressed, sad person."
"Audiences go nuts for this film but the distributors don't know what to do with it," says San Francisco exhibitor Gary Meyer, co-director of the Telluride Film Festival. "Distribs don't understand that a young movie doesn't have to be formula. They don't get young people. This will need a reinvention of viral marketing, should not be limited to art houses and probably should go VOD day and date."
Well, somebody was listening. The movie will finally open this May via new indie distributor Big Air Studios, which is selling it as "a self-inflicted comedy." The new official website (complete with trailer), promises that the film is "Coming Soon: To theaters, DVD, Blu-Ray, Computers, XBoxes, Playstation 3's, Mobile Phones, iPads, and TVs near you!" States Miller:
"Big Air Studios is a truly revolutionary distributor for independent films like 'My Suicide.' We made an award-winning film with a powerful message, and now we have a platform that can distribute this message to today's audience. This kind of company will open doors to countless filmmakers and storytellers whose movies don't fit today's big studios' business and marketing models."
Big Air was founded by Michael Arrieta, former EVP of Digital at Sony Pictures, with partners Mark Sternberg (Mirrors, October Sky), Crosscreek Entertainment founder Bill Patterson, ex-Sony SVP technology Joe Arancio, ex-Sony VP digital programming Michael Stradford and Andrew Cosby, co-founder of Boom! Studios. Big Air intends to produce, acquire and distribute movies as well as offering distribution and marketing self-distribution services for indies. Big Air is using the Cisco Eos social entertainment software platform to build interactive online and mobile experiences so that filmmakers can find and engage audiences for their films.
Here's my Seattle Film Fest interview with actor/filmmaker Gabriel Sunday about My Suicide and David Carradine: