Last week, I met up with Craig at Scratcher to welcome him back from Sundance and congratulate him on the universally positive critical reception to GREAT WORLD OF SOUND. It wasn't just press, however. Every programmer I spoke to was equally glowing. For a day or two I felt like Craig's publicist, as my inbox was flooded with requests for Craig's personal information. Note to programmers: I'm a blogger, not a pimp. (Just kidding.)
While the critical and audience response to GWOS was nothing but positive, the distributors didn't appear to share that enthusiasm. Or, worse yet, many of them did on a personal level, but because GWOS has no 'stars' and can't be pigeonholed into one easily marketable genre (though I would beg to differ that it most certainly can), they had to pass on the film. Which makes absolutely no sense at all.
The discussion was somber, but not hopeless. I am confident that good news will arrive with regards to GWOS and theatrical distribution. When I hear about that, you will be the first to know. Still, the overall mood was one of frustration. How could something that was so well received, on every single level, be dismissed so callously?
Strangely, all of our bitching had the reverse effect. It actually inspired me to reject "The Sundance Approach." I'm now determined to make PING-PONG SUMMER as a true independent film, one with no recognizable faces that would almost certainly get the film bought on principal alone. That concept is false and disgusting to me. And it's not like a movie without stars can't sell (see: NAPOLEON DYNAMITE, SON OF RAMBOW, ROCKET SCIENCE, etc.). It's just going to make it a wholllllle lot harder. But I've thought long and hard about it, and I want to succeed without relying on those Sundancian tricks.
But back to GWOS. While we tried to figure out the paradox of Craig's situation and the general problem of making actual money off our well received, but 'small' films, Craig went to the bathroom. When he came back out, he said, "Go into the bathroom now and look at the ad on the wall." I did. Whoa. There was a gaudy topographical poster for NORBIT--like, we're talking THREE-FUCKING-D--which probably cost more than both of our movies combined. I went back out to Craig, where we shared a defeated smile.