NY Screening Awesome

Blumenthal Film - Seth Fisher I was a little nervous as to what the turnout would be at our East Village screening of Blumenthal this past weekend. I'd been extremely busy leading up to the event and I hadn't been as aggressive on the invites and social media promotions as I had originally intended. Add to that, the theatre we were screening in was huuuuge.

Myself and the rest of the cast arrived early for press photos on the second floor, so I wasn't able to see anyone coming in to the actual theatre downstairs on the main level. By the time the press stuff had wrapped up and I headed down for the screening, I was pleasantly surprised to find there was no where left for me to sit. In fact, they were bringing in folding chairs to accommodate more late-comers. Of course, the fatalist in me looked at the large audience and thought "Great. If these guys don't enjoy the movie, the silence in the theater will be that more deafening."

Not the case.

They responded beautifully and seemed to have a genuinely great time. Additionally, the vast majority of the audience were not friends or familiar faces, but rather strangers who were just interested in seeing a Scotsman play a Jewish New Yorker. Afterwards, we did a Q and A with me and the cast. I was thrilled at the response to the performances in the film. It was the first time for many of the actors to see the finished film, and it was awesome to see how pleased they were with the final product.

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The response at the screening was beyond generous. I had an amazing conversation with legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman outside the theater that absolutely made my day. Most of the questions and comments I've received thus far on the film have been in relation to the script and the actors, so it was great to hear someone's reaction to the visual aspects of the movie. Zak and I put so much thought and work into the picture, and to hear the DP who shot Virgin Suicides compare your camera work to that of Gordon Willis (Manhattan, The Godfather) was just insane and humbling and I don't know what else.

A terrific day all around.

 

More Blumenthal! NY Premiere Set, Extra Screening Scheduled at Santa Barbara

20130209-131954.jpgFirst, I'm pleased to announce that BLUMENTHAL will be making its NY premiere at the inaugural First Time Fest. Hosted by the historic Players Club, the festival is a competition and mentorship comprising of only 12 films and supported by awesome talents like Darren Aronofsky, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, and Sofia Coppolla. Our movie will play the first weekend in March at the Lowes Village VII. More details to come!

In other news, due to popular demand, BLUMENTHAL will be screening an extra time I'm Santa Barbara this weekend. It will be at 2pm on Sunday the 10th at 2PM at the Riviera Theatre. Best of all, it's free! SBIFF does this every year as a 3rd Weekend treat intended for locals who avoided the last two weeks of madness that descended on their town. I will, unfortunately, not be able to attend. I will be there in spirit (and celluloid).

20130209-133227.jpg Festivals aside, we are still trying to nail down a sales rep for the film. We've recently received a good deal of interest from some cool companies, so hopefully we can set that up soon. For the uninitiated, a sales rep or sales agent is responsible for getting the film in front of distributors and ultimately negotiate the terms of a deal. Naturally, festival buzz and press in general will be key in our selling this film. Speaking of which, INDIEWIRE just published an interview we did a couple weeks ago. It's generous, to be sure. It also talks about WMMAM. Please "like" the article on Facebook and share with friends! This stuff goes a long way in promoting a small film like this.

More soon...

Watch Me Watch a Movie

Part Two... 7be15dbb9c8740662068b7a60c81463b103352f5-1359240422

Sold out. People turned away at the door. Me and the producers gave up our own seats to cram more people in. The lights went down, the festival sponsors' ads went up, and then HAROLD BLUMENTHAL SPEAKS! I need write a whole other post about how the whole world shuts up when Brian Cox opens his mouth to start off a movie.

The picture was there, the sound was there, and most importantly, the audience there. I had no interest in seeing a movie I've watched hundreds of times, believe me. But, I must confess that today was like the first time I'd ever seen it. It was pretty awesome. I don't know what more to say, other than that. Although we still have a ways to go with this thing on the festival circuit and distribution etc, this was the whole point: People crowding into a theatre, turning off the lights, blasting awesome music (thanks Noah and the Megafauna), and watching a movie. It's as simple and as sweet as that.

I'm tired and tipsy and producer Garrett and cinematographer Zak are still texting me. Here's to my awesome team!

L'Chaim

 

 

Sales and Press for Independent Films like Blumenthal

ethanbike Within hours of being notified of our acceptance into Santa Barbara Film Fest, phones were ringing and emails were...emailing? Aside from all the logistic and technical preparations of getting the film printed and ready for screening, the two main discussions of the week are Publicity and Sales Representation. For the uninitiated, here is a brief film-related definition of each :

Publicist - The main job of a film publicist is, well, publicity. More specifically, they work to generate attention and interest in the film through advertising to the target audience and promoting the film to the industry and local and national media. A publicist (ideally) can fill the theater seats with people who will help spread the word through the media (critics, industry executives, etc.)

Sales Representative - Also known as a sales agent, these guys are responsible for facilitating and negotiating the sales of distribution rights. They also work hard to fill the seats with relevant people, but their main function is to sell the film to distributors across all platforms (theatrical, DVD, VOD, etc) and all territories, both domestic and foreign.

Depending on who you  ask, people feel differently about which of these two relationships is more important when attending a festival. Some say both are equally important, and some DIY folks believe that indie filmmakers should do their own publicity (like blogging!). I've had  little experience with either publicists or sales reps, so I'll be interested to see how things go. Either way, these relationships will continue after the festival as Blumenthal makes its way through the circuit. With that in mind, all that matters is that the individual with either of these titles is passionate about the film. Funny, in a meeting this morning a producer pointed out that the same things that brings on good people to shoot, produce, or act in your film are the same traits you need in the people who promote it. The person best equipped to sell the movie is the person who truly believes in it.

Meetings abound, phone calls to make, and emails to...email?

 

 

 

Blumenthal World Premiere - Santa Barbara International Film Festival

SBIFF I am pleased to report that Blumenthal will have its world premiere during the opening weekend of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival! You can see the official press release here and read more about the festival here. We are all super crazy awesome excited about it. Although we had submitted a rough cut of the film to some festivals last year, this is the first festival that had received our final cut since finishing the film this past fall. This also marks the very beginning of the festival season, so we are off to a terrific start.

I owe the world an apology for such an epic gap in between blog posts, but much of what transpired the past several months has been waiting, waiting, and more waiting for festival technical polishes to finish and festival responses to come in. (Would you have read a blog post about waiting?)  I suppose if I still lived in NY where the film was being finished, things might have moved a bit faster, but oh well. Here we are!

There are a million billion things to do between now and the end of January when we premiere, so I will keep you all updated fairly regularly. This is the beginning of a whole new chapter in the filmmaking process: getting the film out there. Most of our immediate concerns are press related such as posters, post-cards, websites, trailer release, and sales reps. Each one of these things deserves their own blog post, so I'll aim for that.

In the spirit of making up for lost time, here is a look at a poster for the film that did not make the cut. The general consensus was that people might think the film was a cartoon of weird looking people. Actually...now that I've typed that it might make a good tag line! Let us know what you think.

The little poster that didn't.

What's in a Name? - Title Change

We've done it! The new title of our film is Blumenthal. After months and months of everyone already referring to the film by the family name of its characters, it seemed like the right thing to do. It also pointed to the reality that the original title was proving to be a mouthful in cocktail conversations. I've been mulling over a title change since we were in production, so this decision has been percolating for a while now. While I liked the multi-level meaning of Passing Harold Blumenthal, it just never struck me as catchy or easy enough to say without prompting further questions from people. Someone also pointed out the Blumenthal would get alphabetical priority on all VOD menus. So that's a bonus.

I considered retroactively modifying the title throughout past posts on WatchMeMakeAMovie, but decided against it. The title change is part of the process, so I'll leave the posts as a true diary of the moment and leave them "as is" for posterity. Besides, I've often written "Blumenthal"  as a short-cut nickname for the film already.

So that's that. Nice and simple. Blumenthal.

Blumenthal Movie Still No. 1

Here is the first Blumenthal still we are releasing. This is the first of a series of stills that will be used for press purposes once we are ready to premiere the film. It will also likely be the lustre print that will go out to many of our Kickstarter supporters.

Saul Blumenthal sits in the theatre where his brother Harold died of laughter.