Making a Movie: Distributing a Niche Documentary

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Making a Movie” is a series of columns that chronicles our attempt to make, market, and distribute a film with Stephen Tobolowsky in 2014

A lot of people have asked me how we’re planning to distribute the film we’re making with Stephen Tobolowsky this year. The film is shaping up to be some hybrid between a documentary and a concert film, and it may only appeal to a very specific audience. But my personal hope is to go the film festival route and get picked up for distribution from there. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of options for self-distribution, including Vimeo on Demand and VHX.

I’m always eager to learn from those who have traveled the path that I’m trying to go on myself. And by coincidence, I recently received an e-mail from Adam Roffman  (the former program director of the excellent Independent Film Festival of Boston) mentioning that a film he produced, Plimpton! Starring George Plimpton as Himself, was going to be airing on PBS this Friday. That film is a documentary about a really interesting figure whose brilliance deserved further exploration (sound familiar?).

After appearing at 20-some festivals, Plimpton! did a limited theatrical release with a small distributor called Laemmle-Zeller (owner of the Laemmle theater chain in LA). The film received a DVD distribution deal and was supposed to go onto DVD this past October, but in early September, they got an offer to air on PBS and thus delayed the DVD release. I wanted to know more about how a film like this gets made, seen, and distributed, so Adam connected me with the film’s director, Luke Poling, who chatted with me over e-mail. See his answers to my questions after the jump.
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The Beauty and Grandeur of ‘Godzilla’

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Gareth Edwards Godzilla hits theaters this weekend (see Germain’s review here). I thought the film was good, but not great. It doesn’t have as much action as other “Big Monster” movies such as Pacific Rim or even Roland Emmerich’s terrible 1998 version; instead, it chooses to focus on the human dramas that result from Godzilla’s appearance. The only problem is that aside from Bryan Cranston’s character of Joe Brody, none of these characters are very compelling, nor do they offer much to root for. Many of them feel like cardboard cutouts, existing only to spout exposition or serve a brief plot purpose before the movie forgets about them until the next time they are necessary.

But one thing that is undeniable is how incredible Godzilla looks.
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24 Die Another Day trailer

Dave and Devindra bring you a lengthy, rambling After Dark episode featuring thoughts on 2001: A Space Odyssey, 24: Live Another Day, and the new Star Wars casting news. Mike Ryan joins us from Screencrush, then Peter Sciretta joins David to chat about his Zac Efron obsession and the economics of running a film website. Be sure to read up on where the hell are all the women in Star Wars, why film critics should write about filmmaking, and Dave’s first GIF essay about Louie.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Also, like us on Facebook!
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A Cast of Kings S4E06 – The Laws of Gods and Men

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Joanna and David discuss the sixth episode of season 4 of Game of Thrones, “The Laws of Gods and Men.” Thanks to our sponsor for this week, Roll for Crit.

If you like the show, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes and like us on Facebook.
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lawsofgodsmen

This week, Joanna and David chat with Bryan Cogman, a writer and co-producer of Game of Thrones. Cogman wrote this week’s episode, “The Laws of Gods and Men.” We chat with Cogman about crafting scenes that never appeared in the book, which characters are his favorite to write, the tumultuous first season of the show, dealing with zealous Game of Thrones fans, and writing one the most memorable courtroom scenes ever.

If you like the show, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes and like us on Facebook.
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Louie

After an interminable nearly-two-year absence, Louis CK‘s FX original series Louie finally made a return this past week. I’ve missed this show dearly. Not only does it allow viewers to mainline CK’s twisted, bleak worldview, but every episode is beautifully shot and edited, and every episode is directed by CK himself.

This week’s season premiere actually consisted of two episodes, the latter of which, “Model,” I was particularly taken with. In the episode, CK performs at charity benefit full of billionaires and bombs horribly, only to be seduced by a beautiful heiress who finds him funny. “Model” was so gorgeously filmed that I just had to pick apart some of the shots to explore what CK was trying to do with them. You’ll find my (SPOILER-filled) thoughts after the jump. Louie airs on Mondays on FX.
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protector2

I recently had the chance to see The Protector 2which is available right now on VOD on iTunes and Amazon. The Protector 2 is actor Tony Jaa’s follow-up to The Protector, which has one of the most impressive long continuous shots I’ve ever seen in an action film. Based on the strength of that shot alone, I figured the sequel was worth giving a chance, even if it does contain RZA’s acting.

Turns out, this movie is by far the most insane martial arts film of 2014. Hit the jump to learn why. SPOILERS follow.
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A Cast of Kings S4E05 – First of His Name

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Joanna and David discuss the fifth episode of season 4 of Game of Thrones, “First of His Name.” Thanks to our sponsor for this week, mikebandalexg.com. Their new film Bot Detector is pretty clever. 

If you like the show, feel free to leave us a review on iTunes and like us on Facebook.
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