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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Brutal realities: distributing Mutual Appreciation

Promoing indieWIRE’s “Undiscovered Gems” series, indieWIRE’s Brian Brooks ekes a squeak or two out of Andrew Bujalski, director of the painfully sly, 16mm b&w pic Mutual Appreciation. [indieWIRE opens the Harvard-spawned filmmaker’s endeavor starting September 1 at NYC’s Cinema Village and LA’s Sunset 5 and Pasadena’s Playhouse 7 on September 8. What lead [sic] you to filmmaking? mutual_promo659.jpg“I was obsessed with movies as far back as I can remember (Rocky III, Star Trek II, etc), [and] never really considered doing anything else with my life. Wish I could be a musician but lack any apparent talent. Also wish I could be a novelist; same problem. Also painting. Or, I don’t know, even dancing. They all sound good to me.” Bujalski “studied film as an undergrad at Harvard, which has a tremendous program where you really get an opportunity to ‘handmake’ films, which doesn’t make you particularly employable but does give you delusions of autonomous grandeur, which I’ve managed to hang onto since… Distribution is a pain in the ass. Most of the people in that business are very friendly and affable and nice to talk to, but the business itself of course is brutal.” [For an alternative take on Bujalski’s film, sample Becky Ohlsen of Willamette Week: “I wanted to walk right into this movie, like Mia Farrow in The Purple Rose of Cairo—only with a machine gun. Or maybe a hatchet. Then I’d kill every single character while laughing with glee. The most painful example of gutless, nutless indie-rock awkwardness I’ve ever seen… drifts aimlessly through the lives of an aspiring musician from Boston, his best friend and his best friend’s girl. All three of them are loathesome, inarticulate, self-absorbed, unoriginal, bumbling, insubstantial wastes of skin who can’t even make crippling neurosis mildly interesting.” [Ms. Ohlsen was attacked with a pie earlier this year by a Portland exhibitor for a relatively innocuous mention of his theater.]

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles