Old MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

RSS Update: 'Jesus Camp' Floors Makor; 'Heights' Set For Tonight at Pioneer

The Reeler Screening Series resumed Monday night at Makor with a well-attended sneak preview of the documentary Jesus Camp, followed by a chat with filmmakers Rachel Grady and Heidi Ewing. I noted to Grady that the last time she and I had talked–shortly after the doc’s Tribeca triumph last May–she was still a little apprehensive about how Jesus Camp might fare in the distribution game. Four months later, as Magnolia Pictures prepares to release the film in New York (and after an intial limited release throughout Middle America), the filmmakers have attracted an international following based on its unprecedented look at an evangelical Christian summer camp for kids.

Yours truly between filmmakers (L-R) Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady following Monday’s Jesus Camp screening at Makor

“It was important to Heidi and I to get it in front of the public before the midterm elections,” Grady said during the Q&A. “We thought that it was a conversation that was not only long overdue, but this is a good time to have it–right now. Magnolia were on the same page with that, fortunately, so its opening here in New York on Friday, then onto about 40 cities. It’ll be fun.”
I also asked Ewing about her own anticipation on the cusp of her film’s New York opening. “I’ll probably eat my hat a couple of years from now, but right now I feel like this is the hardest movie that I will ever work on in my life,” she said. “But who knows? There’s always time. It was extremely draining and a hard movie to make for reasons that are probably obvious to you here. And it was so heartening to have a big response at Tribeca and to have Magnolia behind the film. There were several distributors interested, and certainly the vision that Magnolia had–they were glad to have our input, and we’re all on the same page in trying to get this movie out as far and wide as possible. Something interesting is happening: We’re all attempting to get evangelical Christians in seats to see the movie, and it’s not just a marketing ploy or financial thing–we really would like to bring evangelical Christians into this conversation. Otherwise, it really was for nothing.”
So, to recap: Jesus Camp opens Sept. 22 at the Angelika and at the AMC Empire 25 in Times Square (!), and I cannot recommend it highly enough. And, speaking of recommendations, the Reeler Screening Series continues this evening at 6:30 at the Pioneer Theater with the exquisite New York drama Heights; director Chris Terrio will drop in afterward for a discussion and an afterparty to follow. Check out the jump for more information about this terrific film, and please do stop in.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a couple of deadlines to untie from around my neck. I will catch up with you Wednesday.


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The Reeler presents:
HEIGHTS
(dir. Chris Terrio, 93 mins, 2004)
Tuesday, Sept 19, 2006 — 6:30 pm
Pioneer Theater — 155 East 3rd Street
Event link: http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/monthly_programs/2006-09.htm#Heights
This is a Tuesdays@7 program. Every Tuesday at 7pm features special guests presenting their film, and is followed by a beer and pizza reception for ticket holders.
Join The Reeler editor S.T. VanAirsdale for a post-screening discussion with director Chris Terrio.
Few films of the last five years have captured the dread, striving and cautious optimism of post-9/11 New York life as dynamically as Chris Terrio’s 2004 feature debut HEIGHTS. Adapted from the play by Amy Fox, HEIGHTS follows the intersecting lives of a legendary stage and screen actress (Glenn Close), her photographer daughter Isabel (Elizabeth Banks), Isabel’s haunted fiancé Jonathan (James Marsden) and a struggling young actor (Jesse Bradford) who gets to know all of them with varying degrees of intimacy. Balancing a subtle mix of pressures and entitlements over one day in the city, the characters fray without ever falling apart; even as each seeks counsel and keeps secrets, absolution is the most terrifying ghost any of them seem to face.
As such, HEIGHTS represents perhaps that rarest of New York films: a measured, sympathetic portrait of bourgeois crisis. Cinematographer Jim Denault matches Terrio and Fox stroke for stroke, revealing a shimmering urban landscape burdened with deep wounds of its own. Banks and Marsden are superb as the young couple smothered by high expectations, while Close’s ravaged dignity turns the archetypal diva inside-out. Modest, gorgeous and genuine, HEIGHTS is a must-see.
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