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By MCN Editor editor@moviecitynews.com

New Jersey Filmmaker Offers Kevin Smith $10,000 to Review Film

Chatham, N.J. (October 19, 2011 — Jim Riffel, whose feature film “Black-Eyed Susan” won the Grand Prize at New Jersey’s “Garden State Film Festival,” is making a unique offer to New Jersey native and Hollywood filmmaker Kevin Smith: “If you review my feature film I’ll give you $10,000 to donate to the charity of your choice and I’ll also give you the worldwide rights to the film to sell to any company you want as long as you take the money from that sale and also donate that to the charity of your choice.”

“I think it’s a pretty good deal” said Riffel, “you get $10,000 right off the bat and then, if you sell the film, you’ll be able to get even more cash to a worthwhile charity.” The feature film Riffel is offering to Mr. Smith is a strange and entertaining “midnight movie” type flick called “Night of the Day of the Dawn of the Son of the Bride of the Return of the Revenge of the Terror of the Attack of the Evil, Mutant, Hellbound, Flesh-Eating, Crawling, Alien, Zombified, Subhumanoid, Living Dead – Part 5.” It’s the just finished sequel to the sequel to the sequel to the popular cult film, “Night of the Day of the Dawn…Part 2” and is a parody of the “golden age” of television. It takes a comedic look at what was considered appropriate and enjoyable TV family fare in the 1950s and 1960s and what’s considered appropriate and enjoyable television today. So why did Riffel choose Kevin Smith for this offer? “This film is a comedy and Kevin Smith’s made some great comedies so I’m hoping it might be a good match.”

And does Mr. Riffel think Kevin Smith will take him up on the offer? “You never know with something like this. I guess it’s a long shot, but it would be great if he seriously considered it. Maybe me being from New Jersey and the film being made in New Jersey help a little bit. And “Black-Eyed Susan,” the feature I made that won the Garden State Film Festival, was a low budget black and white film shot on 16mm, like “Clerks”, so, maybe all these things count. Who knows? I’ve seen him in dozens of interviews and he seems like a really down-to-Earth guy. The offer’s out there and I really hope he does it. We’ll see what happens.”

In addition to “Night Of The Day Of The Dawn…Part 5” Mr. Riffel is also donating the rights to four other feature films he directed and three non-fiction screenplays he wrote. You can find more information here.

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Tsangari: With my next film, White Knuckles, it comes with a budget — it’s going to be a huge new world for me. As always when I enter into a new thing, don’t you wonder how it’s going to be and how much of yourself you are going to have to sacrifice? The ballet of all of this. I’m already imaging the choreography — not of the camera, but the choreography of actually bringing it to life. It is as fascinating as the shooting itself. I find the producing as exciting as the directing. The one informs the other. There is this producer-director hat that I constantly wear. I’ve been thinking about these early auteurs, like Howard Hawks and John Ford and Preston Sturges—all of these guys basically were hired by the studio, and I doubt they had final cut, and somehow they had films that now we can say they had their signatures.  There are different ways of being creative within the parameters and limitations of production. The only thing you cannot negotiate is stupidity.
Filmmaker: And unfortunately, there is an abundance of that in the world.
Tsangari: This is the only big risk: stupidity. Everything else is completely worked out in the end.
~ Chevalier‘s Rachel Athina Tsangari

“The middle-range movies that I was doing have largely either stopped being made, or they’ve moved to television, now that television is a go-to medium for directors who can’t get work in theatricals, because there are so few theatricals being made. But also with the new miniseries concept, you can tell a long story in detail without having to cram it all into 90 minutes. You don’t have to cut the characters and take out the secondary people. You can actually put them all on a big canvas. And it is a big canvas, because people have bigger screens now, so there’s no aesthetic difference between the way you shoot a movie and the way you shoot a TV show.

“Which is all for the good. But what’s happened in the interim is that theatrical movies being a spectacle business are now either giant blockbuster movies that run three hours—even superhero movies run three hours, they used to run like 58 minutes!—and the others, which are dysfunctional family independent movies or the slob comedy or the kiddie movie, and those are all low-budget. So the middle ground of movies that were about things, they’re just gone. Or else they’re on HBO. Like the Bryan Cranston LBJ movie, which years ago would’ve been made for theaters.

“You’ve got people like Paul Schrader and Walter Hill who can’t get their movies theatrically distributed because there’s no market for it. So they end up going to VOD, and VOD is a model from which no one makes any money, because most of the time, as soon as they get on the site, they’re pirated. So the whole model of the system right now is completely broken. And whether or not anybody’s going to try to fix, or if it even can be fixed, I don’t know. But it’s certainly not the same business that I got into in the ’70s.”
~ Joe Dante

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