Thursday, November 27, 2008

What Am I Reading? Right now, Roger Ebert on Death to film critics!

Roger Ebert really nails the sad state of newspapers in a piece titled Death to film critics! Hail to the CelebCult! He concludes with a great line: "The news is still big. It's the newspapers that got small."

The article laments, among other things, the laying off of film critics by newspapers that has being going for over a year now. As a film producer I can attest to the fact that getting your film reviewed in any depth in 2008 was almost impossible, but until I read Ebert's piece I didn't realize just how lucky we were to get the reviews that we did get for Dare Not Walk Alone (you can find some of them summed up here and linked here).

Of course, I probably shouldn't say we were lucky. The film sure as heck deserved to be reviewed. Our distributor, Indican Pictures, did their part too. What we weren't lucky enough to get was an in-depth newspaper film critic review, the kind where the critic talks about the artistry of the film, the visual themes, things like the recurrent pool-beach-baptism-redemption imagery.

One other item in Mr. Ebert's article to which I can personally attest is the report by Variety's Anne Thompson, relayed by Mr. Ebert, that "earlier this year the Village Voice fired Dennis Lim and Nathan Lee, and recently fired all the local movie critics in its national chain, to be replaced, by syndicating their critics on the two coasts, the Voice's J. Hoberman and the L.A. Weekly's Scott Foundas."

Turns out, because Dare Not Walk Alone opened in Los Angeles before it opened in New York, it was reviewed by the L.A. Weekly's Scott Foundas. That same review was then republished in the Village Voice ahead of the New York opening. And that's how we credited it on DVD cover. I'm just sorry we couldn't get Mr. Ebert's opinion of the film before we went to print.

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