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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Reeler Link Dump: Westward Ho Edition

Circumstances beyond its control have forced The Reeler to retreat to California for the next week, possibly two. While I expect to continue portions of my coverage from out west, odds are I will not be able to make the transcontinental commute to catch the Gen Art Film Festival or–gasp!–the Scary Movie 4 premiere April 10.
But at least I am always good for binging on wreckage surveyed from afar. To wit:
–The Reporter’s Gregg Goldstein offers a sweeping view of DIY distribution options available to independent filmmakers, with examples like New York’s Kristian Fraga (Anytown, USA) and Susan Buice and Arin Crumley (Four-Eyed Monsters) showing at least two of the many ways to skin this particular cat. That is, before it rears back to life, claws their hearts out and ever-so-mischievously sets their negatives on fire.
–According to Page Six, George Clooney’s publicist developed opposable thumbs functional enough the type out a plan for sabatoging the celebrity-sighting hotspot Gawker Stalker:

Flood their Web site with bogus sightings. Get your clients to get 10 friends to text in fake sightings of any number of stars. A couple hundred conflicting sightings and this Web site is worthless. No need to try to create new laws to restrict free speech. Just make them useless. That’s the fun of it. And then sit back and enjoy the ride. Thanks, George.

Great idea! Almost as brilliant as giving your enemy free publicity in the New York Post! And the Associated Press! And IMDB! Gawker responded a few hours ago by placing a bounty on Clooney’s head: Ocean’s 11 and Ocean’s 12 DVD’s go to the first stalker to send a clear photo of the Oscar winner–“and if you can get a picture of him giving the finger, we’ll even throw in a copy of Solaris.” Another publicist, another job well done.
–Only at Lincoln Center could Polish and African cinema somehow overlap, and that is exactly what is happening in April and May: The Film Society will host a virtually complete retrospective of the late Krzysztof Kieslowski’s work from April 5-23, while the 13th annual African Film Festival fires up for a month starting April 20.
–In other “festival” news, The Times’s Laurel Graeber has the scoop on the New York International Children’s Film Festival, which is now a year-round fixture at IFC Center and is on the verge of going national. Founder Eric Beckman calls it “art house for kids,” while rumor has it theater boss John Vanco has promised to introduce a film in a clown suit if Beckman can help him hit April’s attendance quota.
–Sure, it is relatively old news, but just say it out loud: Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Manohla Dargis. Fuck. Yes.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon