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David Poland

By David Poland

PRESS RELEASE – A New "Home" Distributor Grabs "Worst" Fest Title

New York, NY (February 23, 2010) – New York-based specialized film
distribution company Area23a, formed in January by distribution veteran
Richard Abramowitz and Kirt Eftekhar, founder of Ocule Films, announced
today that it will release the award-winning “Best Worst Movie” which
has been an official selection in over twenty film festivals. The
documentary had its world premiere at South by Southwest and has
received several awards including the Top Ten Audience Favorite at Hot
Docs 2009. Area23a will open the film in Austin, Los Angeles, and New
York and other top markets in late Spring.
In “Best Worst Movie” Michael Paul Stephenson makes his directorial
debut by exploring one of the worst and most critically panned movie
ever made, Troll 2, in which he starred as a child in1989. Italian
director Claudio Gragrasso cast small-town dentist Dr George Hardy and a
group of unwitting Utah actors in the ultra-low budget horror film.
Soon after Troll 2’s disastrous release, Dr Hardy retired from his
short-lived acting career and returned to dentistry in his hometown of
Alabama, unaware of the legions of fans that would one day recognize him
as a cult movie luminary. Twenty years later Stephenson reveals the
improbably heartfelt story of this Alabama dentist-turned-cult movie
icon and an Italian filmmaker as they both come to terms with this
internationally revered cinematic failure. Stephen alongside Lindsay
Rowles Stephenson and Brad Klopman serve as the producers.

Of the acquisition, Stephenson says “Our movie – that we have devoted
the last four years to – can not be in better hands than with Abramowitz
and Eftekhar. They have demonstrated their ability to skillfully handle
specialized films in a crowded market place. The recent success of
“Anvil!” only further demonstrates Richard’s expertise in theatrical
film distribution.”
Abramowitz adds “At Area23a we are very excited to bring ‘Best Worst
Movie’ to theaters across the country. The movie has been generating
both incredible word-of-mouth and critical acclaim through the festival
circuit. Audiences are appreciating the film’s humor and are also moved
by its homage to bad movies and the people that make them.”
Area23a most recently distributed the acclaimed “Soundtrack for a
Revolution,” “The Mighty Uke,” “American Harmony,” and “They Came to
Play.” This spring it will release “Sweet Crude,” the story of
Nigeria’s Niger Delta, set against a stunning backdrop of Niger Delta
footage, the film gives voice to the region’s complex mix of
stakeholders and invites the audience to learn the deeper story.

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2 Responses to “PRESS RELEASE – A New "Home" Distributor Grabs "Worst" Fest Title”

  1. a_loco says:

    I went to screening of Troll 2 (on 35 mm!) in Toronto about a year and a half ago, and they were filming some filler for this movie. It was fun.

  2. Nick Rogers says:

    It’s somehow strangely appropriate that Claudio Fragasso’s (aka Drake Floyd) name is misspelled in this press release. Glad to see this finally getting a theatrical release. Like a_loco, I went to a screening on the “Troll 2” tour, and you certainly can’t piss on the hospitality of the people behind this documentary.

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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