Category Archives: Movie Theaters

The Festivus Film Festival: A Reaction

Well, hello!  This is Daniel Menahem, producer of THE WATERHOLE, with my first KR7 Productions blog post.  While Nathan (as chief writer and creative director) has been in charge of our blog, I plan on relieving him of writing duties for a few updates strictly from a producer’s perspective.

I want to share my filmmaking experience in more depth in the near future, but seeing as we have just screened THE WATERHOLE at the Festivus Film Festival (www.festivusfilmfestival.com), I thought I’d share with the readers the rollercoaster ride that was presenting our vision to the paying Denver public. Ok, rollercoaster ride maybe a bit of an exaggeration, but as most of you reading this who have created and then presented to an audience know, there is a certain high (and low) that comes with the experience.

First, a word about Festivus Film Festival (aka FFF). I cannot speak highly enough about the job that Jonathan, Tim and the FFF crew have done in creating a vibrant, eclectic festival catering equally to filmmakers and the audience.  While all of our festival screening experiences have been great, this is the first festival that I had been intimately involved with.  The 2011 edition of FFF offered a variety of categories (comedy, docs, music videos etc) all populated by quality films.  In today’s market we are all competing for limited screen space, however it was refreshing to see such filmmaking talent that will definitely keep our KR7 Production humbled and inspired as we try and decide what project to bring to the screen next.

As far as the screening itself goes, well, I’m glad to report it was a surprisingly pleasant experience. Being that Denver is currently my hometown, I had many friends and colleagues in attendance, which always adds a new level of nervousness.  As in past screenings, I made a point of not watching the film in the months leading to the screening, so to try and get as “fresh” of a look as possible (as fresh as possible after 200+ viewings.)  The film is a character and dialogue-driven story with a very simple plot and there always exists the fear that the audience may not relate and grow restless.  It was great to see and hear the reaction throughout the movie.  People laughed and gasped in the “right” places, and the film definitely held their attention throughout.

The screening was held at the fantastic The Bug Theatre. A quaint and cozy little independent theater that one could have imagined had been there for many decades and many great films.  It even had a bar inside, which always helps any screening, especially one with a film about a bar.  We are always a bit nervous about the turn out, but the crowd steadily filled up all but a handful of seats.  Per usual ritual, I stayed through the first couple of scenes until nerves got the best of me and I bailed to Patsy’s “the Oldest Italian Bar in Denver,” checking the time every few seconds until I felt safe enough for my return.

The Q&A can always be a dicey proposition, but that night we were treated to a stream of compliments and thoughtful observations about the story, the characters and the ramifications within the themes. There is nothing better than hearing “the characters felt so real, like people you actually know.” One female audience member stated that she loved the idea that this was a relationship movie from a guy’s perspective.  I always take pride that every Q&A that we’ve had so far has gone over the time limit – people do get excited to discuss their thoughts and feelings. It’s nice to know that we’ve made a thought-provoking film.

There are many choices you need to make when making a film and while there are still many things we might have done different given a second chance, I think both Nathan and I are comfortable with what we’ve created.  Our screening at the Festivus Film Festival in Denver certainly served to validate our creation.  Now it’s on to the next project

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under Denver, Film Festivals, Film Producing, Filmmakers, Filmmaking, Independent Film, Movie Theaters

Long Live the Movie Theater

Yesterday marked somewhat of an unusual landmark for me.  It was the first time since the birth of my son that I have seen a film in the theater for three straight weeks in a row (it will be four if I make it to next week’s Film Courage Interactive).   This is significant in that ever since I could drive I have seen at least one film a week in a movie theater.  I love going to the movies and the reasons I no longer make it out as frequently are not because I spend too much time on the internet, playing video games or that the theatrical experience is bad (which it is), it’s simply because at this stage in my life it isn’t as convenient.  I still go as often as possible, I just have to be more selective.

During these recent trips something occurred to me as I watched the previews, all ten thousand of them that preceded each film.   Of all those films I had to look forward to, there was only one that aroused my interest enough to make me think:  “I have to see that yesterday!”  That film was the first part of the final films in the Harry Potter angst-ridden boy wizard series.   I have seen only two of the prior films in theaters.  I enjoyed the books but find them utterly forgettable, yet my desire to see this film is high.  Feel free to speculate as to why this is, but what interested me most is all the other films previewed.   As I watched one after the other I mentally cataloged each: 1) Must See 2) Rental 3) Seriously, do they really think people want to see this shit?  Going to the theater is as much of a choice about content as it is about experience.

The future and viability of the theatrical window is always the subject of morbid speculation.  How long does it have left?  How many more gimmicks like 3D can they attach to its dying body to keep it alive longer?  The fact is that the theatrical window will see a decline but not because people aren’t willing to go to the theaters.  Do you know how expensive it is to take a family to the movies?  It’s about as much as my bar tab*.  Even faced with this expense families pile into theaters every time a kid-friendly film arrives.  And just like I did, those kids will fall in love with the experience and they will return again and again.   As long as there is something that compels them to.

Any reason you could give me why people won’t go to the theaters will more than likely be valid, but the fact is that people do go to the theater and they must like it because they do have other options to see a film.  Many people are willing to wait.  The thing is, nobody ever says – “Damn, are you telling me I have to go to the theater to see that? Oh well, I guess since there is no other way to see this film in my lifetime I will have to make this tremendous sacrifice.”  People aren’t stupid.  Well, that stupid. People still pay to see Katherine Heigl movies and she has scientifically been proven to be awful.

Granted, theaters must improve the experience if they want to extend their life expectancy.  They need to  keep the prices reasonable (Hey AMC – charging $3 extra for an “E” ticket to a film in a theater with good projection and sound is truly awful marketing.  Shouldn’t that be ALL of your theaters?) and accept that short windows are the new reality.  Distributors need to better leverage marketing costs, choose carefully what needs to go to theaters and not make decisions too hastily that could unnecessarily kill their theatrical markets.  Independent filmmakers have always had a tough fight to get their films into the theatrical arena, and maybe it just isn’t right for most films from an economic standpoint, but if the audience for your film is there, they will see it in a theater.  You are just going to have to work your ass off to get them there.

Seeing a film in the theater can be a special thing.  Viewing our film “The Waterhole” at the high-end Arclight in Hollywood was one of my proudest moments.  I suspect that when the Harry Potter finale reaches theaters it will be a tremendous success, maybe even breaking records.  There are many things I dislike about going to the theater, but if you create a story I really want to see, you can bet I will be there and I will not be alone.

*Alas, in reality I never get to go to bars anymore either.

1 Comment

Filed under Film Distribution, Filmmaking, Independent Film, Movie Theaters, Release Windows, Uncategorized