The Editing Page
The LA Story
I have received more than a few e-mails from visitors to the "Making Cherry" website wondering why I haven't updated the site recently. Between Peggy, Jon, Kim and myself, we have been unbelievably busy -- catching up on all the important Cypress affairs that were neglected during our nine days in Los Angeles, writing a new screenplay commissioned as a result of the Cherry screening and preparing for the first New York screening of the film, which happens in less than a week -- this coming Tuesday (May 4th). If there is anyone out there who wants to work for us as an intern, I will be more than happy to spend all my time updating the Cherry website and leave the real work to someone else!
Since I know many of you are curious about the reception of our film at the festival, I'll cut right to the chase: Cherry played to a sold-out crowd and they loved the film. I said to Jon before the screening that if they didn't laugh at the first joke, I'd leave the theater. They didn't, of course, but the second joke got a laugh, and the third, etc. We could not have asked for a better response to the film.
While they didn't review the film, indieWire ran the following:
"Cherry" by directors Jon Glascoe and Joseph Pierson, a whimsical, light-hearted, absurd comedy about love, fate and stale muffins, benefits from a sharp script by writer Terry Reed. The unlikely tale of a 29 year-old virgin, played by model-turned-actress Shalom Harlow, who decides to have a baby, the film is just strange enough to strike a chord with those with an appreciation of everything odd in the universe. - Rebecca Sonnenshine
But, what about the distributors???
Every filmmakers dream is to have someone from Miramax or Fox or Sony or Fine Line drag them from the theater 15 minutes into the film and make a deal on a napkin in the theater lobby. That doesn't happen very often, and it didn't happen to us. While the distributor response to our film wasn't instantaneous, we have so far received one offer for world rights to the film and two for foreign rights, as well as an offer to screen the film for distributors at the Cannes Film Festival (out of competition). No actual numbers have been mentioned yet; that depends on what expenses they will have to incur to release the film (do we have an interpositive? internegative? Beta master? music & effects track?, etc.). What is clear is that Cherry will find a distributor. Will it get wide distribution? Probably not, but we'll be happy to see it on even a few screens here and there.
Now for the play-by-play:
Jon and I left for LA on Tuesday, April 13th. We lugged the print onto the plane as carry-on (we were assured by the folks at check-in that the heavy metal containers wouldn't be a problem). Once on the plane, we put the cans (which must weigh 70 lbs. each) in the overhead bin, along with the metal folding cart. The flight attendant scolded us for putting the cart (which weighs all of 2 lbs.) in the overhead bin. After all, it could fall out and hit someone in the head! With the cart safely stowed under the seat, we were on our way.
We arrived at Le Reve Hotel in West Hollywood, where the LAIFF arranged a "filmmaker rate," and immediately concluded that you get what you pay for. Initial bad impressions aside, the hotel was actually pretty nice -- even though they never did bring me the damn fruit basket!
The first event of the festival was that night, a party hosted by Kenneth Cole at their store on Sunset for all of the accepted filmmakers. Since it wasn't that far, we actually walked from our hotel (an activity that is frowned upon in LA). Pretty good food, a fairly diverse assortment of people. We sought out as many green badges (filmmakers) as possible to trade war stories.
The party broke up relatively early, so we sought further amusement and refreshments at the Bar Marmont, nestled at the base of the Chateau Marmont Hotel on Sunset. What a weird place! We sat outside in the smoking section, of course, and watched a huge table of chic beautiful young people drink themselves into the most insanely frenzied stupor of kissing and pawing and shrieking -- a veritable orgy of fabulousness. Needless to say, we immediately declared the Bar Marmont our hangout for the duration of the festival.
Wednesday night we attended the WGA buffet dinner for festival filmmakers. Fine wine, excellent pasta and more conversation with fellow attendees. The guy sitting next to me had to leave early to plead with his lab to finish and release the final reel of his film, which was screening on Saturday. Yikes!
Thursday was the official opening night of the festival. Phillip Joanou's film, Entropy screened, followed by a party. I essentially shared indieWIRE's opinion of the film. This was also our first opportunity to see the DGA 1 theater, the same theater in which our film would screen in three days. Gosh, it looked big. At least we didn't have to worry about filling it, since Cherry had sold out as of Tuesday.
On Friday I was joined in my palatial hotel room by my wife and kids. We all went to the Getty museum with Julie's cousins and their two girls. Pretty spectacular, although there is an awful lot of white travertine marble in the various plazas and other outdoor spaces that is completely blinding in the searing southern California sun. Bring your Ray-Bans.
Friday evening we saw The Settlement, another feature playing in competition. Kelly McGillis doesn't look so hot; time has not been kind to her*. Again, I will tactfully defer to the indieWIRE review.
On Saturday Julie, the kids and I went to the beach in Santa Monica. It's going to be a couple of thousand years before they have to worry about an erosion problem there -- it's about a 1/2 mile walk from the edge of the beach to the ocean. And while it was a lovely day, the water was about 35º. It was nice having the wife & kids around; I was almost able to relax and not spend every waking moment obsessing about the screening that was only a day away. Almost.
Sunday afternoon Jon and I attended the digital filmmaking seminar. The only real information I gleaned from the event was that digital filmmaking is here to stay, and offers a significantly cheaper alternative to shooting on film. Bennet Miller, who directed The Cruise, was one of the panelists. He seemed like a pretty nice guy. I had occasion to approach him later because I thought we had a mutual friend back in New York. When I mentioned her name he looked puzzled and said he didn't think he knew her, but he has a "cognitive disorder" and might know her after all. It was a somewhat inconclusive and peculiar conversation, although he's probably more sane than he thinks; it turns out that my friend had no idea who he was.
After choking down a hot dog from the nearby minimart, it was time to go to the DGA theater for our screening, which brings us back to where we started.
In conclusion, I will share a letter written to our agent by an executive from a very well known star's company who saw Cherry the following Wednesday at the Vogue screening (Vogue had a promotional event in Beverly Hills and screened Cherry to kick it off):
"Dear Frank [our agent]:
I saw CHERRY at the Academy screening last night and loved it. It's this year's NEXT STOP WONDERLAND. It's funny and a very charming movie.
The filmmakers did a wonderful job and I hope it finds a home in the distribution world soon."
*Peggy said this is a sexist remark. I said it certainly is not. She said "Well, you'd never say that about a man." Yes I would -- and did: "George Lucas doesn't look so hot; time has not been kind to him."
NEXT: The Distribution Game