I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of movies and documentary reviews.
I thought, this morning, which is actually a week and a day before this post goes live, that I’d review the flu. Not a movie. Not a book. The sickness. I’ve got it now. I thought about how I’d start it off by talking about how I never do negative reviews because I don’t want to add clutter to the world.
And then I saw a tweet about some Quentin Tarantino hate and I clicked. It was a documentary about The New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles called Out of Print. I clicked through, and it turns out the director of Out of Print, Julia Marchese was fired from the New Beverly because she wouldn’t sign a form and legally promise not to say mean things about Quentin. She didn’t have any mean things to say; she just likes her freedom of speech.
It had my attention. I’m all for helping the underdog (this is mildly ironic if you’ve read last week’s review of Print the Legend).
Marchese hoped to screen Out of Print at the New Beverly Cinema. As I’m typing this, I googled the name of the place to see if it was The New Beverly Cinema or The New Beverly Theater. It’s actually the New Beverly Cinema. And, this story, about the Tarantino hate, made it to www.deadline.com, which is basically the gossip version of Variety. So, it’s gotten a lot of press today.
What really made me curious is when Marchese, rather than giving up in frustration at being fired, chose to post Out of Print for free on Vimeo.
What made it even stranger was that it was posted on John T Woods’s account at Vimeo. Woods starred in Down and Dangerous, which was made my my acquaintance Zak Forsman. I ran the camera for a short film with John T. Woods and Marion Kerr for another acquaintance Nathan Cole. And then the connection became clear. Kerr features prominently in Out of Print. Kerr knows Woods, so it’s likely that Marchese knows Woods.
It’s the smallness of Hollywood. Everyone knows everyone, so be a good person because word spreads. Fast.
There’s a lot of talk about how movies that reach broad audiences are being made by studios and what indie filmmakers (filmmakers who are not wholly-owned-subsidiaries of studios), like myself, ought to do is make specific niche movies that target equally specific audiences. I watched Out of Print. It’s the archetypical niche movie, or would have been had it not been for the Tarantino-hate that made news.
Out of Print is about the New Beverly Cinema. It’s about a theater and the struggle of keeping the love of cinema and film as a medium alive. It’s incredibly well made and has a great sense of itself. It has limitations due to the specificity of the subject matter, but rather than fighting those limitations, it embraces them.
The New Beverly Cinema is a part of what’s being called Revival Houses. No, not pentecostal, as you’d see in The Apostle. It’s about keeping the love movies alive. It’s about keeping that love that is embodied in a movie theater that shows movies on film… content that’s curated to highlight elements that are thought to be important by the curator.
I like that. It makes me feel good. I don’t live in L.A. and that has cost me in my ability to network with other filmmakers and the community. Living in Orange County also means I can’t go to the New Beverly Cinema, and now I want to. I want to go and have movies curated. It’s really laking in the torrent of movies I have access to. I would pay the $8.00 box office fee to have that.
I don’t care about the digital vs. film argument. For me, digital made my movie ALGORITHM possible. So, I like digital. But, I’ve got an idea for a movie and for some reason, the shooting it on 16mm keeps sticking in my head. I’ll probably shoot it digital. I don’t know.
Out of Print is good. It exposes us to new ideas, or at the very least, old ideas that we may not have heard, or that we may need to hear again. It’s made by someone on the inside of the argument. And, if you watch through the credits, you’ll see that despite the fact that Marchese cares deeply about the subject, she doesn’t take it too seriously.
P.S. It’s clear from the article that it’s not Quentin Tarantino who is the problem. Tarantino bought the building and the business that is the New Beverly Cinema and is the primary driving force keeping it alive. Instead, the hate seems to be focused at one of his helpers who is actually running the day-to-day activities of the New Beverly Cinema. Things like the aforementioned no-say-hate contract, security cameras, etc. Most people, including I suspect Marchese, think Tarantino’s ownership of the New Beverly Cinema is a very, very good thing. He’s got a deep love for movie theaters and film and deep pockets to fight for it.