Nearly three years ago, I started this blog in large part to serve as a filmmaking diary as I was about to start work on my second feature. It has, over time, morphed into something else entirely, which is all for the good. But occasionally we return to the original intent and purpose and today is one of those days.
There are many, many stages of getting your film out there, to a strangely inverse corollary of your own level of excitement or nervousness vs. the number of people who actually see the film. There's that first screening, where tens or hundreds or, in the right festival or venue, a thousand people see your film, and your emotion is running high. But as time goes on and you're at your fourth, fifth, sixth festival, the level of anticipation is obviously diminished, even as another hundred people here, another hundred there, sit in the dark to watch your film.
Same goes with a theatrical release, if you're lucky enough to get one. It's not quite the same sense of wonder - after all, now it actually starts to matter whether or not anyone shows up - but you're potentially reaching a larger audience and getting more press.
Today is my third signpost on the journey to endless runs on the Sundance Channel, the release of the DVD of KURT COBAIN ABOUT A SON. It's not been a smooth journey, I will say quite frankly, and there were days when I started to wonder if there'd ever be a DVD release, and if there was one, whether I'd write anything about it here. But ultimately, I'm proud and happy that all the folks who have written me asking why the film didn't come to theatres in Florida or Texas or Iowa or wherever, can now get the film from Netflix or Amazon or whatever outlet they choose. (PS - If a film doesn't come to your town or state, it's not because filmmakers or distributors are snobs, it's because your local art house won't book it - and that includes the vaunted Landmark chain.)
So, here's to the release of a project that means the world to me. And here's a bit from Sunday's LA Times article by Sheri Linden on the DVD release:
CAN a documentary filmmaker paint a portrait of a rock star without using his subject's image or songs? Avoiding every convention of the form -- including such basics as performance footage -- AJ Schnack has done just that in "Kurt Cobain: About a Son," coming to DVD on Tuesday, the day before the late Nirvana frontman would have turned 41. In the process, he's created a work of startling intimacy...
Schnack was drawn to (Charles) Peterson's photographs because they're often "more about movement and light than portraiture." Taking a similar tack, he constructs an indelible biographical document that's as personal as it is oblique...
The film's visceral charge and poignancy rest upon its pairing of presence and absence. Cobain is unseen but fully felt -- much like any important artist who dies young."
From Michael Corcoran at the Austin American-Statesman:
"He was a father, a husband and a son who never really got over his parents' divorce. And yet most people know Kurt Cobain only as a heroin-addicted rock star who took his own life in April 1994, just three years after his band Nirvana raked arena-rock hair bands right back into the strip-mall rock boxes where they belonged. "Kurt Cobain: About a Son," a haunting and haunted film just out on DVD, does the implausible, showing the self-martyred "voice of a generation" as a human being."
Thanks to lots of folks, starting with my closest collaborators - Shirley, Wyatt, Charles, Steve, Ben, Linda, Dave and Wade - and also to Jared, Connie and Greg for helping to make our theatrical release possible. And thanks to the folks at Shout! Factory for their hard work and for getting the film out to lots of people.
Also, thanks to everyone at Barsuk, who have bent over backwards to support this film in ways that are just staggering to me. They did an amazing job with the soundtrack and now, today, they are releasing, via iTunes and other digital services, Steve Fisk and Ben Gibbard's original score to the film. I'm so proud of the work that Ben and Steve did, that I couldn't be happier that it's getting its own release. There will be a vinyl version available soon as well.