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November 20, 2007


tricia regan/director - autism: the musical

PLEASE do not comment on my film until you have seen it. You say it "seems most made-for-basic-cable-reality-television" because Bunim-Murray is the production company. What you don't know is that the entire film was shot before they came on board, that we were totally bankrupt and would never have finished the film if they didn't come on board, that i had complete and utter creative control - yes, final cut too - and that they didn't even know it was a good film until they saw the standing ovation at its premiere in Tribeca.

And, although HBO did a "qualifying theatrical run" -- what you don't know is that the film sold out its engagements in all cities, and was extended for two weeks in San Francisco, and is now in it's second week in Boston. Without a shred of advertising dollars spent -- just on the strength of the word of mouth.

Also, please do your research -- Autism: The Musical also won the audience award at the Mill Valley Film Festival.

I really don't think it is helpful to knock the films that were short-listed. We are a small community and we need to support one another, and congratulate one another when we experience good fortune.

Respectfully -
Tricia Regan


I really appreciate your full breakdown - thanks a lot. But I also reacted a bit on the sentence about "Autism: The Musical" that Tricia Regan has commented about above. I'm only a bystander, but it seemed out of place to me.

And, it seems the sample review on "Taxi to the dark side" has been mixed with the sample review on "No end in sight".

As a comment to the shortlist, I've only seen the "Why democracy?"-length versions of those films, but I must say "Vote for me" was a magnificent piece of filmmaking, and I was pleasantly surprised to see it on this list.

AJ Schnack

Dear Tricia,

I'm assuming by your post that you don't remember meeting at Newport or, at the very least, do not remember our lengthy conversation about your film there, immediately following the screening where I viewed it. I remember it quite vividly.

You mention selling out theaters. That's great. Have you made your film available for reviews in these cities? Were you reviewed by critics from the Globe and the Herald and the Phoenix in Boston? Have you been reporting box office? This is what I mean when I talk about an actual theatrical release.

Additionally, I don't list every single award that a film wins. If I were to do that, War/Dance is due another 10 at the very least.

tricia regan

yes, AUTISM: THE MUSICAL has been made available to reviewers in all places it has screened, most have neglected to review it. however, the boston globe and the seattle times gave it full reviews (both gave it three and a half stars), and the chicago tribune gave it a mini-review (three stars). as for posting box-office, i'm not sure why that is so important to you, but either way that would be a question for laemle which handles the distribution.

as for "actual theatrical release" - as you know, distributors look for movies they think they will make money on - certainly a movie about a rock star is going to be more tempting to a distributor than one about a handful of autistic kids putting on a play. if only because it appeals more to young male viewers, which is what the industry chases. none of the distributors believed my movie would make money in theatres. they were wrong.

letting those who control the market place select which films are worthy of being honored seems to be something we all would want to avoid. especially since getting short-listed, or a nomination, often gives a second life to films like mine -- dark horses struggling under preconcieved notions and that deal with more subtle, perhaps even "female," themes. (if you consider parenting and the health and nurturing of kids a female issue)

i do remember meeting you AJ, but i don't remember a lengthy conversation. perhaps you can remind me.

best -- tricia

Hold my hand

I don't think we need to all support one another, Tricia... Why? There's plenty of room for conflict, disagreement, and dicussion. Not to pat AJ on the back, but he's speaking out about issues that many, many people are afraid to discuss out of fear. Documentary filmmaking is embedded with many forms of internal social controls that prevent honest discussions and contestations from happening in public spaces. He's asking questions based on legitimate reasons that enable transparency, not deter it.

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