Producer Christine O’Malley’s doc about National Film Registry, which premieres at Sundance and on VOD, is the result of some tough industry lessons and hard realities
Producer Christine O’Malley is about to have quite the audience starting Saturday … an audience of millions actually.
“These Amazing Shadows,” her documentary about the National Film Registry, premieres this weekend at the Sundance Film Festival. At the same time it is screening in Park City, the film will also simultaneously be able to seen by 40 million households nationwide to watch via VOD.
One of five films chosen for this year’s “Direct from the Sundance Film Festival” initiative, “These Amazing Shadows” is truly a film for film aficionados. Just ask “Dark Knight Returns” and “Inception” director Christopher Nolan or Pixar’s John Lasseter, (pictured right in the film) who join John Waters, Rob Reiner, John Singleton and others inmaking a strong on-camera case for the importance of film preservation in America in the Paul Mariano and Kurt Norton directed movie.
A Sundance veteran, with “Wordplay” the buzz documentary of 2006 that The Weinstein Company picked up, L.A.-based O’Malley is all about the layers – figuratively and literally, lots of layers.
TheWrap – First off the bat, what advice would you give to Sundance newcomer?
Christine O’Malley - Dress warm. Leave plenty of time for the shuttle rides. Dress warm. Pace yourself, there’s a Stella around every corner. And, if you haven’t heard me the first two times – dress warm.
TheWrap – Now that we have our snow coats on, what is the difference for you bringing “These Amazing Shadows” to Park City than when you brought “Wordplay” four years ago?
CM – When Patrick (O’Malley’s husband, producer Patrick Creadon) and I brought “Wordplay” to Sundance in 2006, we had no idea what to expect. Neither of us has ever been to the festival so the whole thing was brand new to us. We were lucky enough to be invited back with ”I.O.U.S.A.” in 2008. This year, with “These Amazing Shadows,” I feel much calmer and relaxed going up to Park City. Just knowing how to prepare and what to expect makes the process much more manageable. Not that it is any less exciting, just less terrifying.
TheWrap - What, in your opinion, are the realities of documentary film today?
CM - The reality is that because of the advances in technology, with equipment that is so portable, affordable and user-friendly, there are all sorts of new independent distribution avenues to pursue.
The flip side of that is that the market is sort of flooded with product. It is not easy to get financing for a feature length documentary. Competition at the top festivals and markets is fierce and I think it is hard to make a living strictly making docs.
TheWrap – In that evolving and tightening environment, what’s been your strategy in bringing “These Amazing Shadows” to Sundance?
CM – Well, one thing that I have observed over the past few years is that there is no one release strategy that works for every doc. As the distribution world continues to evolve, there are new and interesting ways to help each film find its audience.
In the case of “These Amazing Shadows,” we knew early on that this was a film that would appeal to movie-lovers of all ages. We are thrilled to have been included in this year’s Sundance Selects because we feel that there is a broad audience for this film and that it may enjoy a long life across various platforms. This partnership between The Sundance Institute, the Sundance Film Festival and IFC Films offers an incredible opportunity for movies such as ours. We get to premiere the film at Sundance and enjoy all the opportunities that the festival offers and we are able to make the movie available to approximately 40 million homes on most major cable systems. It’s a win-win situation.
TheWrap – Got any advice for other Sundance veterans?
CM - No advice for veterans. Just happy to be one.
“These Amazing Shadows” screens in Park City at Sundance onJan. 22 at 3 pm at the Redstone Cinemas 8; Jan. 23 at 6 pm at the Yarrow Hotel Theater and on Jan. 29 at 10 pm at the Holiday Village Cinema I. On Jan. 28 at 9:45 pm, the film will be shown at the Broadway Centre Cinemas V in Salt Lake City.
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