I’ve long thought that people give up too easily on older indie films that didn’t break into the big time on the first go-round. Usually, it’s the distributors that give up, (not to beat up on them, but because many older indie films that one has ever seen are locked up with distributors, not lying in the filmmaker’s closet), but sometimes it’s the filmmaker not being creative enough with their older titles. I understand this – people want to move on to the next project, so spending much time re-positioning an older film may not be worth the time. But when you have a little success that first go-round, you’re well positioned to tap back into that fan base, and bring in some new ones, and noting does that better than an event-based screening.
Which is why I’m so happy that Milt Thomas is planning a 10 year anniversary screening of his little masterpiece, Claire. A very smart event-based anniversary screening. See, Claire was always an event-based screening kind of film. Shot on a hand-cranked, Mitchell 35mm camera in Black and White, Claire was a silent film only shown with a live orchestral accompaniment. This made for quite the magisterial screening, but it was also quite expensive to pull off. In fact, one very famous, major film festival turned down the film solely for this reason, but the film premiered at the Frameline San Francisco LGBT Festival and went on to play multiple festivals and cities. One of these was recorded to make a DVD of the film, but the real way to see this film has always been live.
Now, Milt is putting together an anniversary screening on November 3, 2011 in Atlanta, GA and he’s holding a very tiny Kickstarter campaign that will pay for the venue rental and for the composer, Anne Richardson, to re-compose the film for a string quartet, which will allow the film to travel to other venues much more economically. This is a very smart idea, and I imagine Milt can get a fair amount of 10th Anniversary bookings. I’m planning to support him, and to travel back down to Atlanta to be there for this screening. I recommend you do the same – Atlanta is great in November, and this promises to be a great event. I hope to see you there!