Sunday, June 22, 2008

Forget it Jake, It's Provincetown

Well, on this eve of leaving Ptown, Darren and I wish to give our hearty thanks to the festival goers and organizers who made our stay so much damn fun. I saw a bunch of really great films, many of which will be coming to theaters later this year. Here are a few highlights:

1. American Teen - This is an unbelievable documentary that started out at Sundance this year and continues on its festival journey until it hits theaters via the now defunct Paramount Vantage. It's one of the better docs I've seen in a really long time. See it.

2. The Wackness - there's a lot of buzz about this film, which also started at Sundance this year and is due to hit theaters in July. I did enjoy the film and I particularly loved the performance of Ben Kingsley. However, given all the great word of mouth that came out of Sundance, I was expecting to like it more than I did.

3. Bigger, Faster, Stronger - This is another Magnolia release and is a truly lovely documentary. It surprised me in more ways than one. This one is out in theaters now so go go go out and see it!

4. Let the Right One In - One more Magnolia release for you all (I'm not baised at all, I swear!). This is a great Swedish film about a 12 year old vampire and a sweet romance she develops with another 12 year old. It's a great film.

5. Choke - This is a really good film written by the author of "Fight Club" and it stars Sam Rockwell. It's a darkly comic and superbly acted. Darren and I also had the pleasure of hanging out with the producer, Mike Ryan and one of the film's actors Gillian Jacobs (no relation!).

Fantastic! One more thing - Go out and see our very own Madison Davenport in "Kit Kittridge: An American Girl Story" in theaters now!!!

And finally, I leave you with a little video I took as Darren and I headed out on the train from NYC to Boston a few days ago. It feels like years (for those of you itching to get a peak out our now famous "Humboldt County" rolling papers, the video offers a quick view)....

video

PTown Pics

Hellooooo from Provincetown! Fascinating times. Both screenings went really well. We basically sold both of them out. The response was very good and people seemed to dig the film.

In other news, a 50 year old man bought me a drink. First time that's happened, to be sure.

Below some photographs of our journey so far.




Twice, Dgro and I took a pretty strenuous bike ride through the dunes. It's gorgeous. And they gave us the bikes for free. In this picture, I am tired.




Dgro and I moments before our first screening on Friday night.




Darren, Me, Daryl (director of the doc "Sex Positive"), and the ethereal Ashley (PTown resident) pose dramatically at the dunes.





Darren and Josephine (Director of the film "Bi The Way") head to the ocean after our bike ride.


Me looking dumb on the ferry from Boston to Provincetown.



Darren and Georgina (Director of the film "Older than America") on the ferry from Boston.





Welcome to PTown. Nuff said.



Yep.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Come on Down to P-Town...

LCLs--
Welcome to the Cape.

Danny and I are staying in a guest house in Provincetown, Mass., set for our first screening tonight at 730 PM at the Art House cinema right in the heart of P-Town. The pre-screening nerves are just now setting in. So far, we've had an incredible time on this east coast swing. And we're really just getting warmed up. A summary thus far...

---We arrived in New York Tuesday early evening, had dinner and drinks in the city and had each spent nearly $100 within 6 hours of our planes touching down. New York has a funny way of separating you from your money.

Interesting tidbit from our NYC night? We stumbled upon an open "garden" in the East Village and came across a Wiccan circle in the midst of a service honoring the coming full moon.

---Wednesday at noon it was off to Penn Station for the 12:03 train to Boston. Idiots that we are, we nearly missed that train, but fortunately, the good organizers of the Provincetown Film Festival (PFF) helped us out over the phone and got us on our train.

Interesting tidbit from the train? The train has a first class car, a cafe car and a business class car. Convinced that we must be on a coach car and not a business class car, Danny and I kept walking all the way to the front of the train in search of said coach car before we finally discovered that it does not exist. Little people like us go in the business class car. AND the Cuban sandwich from the cafe car was awesome. AND the Northeast is absolutely gorgeous, and must be seen by train.

---Arriving in Boston at 3:45 the day after the Celtics won the championship, I expected to see a city in ruins, but everything looked pretty normal. We waited around (at the lovely Seaport hotel) for the 5:30 Ferry to Provincetown, and 1.5 hours later, we arrived at this lovely town.

Interesting tidbit about P-Town? Several things. First of all, Provincetown looks like the city of Amity from Jaws. Amity, as you know, means friendship (sorry, couldn't resist quoting a line from the film). Perhaps because that film was set in Cape Cod and I've never been to the Cape, I was pretty taken by a sudden fear of shark attack. And I've been searching for a crotchety old fisherman who bears a striking resemblence to Robert Shaw, but so far I haven't found him.

The other essential fact to know about Provincetown is that it is, without a doubt, the gayest place I have ever seen. And I mean that in the best way!!

When we arrived and got our "swag bags" (the term for the bag of goodies every filmmaker gets at a film fest), the good people of the PFF generously gave Danny and I a gift certificate to a local bar which, we were told, is the ONLY straight bar in town. In this town, straight people are the extreme minority. And there's definitely an awareness and a sense of humor about it all: many of the store names are quite humorous. Favorite example so far: right on the main street is a branch of Seamen's bank. You gotta love Provincetown.

So it's a pretty incredible place, and one that everyone should visit and support if you ever get the chance. I'd recommend coming during the film festival, because the streets are packed and, of course, there are a ton of great movies to see. Come this weekend and see Humboldt County!

---Lastly, our experience of the fest so far. We've actually gotten to see movies here (Bigger, Strong, Faster* and Encounters at the end of the World, two incredible docs, with the former being released by Magnolia), and we've taken a 13 mile bike trail along the beach and through the sand dunes. Some of the hills nearly destroyed us, but it was an incredible ride and workout.

We've also had the good pleasure of reconnecting with some fellow filmmakers from SXSW, including Josephine Decker of the awesome doc Bi the Way, Daryl Wein of the doc I plan to see Sex Positive, and Georgina Lightning from the fascinating Older than America. We've met other great filmmakers in our few days here already. We're learning that the "festival circuit" leads to much bonding among filmmakers.

That's all for now -- we'll try to post more often so we can be less wordy in the coming days.

-Darren&Danny

Saturday, June 14, 2008

I'm Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs!

Well, while Dgro is off in The Lou handling some wedding plans, I'm holding down the fort here in LA, handling a few miscellaneous items and trying to get some work done. Also, Captain Deadpan is in the middle of Pennsylvania producing some feature starring only octogenarians. So I'm all by my lonesome here in LA and it kind of feels like the parents are away for the weekend. I'm gonna have a kegger and eat Cocoa Puffs for dinner every night.

Things have started to sink in a bit regarding the Magnolia deal and it feels awesome.

Last week, I went over to Ed the Editor's house and took a look at a few of the scenes we might include in the "deleted scene" section of the DVD. It had been a long time since I had seen some of the scenes and I was surprised at how much I enjoyed them. I stand by our decision to remove them from the finished film, but for the most part they are interesting and well done.

Also, I've been interested in reading about the vast changes currently underway in the independent film arena. A few weeks ago the independent production wings of Warner Brothers were shut down and recently we've learned of the closing of Paramount Vantage, that studio's independent wing. Those developments, coupled with our country's recent economic woes, makes me feel more blessed than ever that "Humboldt County" actually got a deal that will put it in theaters. It's really one of the biggest, most pleasant surprises in recent memory.

Finally, we're hard at work trying to put together some promos for HC that will play on video on demand. You may have seen them for other movies - basically, the star of the film comes on and says "I love this film, this is why I did it and this is why you should click to watch it right now." Most of the promos are pretty boring and worse, they take themselves ridiculously seriously. So, we convinced Magnolia to let us have a little more control over their creation. I don't know why, but they're letting us do it. It kind of feels like they let the inmates have the keys to the asylum, and let me tell you, that's a completely cool philosophy if you're one of the inmates.

So in addition to working out the script for these promos, we reconnected with some of HC's lead actors last week to ask them about their availability. And of course, that meant calling the one and only Peter Bogdanovich (the kids are calling him "PBogs" and we recommend you do the same). Even though we have now spent a great deal of time with Pbogs, gotten to know him, and him us, we're still very nervous every time we contact him. Maybe it's because he's one of the greatest living film directors of all time. But that's just a guess. It could be that ascot he loves to wear. Regardless, we called him up last week and, as always, he was gracious, kind and generous. It was quite remarkable for Darren and I to hear him say "You did it guys. You should be proud." After we hung up the phone, we were just giddy for about ten minutes. He likes us. He really likes us.

I leave on Tuesday for the East Coast where we'll be presenting Humboldt at the Provincetown fest in Mass. I'm really looking forward to it. If any of you are in the hood, come say hi.

Peace,
d

Friday, June 13, 2008

Official Press Release

Hey LCLs,

The official press release came out yesterday and I thought you all might be interested in seeing it. So I've included it below. FYI, there was also a write-up about the sale in Variety but it got certain elements of the release incorrect. As a reminder, the film is opening in theaters in San Fran, Seattle, Portland, Chicago and Austin. Press Release below. Happy Friday! d

P.S. Check out our lead, Jeremy Strong in theaters TODAY in the blockbuster, "The Happening"!

Magnolia Pictures smokes out HUMBOLDT COUNTY

NEW YORK – June 12, 2008 – Magnolia Pictures announced today the acquisition of U.S. rights to SXSW favorite HUMBOLDT COUNTY, co-written and co-directed by Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs. A classic fish out of (bong) water story, HUMBOLDT COUNTY tracks the progress of Peter (Jeremy Strong), a tightly-wound medical student, whose one-night stand with free-spirited Bogart (Fairuza Balk) leaves him stranded among a community of Northern California pot-growers living a decidedly different way of life. The cast includes Peter Bogdanovich, Frances Conroy, Brad Dourif, and Chris Messina.

“HUMBOLDT COUNTY has the sweet whiff of a populist hit. It’s a comedic, out-of-the-box drama that we think will speak to a large, underserved segment of the audience,” said Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles.

Magnolia plans a September theatrical rollout beginning in several regional markets preceded by exclusive airings via HDNet’s Ultra VOD program. Magnolia Pictures and HDNet are both part of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban.

The deal was negotiated by Magnolia Pictures Senior Vice President, Tom Quinn and Head of Business Affairs, Jason Janego with David Garber of Lantern Lane representing the filmmakers. HUMBOLDT COUNTY was produced by Jason Weiss.

"We are incredibly thrilled that this picture -- a personal project that began with nothing more than two unshowered writers, one second-hand computer and an unhealthy amount of diet cola -- will soon be accessible to film audiences around the country. Working with a company like Magnolia Pictures, whose instincts on both a creative and business level are so impeccable, is a better outcome than we could have ever imagined. Other than living in a castle made of cookies, that is,” added co-writer/directors Darren Grodsky and Danny Jacobs.

Lantern Lane Entertainment is a full service marketing, distribution and consulting entertainment company. We offer complete solutions for entertainment properties in the United States and throughout the world. The company has been conceived to offer strategic planning, sales, marketing and consulting for all genres of films and television programs. We offer hands-on service and implementation of strategic plans, sales and marketing to production companies and individual producers.

Magnolia Pictures (www.magpictures.com) is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of the Wagner/Cuban Companies, a vertically integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that also include the Landmark Theatres chain, the production company 2929 Productions, and high definition cable networks HDNet and HDNet Movies.

Friday, June 6, 2008

"Humboldt County" to play in Humboldt County

Hey LCLs,

So we'll be releasing more and more details about the upcoming release of the film in the coming days/weeks/months but I wanted to put something out there that I know many of you have been wondering for some time:

When will "Humboldt County" be available in Humboldt County?

We now have an answer. The film will be playing as part of the WildRivers 101 Film Festival in late August. No more deets are available yet, but rest assured, HC locals, you will get to see the film.

That's it for now.
d

Thursday, June 5, 2008

THE STORM HAS ARRIVED

LCLs, supporters, weird Internet staulkers:

WE SOLD "HUMBOLDT COUNTY."

We've been holding onto the news until it was official and the deal was signed and the contracts were printed - and now it is.

"HUMBOLDT COUNTY" WILL BE COMING TO THEATERS THIS FALL!!!!!!!!!!

We're so excited we can hardly contain ourselves. Magnolia Pictures bought the film and will release it in September.

Sorry we have been so cagey over the last month or so. Remember that blog post about going to New York for a "meeting"? That was to meet the Magnolia people face to face and figure out if it was a company we could see ourselves working with. They bought us lunch, so the answer was "yes" (Us Jews are suckers for a free lunch).

So...tell your family, tell your friends, tell your enemies to go go go to the theater to see the movie opening weekend.

And as far as opening weekend goes we will be opening in:

San Francisco
Seattle
Portland
Chicago
Austin

Where we go from there will depend on how the film does in those five markets. So, let's harness the power of the LCLs and unleash "Humboldt County" upon the world.

We also wanted to take this moment to say thanks to all of you who have supported the film and to let you know that though one journey has just ended, we are about to embark on another one...to fill those theaters!!!!!!!

Peace, love, and Humboldt
Danny & Darren

P.S. For all of you LCLs living in and around the actual Humboldt County: Stay tuned, as there may also be news soon of a screening even closer to you than SF and even sooner than our theatrical release.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

The Calm Before the Storm...

LCLs:

Things have been a bit slow lately over here on the Humboldt County director's blog. Never fear, this bit o' down time has merely been a chance for us to charge our batteries and gear up for what is to come.

Much like the presidential candidates post-primaries, we're regrouping after the spring of SXSW and preparing for what's coming up next -- and believe me, fall 2008 is going to make spring look like an 8th grade mixer.

I'm not totally sure what that analogy means either, LCLs, but I think it means BIG news is coming, and we're dying to share it with you (can't quite do it yet, but do stay tuned...)

In the meantime, a huge and hearty congratulations to our esteemed and brilliant composer iZLER, who just today received word that he is one of six composers to be invited to this year's Film Composer's Lab over at Sundance!

iZLER's work is one of a thousand reasons we can't wait to share our film with all you LCLs on the big screen. Not that I'm saying that's going to happen. Later this year.

-Darren