Good questions

[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The View Askew WWWBoard ] [ FAQ ]

Posted by Vincent at on May 08, 2001 at 14:58:09:

In Reply to: Another question... posted by Schroedingers Cat on May 08, 2001 at 14:17:15:

: My question (finally) is this: What kind of reactions did you get from non-VA fans when showing the movie at film fests ? Why wasn't the movie picked up for theatrical release by anyone ?

It's always gotten a great reaction. Bob Hawk, the guy who "discovered" CLERKS at the IFFM, has been a supporter for quite a while now, and he's a damn hard cat to please. At the Fantasia Film Festival in Montreal, my Q&A went way over schedule and the theater actually shut us down, and my Q&As are tradionally quite lengthy- usually, this is a sign that the film went over well with the crowd. I could throw some quotes at you from various fests- from Stephen Gallagher at the Hamptons- "I've seen hundreds of indie films this year, and A BETTER PLACE jumps right out of the pack. It's a bracing, disturbing film with an underlying humanity that makes the ending, in particular, quite poignant." From Mitch Davis at Fantasia- "There's a very good reason A BETTER PLACE continues to get festival dates across America after two years- it speaks a truth that the mmore expensive, mainstream U.S. films wouldn't touch with a ten-foot body bag... Sharply written, with stellar performances by the leads, A BETTER PLACE deals frankly with the dark side of the U.S. teenage experience. That may be why the film, despite it's success on the festival circuit, has yet to find a U.S. distributor." From Fangoria Magazine- "A BETTER PLACE has been lauded at Festivals. Not only is it disturbing without being exploitative, it's a more complex and compelling study of suburban teenage alientation than the Jersey-themed WELCOME TO THE DOLLHOUSE. But in the wake of Columbine and other tragedies, a film about a troubled youth who resorts to firearm violence is a tough sell..." You also check the review from IN PITTSBURGH that is linked on the A BETTER PLACE home-page at

The above pretty much answers all of your questions- the film has been extremely well-recieved even by non-View Askew fans, and beyond that even if the fans on this board are more inclined to like the film simply BECAUSE it's a View skew production, that doesn't explain A BETTER PACE outranking all the other films that played at Vulgarthon in NewsAskew's poll by quite a substantial margin. Unfortunately, it is a dark film- well, it's not unfortunate that it's dark, it's unfortunate that distributors are leery of releasing a dark film about teenage violence in light of the recent wave of school shootings. When I shot the film in the summer of 1995, none of these had occured yet- the first of the "school shootings" happened in 1997, right about when I was starting to hit the festival circuit. That didn't help our cause (look at the trouble it caused O, which Miramax refused to release and have sold to Lion's Gate). Plus there are other factors- A BETTER PLACE was featured as the "hot" film to watch in FILMMAKER magazine's article about the 1997 Independent Feature Film Market where it was refered to as an "edge teen thriller"- unfortunately, I was very naive about selling myself and my film at that market, and had ZERO support. I think Kevin and Scott learned a lesson themselves after DRAWING FLIES and A BETTER PLACE- these films needed support and a push. I was the experimental "little" film for View Askew, and View Askew learned as many lessons as I did and applied then when it came to VULGAR hitting the fest circuit. So, Kevin, Scott, and everybody treked out to Toronto, threw a party, and actively promoted the film, and it got sold. It also helped that View Askew had a relationship with Lion's Gate thanks to DOGMA. Scott Mosier actually asked me some months ago if it bothered me that View Askew has more experience and connections now than they did back then- I don't know that it does. God knows, I wish A BETTER PLACE had gotten theatrical distribution, but it's not worth dwelling on now. What matters is the final film, and it's a film I'm feircely proud of and that I enjoy watching. I've seen some relentlessly lousy indie films get distribution and some really good ones go unseen in theaters, and I think if quality was the defining factor A BETTER PLACE *SHOULD* have been released to theaters, but it doesn't work that way. Had it been more aggressively promoted way-back-when, maybe things would be different regardless of the school shootings, but we'll never know, and I'm just glad it's coming out.

The upshot is that we still own the film, so let's say my career suddenly takes off and I become an "A"-list director. Then, the film could suddenly become quite a profitiable little investment for View Askew as indie theaters might want to book "Vincent Pereira's first film". Unlike Stanley Kubrick, who suppressed his debut film FEAR & DESIRE, I love A BETTER PLACE and will always support it's being shown.


Follow Ups:

Post a Followup




Optional Link URL:
Link Title:
Optional Image URL:


[ Follow Ups ] [ Post Followup ] [ The View Askew WWWBoard ] [ FAQ ]