Eighteen years ago, I got a call from my manager, the suspiciously supportive Harriet Sternberg, with word that the Independent Film Channel was interested in letting me make some promotional spots for the channel. I was an IFC viewer, and a believer in the notion that not all films are created colossal. I’d done my share of lower-budgeted flicks and found the guerrilla mindset kind of thrilling, and I’d long admired resourceful filmmakers who can pull great work out of seemingly thin air. So I said “sure”. I think that’s a direct quote.
I wrote the five spots over couple of weeks, using as a satirical model the brilliant Ken Burns mega-docs on the civil war, baseball, the National parks, etc. The scripts were approved and I started calling my friends to see if they’d honor the Independent Spirit by working for free. Long story short, I have wonderful friends.
IFC has become something much different than it was back then. I make no judgment here: the landscape has changed enormously and keeping the brand (IFC, Sundance, et al) alive means selling commercial time and Law & Order. To be sure, there are ways to see Yojimbo, Bottle Rocket, or Laws of Gravity without commercial interruption, but the Independent Film Channel started life as such a venue.
The enclosed pieces were made (with love) to be shown in a few theaters and on IFC and associated cable channels. It’s been a while since they saw the light of day, and I’m glad to make them public once again. Thanks to my pals (and a few then-new friends!) for playing with us: Ed Begley, jr., Annette O’Toole, David Duchovny, Gina Gershon, Howard Hesseman, Eugene Levy, Parker Posey, Bijou Phillips, Donal Logue, Kyle Sullivan, Scott Lasky, and our once-in-a-lifetime band, T-Bone Burnett, Jack Black, Bela Fleck and Richard Greene. Shot by the brilliant Stephen Lighthill.
Sorry, one more comment. Each video was so perfect, and shame on those humans who don’t see that. I could watch this stuff all day!
Wow! This is great, thanks for taking the time to post these….and Bela Fleck is amazing.