“The number one fact of the new low-budget cinema is that it is no longer impossible to get your film financed, but it is impossible to get anybody to see it,” says The Canyons director Paul Schrader in a new, Canyons-kowtowing issue of Film Comment. Both Kent Jones and Larry Gross give it little pats on the back. Oh, yeah? Then why didn’t The Canyons get into Sundance or South by Southwest? Why did Steven Soderbergh offer to recut it for Schrader, and why did Scharder turn him down? What about the likely bedrock truth of the matter?
The problem, says Schrader, is that “there are 10,000 people doing the same thing you’re doing, right now. And which one of those 10,000 films is anybody going to see? 15,000 films get submitted to Sundance, 100 or so get shown, eight get picked up, and two make money. Those are the economics.
“But Bret [Easton Ellis] and I have some cachet. We were in with four different sub-groups of interested people: people who are interested in me, people who are interested in Bret, people who are interested in Lindsay Lohan, and people who are interested in James Deen. Lindsay has four million [Twitter] followers, and James has half a million. Bret has 250,000. I went to the casino, I put it all on red, and it came up red. We got lucky with this one. We got lucky with James, we got lucky with Lindsay. We got lucky with the noise factor. When you’re pitching a movie, that’s the question they ask: is it going to make noise? Are you going to hear this above the din of the avalanche of film productions?
“And if the idea has noise, then they are interested in it. And this idea had noise. Some of it by design, some of it by luck. That’s why I went to Bret, because if it was the two of us together it was going to make noise.”
The Canyons will have a special Film Society of Lincoln Center screening at the Walter Reade on 7.29.