Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Film is Cursed!

In 1996, I finished a film called "Anything Boys Can Do..." It is a 71-minute documentary exploring feminist issues in the women's underground music scene of NYC Lower East Side. During production we had the same problems most indie filmmakers have: cameras failing, audio that was unusable and, on one of the days we were shooting Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna took off her shirt during the set and told us to stop shooting. But these are all expected for no-budget films. The curse started shortly after production when two other films with similar themes came out. On the festival circuit we still did well, playing in over 50 and winning a few awards. The film was written up in TimeOut NY and Bust magazine and it had a small mention in the Sunday New York Times. This is back when films were still being distributed on VHS and we sold about 500; then Facets Multimedia added the film to its catalog and we started selling a few more each month. After that Chris Gore came along and wanted to distribute "Anything Boys Can Do.." through Film Threat. So we had to stop selling through Facets. Nothing happened for years. Finally we found out that, apparently, Film Threat had no money to distribute our film and it looks like its magazine may have closed too (although Film Threat now has some type of online presence). We got back the rights to our film and, again, nothing happened for years until Troma came along and sought to purchase the rights, except it forgot to sign the distribution contract. Again nothing happened for years. Once again we found out that the film distributor was low on money, at least when it came to distributing our film, and had done nothing, at all, to get our film out there. We reminded Troma that it forgot to sign the distribution contract and had no contract with us. So, once again, we re-asserted our rights to the film.

Last year we finished "This Is Berlin Not New York". This is a 70-minute documentary following 15 Antagonist artists who went to Berlin, did art in a gallery, put up art in the streets and, in the middle of the night, broke into an abandoned building, turning it into a large piece of art. This time we put the new film out ourselves and have sold more than 800 since October of last year. We were contacted by Emphasis Entertainment which took on the film (non-exclusive) and helped us with distribution, getting us listed everywhere including with Netflix. On October 20th of 2009, we will re-release a revised "Anything Boys Can Do..." along with "Mark of the Ninja", a 49-minute documentary on what it means to be an Antagonist artist. This short documentary won best documentary at the Evil City Film Fest and was showcased at the Anthology Film Archives during its new director series. Working on the new DVD, we've had plenty of problems. First the compression was off, the audio levels were too high or too low and the buttons went to the wrong menu. But now the DVD is ready and we hope the curse is over.

-Ethan MInsker


Noreen said...

Holy shit, nice saga. Can't wait for DVD. Oh, and happy birthday Ethan!

Anonymous said...


JAJAC said...

IT'S OVER! Let it shine!

James J