BREAKING: IFC has acquired rights to The Canyons, the Paul Schrader-directed film that pairs Lindsay Lohan and porn star James Deen in a drama about decadence and debauchery in Los Angeles. The film has gotten a lot of attention lately, including a very public rejection by the SXSW festival, which prompted an angry response on Deadline from Schrader over the festival’s lack of discretion. The challenges of making the film with its high-maintenance star Lohan was also the subject of a New York Times article.
Related: Paul Schrader Cuffs SXSW Organizers For Rejecting And Trashing ‘The Canyons’
At the time Schrader was sounding off on SXSW, the film’s reps at WME Global were already fielding offers for the movie, and so it did not need a festival to build the kind of awareness needed to make a sale these days. If anything, a provocative sexy film with Lohan at this point needed, in Schrader’s opinion, a quick path to the release to capitalize on all of the attendant publicity. And a company that could release on a multi-platform was a must. The film cost $90,000, with another $170,000 raised free and clear on Kickstarter, and another $200,000 in actor deferments. The rest goes to the principals of the film, which include Lohan, Schrader and producer Braxton Pope.
Here’s the official word:
IFC Films announced today that the company is acquiring North American rights to director Paul Schrader’s neo-noir thriller THE CANYONS. The modern-day Los Angeles-set film stars Lindsay Lohan and adult film star James Deen. Producer Braxton Pope led the DIY film’s extensive new media strategies which included crowdfunding and online casting. THE CANYONS has been described by Schrader as “cinema for the post-theatrical era.”
The film will premiere day-and-date and on digital platforms in early summer in conjunction with a Special Presentation at the Film Society of Lincoln Center where The Canyons will be screened and followed by a conversation with Schrader and Kent Jones, Director of Programming of the New York Film Festival. Schrader presented a Master Class on crowdsourcing and DIY production at last year’s New York Film Festival and will return to expand upon the process of making the film in a post-screening discussion.
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EXCLUSIVE: If a film festival not only rejects your film but publicly declares there is “an ugliness and a deadness to it,” and it’s not about zombies, well them’s fighting words. After all, filmmakers submit to festivals dreaming of raves, publicity and distribution deals. Paul Schrader‘s latest film The Canyons is not a zombie film, and he is more than a little pissed that an unnamed SXSW “insider” trashed the Lindsay Lohan-starrer to Hollywood Reporter, which attributed the rejection to “quality issues.”
So forgive the heralded Taxi Driver scribe if he goes a little Travis Bickle on SXSW and its director, Janet Pierson.
“This was outrageous,” Schrader tells me. “Confidentiality is sacrosanct in the festival submission process and this was amateur hour. I’ve been around it a long time and you cannot get responsible people to even say they saw the film, if it isn’t in the festival. We received a private apology, but I didn’t get a public one. The first excuse that came from Janet Pierson was really lame, basically saying, we didn’t do it. It was Nixonian in nature. In the second go-around, she said, well, it was done, but it will never happen again. The irony is, it came in an article about the SXSW schedule, and the headline is about the film that isn’t in the festival.”
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