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Cannes: Final River Phoenix Pic ‘Dark Blood’ Finally Gets U.S. Release

DarkBloodLionsgate has taken North American rights to the last film starring River Phoenix. Existential Western Dark Blood was originally shot in 1993 but had lingered in a rights quagmire from which director and co-writer George Sluizer had been trying to extricate the pic. Apparently that has been done, and Lionsgate is planning a VOD release after it screened in 2013 at the Berlin Film Festival and has made the fest rounds since then. Cinemavault sold the pic at Cannes.

dark bloodThe film has a storied history. About 80% of it was shot before Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside the Viper Room in West Hollywood. At the time, the unfinished product reverted to the film’s insurance company before Sluizer recovered it and sequestered it away. In Berlin, he explained that in 1999 he learned the footage was going to be destroyed and within two days was able to save it and take it back to Holland. Sluizer said the material “laid in my care for many years waiting for something to happen with it. I was making other films at the time and it was safe.” But when he learned he had a life-threatening aneurism in 2007, he decided, “Before I die I want to put Dark Blood together as best I can.” For the scenes that were not completed at the time of Phoenix’s death, Sluizer provides his own voice-over. Read More »

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Berlin: River Phoenix’s ‘Dark Blood’ Screens; Will It Ever Get A Theatrical Release?

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 1:06pm PST

The last film that River Phoenix ever made, Dark Blood, screened today out of competition at the Berlin Film Festival. The existential Western, originally shot in 1993 but uncompleted at the time of Phoenix’s death in October that year, is still tangled up in a rights conundrum, but sources close to the project believe it will eventually see a commercial release.

The film has a storied history. About 80% of it was shot before Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside the Viper Room in West Hollywood. At the time, the unfinished product reverted to the film’s insurance company before director George Sluizer (The Vanishing) recovered it and sequestered it away. At a press conference in Berlin today, Sluizer explained that in 1999 he learned the footage was going to be destroyed and within two days was able to save it and take it back to Holland. Sluizer said the material “laid in my care for many years waiting for something to happen with it. I was making other films at the time and it was safe.” But when he learned he had a life-threatening aneurism in 2007, he decided, “Before I die I want to put Dark Blood together as best I can.” For the scenes that were not completed at the time of Phoenix’s death, Sluizer provides his own voice-over. Read More »

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Berlin Film Festival Completes Official Roster, Adds River Phoenix Film ‘Dark Blood’

The Berlin Film Festival has rounded out the official lineup, with 24 films in the program. Of those, 19 will compete for Golden and Silver Bears. Titles added to the previously announced films include the late River Phoenix’s last film, Dark Blood, and Richard Linklater’s Before Midnight, both screening out of competition, and David Gordon Greene’s Prince Avalanche in competition. Prince Avalanche and Before Midnight are premiering in Sundance. Berlin runs from February 7-17. The full list of additions is below:

Before Midnight
USA/Greece
By Richard Linklater
With Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
International Premiere / out of competition

Dark Blood
The Netherlands
By George Sluizer
With River Phoenix († 1993), Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce, Karen Black
International Premiere / out of competition Read More »

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