In the category of putting our money where our mouths are:
REVERSE SHOT ACQUIRES AWARD-WINNING DOCUMENTARY
A LION IN THE HOUSE.
New York, New York, May 9, 2006 – Online film journal Reverse Shot announced today its first foray into theatrical distribution with the acquisition of Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert’s critically acclaimed documentary A Lion in the House. The film saw its world premiere in the Documentary Competition at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival and has since gone on to share the Best Documentary Prize at the Nashville Film Festival and earn Special Jury Prizes at both the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival and the Cleveland International Film Festival and win the Audience Award at Hot Docs. It will see television broadcast on PBS’ Independent Lens in late June.
Offering a sense of scope and an unflinching humanity comparable to Hoop Dreams, A Lion in the House is a remarkable journey that provides an unprecedented look at the struggles with cancer of five young people and their families over a six-year period. Filmmakers Steven Bognar (Personal Belongings) and Julia Reichert (Seeing Red, Union Maids) bring audiences face to face with the uncertainty of the entire cancer experience and its rippling effects on family, community, and professional caregivers.
“My familial connection to the filmmakers aside, I think if 2006 sees the release of a better documentary than A Lion in the House then it will be a watershed year for the form. Though on paper the film may sound like rough viewing, watching it with an audience at Sundance was truly an illuminating and inspiring experience,” said Reverse Shot co-editor Jeff Reichert.
“We’ve long hoped and believed that this film would be a powerful theatrical experience. The response at Sundance and festivals around the country has validated that hope and we are very excited to be working with Reverse Shot to make this a reality. We are proud that the film works with such force as a collective movie-going experience and so are the families in the film, who have been traveling with us to festivals around the country,” said Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.
The deal was negotiated by Neal Block and Jeff Reichert of Reverse Shot with the filmmakers and Jan Rofekamp and Diana Holtzberg of Films Transit International, Inc. Films Transit is selling the film worldwide. A Lion in the House is a co-production of the filmmakers and ITVS, the Independent Television Service.
Reverse Shot has already scheduled engagements in ten markets including New York, Boston, San Francisco and Seattle with plans to add between 10 and 20 more before and after the June broadcast.
“We’re going to take our time, and really seek out ideal screening environments. Venues are interested in making each Lion showing a true event, and we’re excited by the initial response,” said Reverse Shot’s Head of Business Affairs, Neal Block.
“The reason we began Reverse Shot was to help bring audiences to just this kind of movie. To be able to start bringing this movie to audiences is merely an extension of that mission. Our main focus will be to continue fostering great writing, but when the opportunity arises, we’d like to be able to showcase great films as well,” said Reverse Shot co-editor Michael Koresky.
Reverse Shot (www.reverseshot.com) was founded in 2003 as an outlet for the next generation of film writers. Currently run by Block, Koresky, and Reichert, Reverse Shot, with a rotating cast of 30 writers, publishes new issues quarterly, handles weekly reviewing duties for indieWIRE, and maintains the popular ReverseBlog (blogs.indiewire.com/Reverseshot).
Julia Reichert is a two-time Academy Award Nominee for Best Feature Documentary, for Seeing Red and Union Maids. These films and two others, Growing Up Female and Methadone – An American Way of Dealing, all screened nationally in the U.S. on PBS. Reichert wrote, produced, and directed the feature film Emma & Elvis (which screened at numerous international film festivals), and produced (with Steven Bognar) The Dream Catcher, a feature film directed by Ed Radtke.
Steven Bognar’s first feature documentary Personal Belongings premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, and went on to screen in 27 other festivals, including IDFA, San Francisco, Gen Art, and Atlanta, where it won the audience award. Steven Bognar’s documentary short Picture Day also premiered at Sundance, screened at 19 other film festivals, including IDFA, DoubleTake and the British Short Film Festival. Gravel, his experimental narrative short, played many festivals after its Sundance premiere and can be seen on the Sundance Channel. Bognar has worked for 12 years as a media arts educator in schools, teaching media literacy to thousands of kids.