What's next for you?
I'm making a documentary at the moment on the same subject. Right before "All Good Things" came out, I was contacted by Robert Durst. So I've been working very hard on another film that addresses those same issues. I know they've already expressed a lot of hostility toward the film and threatened people who agreed to participate, so I have no doubt that will continue.
With "Capturing the Friedmans" streaming on SnagFilms and "All Good Things" doing such great business on VOD, do you feel comfortable with alternative distribution methods?
"So far, everything I've worked on has been deeply connected to reality. I'm not constitutionally opposed to working on something completely fictional, either."
We had an interesting release strategy with "All Good Things" because we were essentially day-and-date. We had a really big opening weekend but were still able to benefit from the very wide audience that was interested in that film. We actually found out after the fact that it was the number-one VOD movie in 2011. That was an example of a movie that obviously interested people, they told their friends about it, and there's something great about lowering the bar in terms of the hassle you put people through to see your movie. So of course I love the idea that the movie was going to premiere in theaters, but at the same time it was very powerful to be able to share these movies in a way that lets everybody access them.
In my past life, I started Moviefone. One of the reasons that I was drawn to do that was because it was just incredibly annoying to go see a movie when it should be the simplest thing in the world. I lived in New York and it was really difficult to figure out the showtimes for a movie playing down the street. The phone was always busy and once you got through you found out it was sold out. I was driven very early on by the idea that that ought to be easier. I have the iPad 3 now. I was in India last week visiting my son. We came back and my wife wanted to watch "Ghandi." I went through giant big-screen television and every conceivable platform, including Netflix. I couldn't find it. Then I clicked on my iPad and put my speaker next to it, and it was just super-high definition resolution and I watched this Attenborough classic big screen movie on my iPad 3.
So you started Moviefone, made a popular documentary, then made a narrative feature. Now you're working on a documentary again. How do you identify yourself professionally? Are you mainly a documentarian or…?
It entirely has to do with the subject matter. As I've learned, even with the film I'm working on right, you can start out with a film that's a narrative feature and something about that film unlocks a door to a documentary. I've seen it happen the other way before, too. That reminds me that I can't predict where the next thing is going to come from. So far, everything I've worked on has been deeply connected to reality. I'm not constitutionally opposed to working on something completely fictional, either. It just happens that a lot of these stories have crossed my path in a way that makes them intriguing, but I'm up for anything that's intellectually engaging. I think I'm a filmmaker. I don't know exactly what kind. I'm still figuring that out.
Watch "Capturing the Friedmans" below: