Debut in Theaters Today
by Eugene Hernandez
Following the digital filmmaking panel at the 1998 IFFM, filmmakers Stefan
Avalos, Lance Weiler, and Bennett Miller joined a small group of us for a
casual lunch at Veselka in the East Village. As the meal progressed we
recapped the seminar and also talked about what a big day October 23rd
Today is D Day for two American movies that indieWIRE has been following --
in this case the "D" stands for digital. Bennett Miller's acclaimed
documentary "The Cruise" debuts today at the Angelika Film Center in New York, while
Stefan Avalos and Lance Weiler's "The Last Broadcast" is being distributed via
satellite tonight in five cities.
"The Last Broadcast" first came to our attention last summer when we
reported that it was made for the unbelievable price of just $900 -- shot
mostly on digital video and edited on home computer desktops. Described as
a "pseudo-documentary," the movie is an investigation into the murder of
two public access TV hosts (portrayed by Avalos and Weiler).
>> (Aug 01, 1997) Indie Makers Finish Film For Less Than The Price Of A
The film was projected digitally for one week in a Pennsylvania theater
this spring where it grossed over $5,000. For tonight's satellite debut
the filmmakers have teamed with producer Esther Robinson to bring the movie
to traditional film theaters in Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Providence,
Portland, and Orlando.
>> (Mar 18, 1998) Digital Film/Digital Projection in Pennsylvania
>> (Sep 23, 1998) Wavelength Teams with IFC for Historic "Broadcast"
In the case of Bennett Miller's documentary, the indieWIRE team jumped on
board "The Cruise" after seeing it at the 1998 LAIFF. Our Features Editor
Anthony Kaufman wrote, "When it screened at the LAIFF, indieWIRE staffers
were astounded. We did not know, as New Yorkers
sharing in a similarly exhilarating and isolating experience in our
(un)fair city, if we were the only ones struck by Bennett Miller's witty
and profound portrait of Timothy "Speed" Levitch, a Manhattan double decker
tour guide who cruises through life, thriving on chaos, and waxing
hilarious bits of history and philosophy to unsuspecting people from all
around the world." -- we have been tracking the film's journey to the big
screen ever since.
>> (Jun 03, 1998) Any Portrait is a Self-Portrait: Bennett Miller and Speed
Along the way we have witnessed the increasing interest in digital
filmmaking and Bennett graciously worked with us to present an overview of
the challenges he faced shooting the doc digitally and ultimately
transferring it to 35mm for its theatrical release -- the film was picked
up by Artisan and will be released in additional cities throughout the
fall. Today's New York Times calls "The Cruise" a "compelling documentary
film" adding, "Filmed in high-contrast black and white that makes the city
look harshly magnificent, at once irresistible and forbidding, 'The Cruise'
could be described as a whirlwind tour both of New York and of Levitch's
>> (Sep 22, 1998) A Digital Doc-Making Case Study, Bennett Miller's "The
Bennett Miller, Speed Levitch and "The Cruise" editor Michael Levine will
participate in tonight's episode of FILM BYTES at 7 p.m. EST.
For more information about these two movies, visit their respective websites:
>> The Cruise