Small Planet Hails "Rockets Redglare"
by Brian Brooks
Florida-based Small Planet Pictures has acquired North American rights to Luis Fernandez de la Reguera's "Rockets Redglare," the company announced yesterday. The film, which had a special screening at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival, is the story of Michael Morra (a.k.a Rockets Redglare) a former bodyguard to punker Sid Vicious and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, who later became an actor and stand-up comedian, including a touring act with Steve Buscemi. Redglare later died of liver failure and hepatitis-C following years of heroin use and other drugs.
The film features interviews with Buscemi as well as Willem Dafoe, Matt Dillon, Jim Jarmusch, Julian Schnabel and Redglare himself spanning his life from his early days hanging with '50s hustlers, to the East Village crowd of the '80s until his death in 2001. "Rockets Redglare" screened last August in New York when it opened the East Village Film Festival, which was a part of the HOWL! Festival of East Village Arts.
Producer Ben Berkowitz introduced Mike Broder, president of Small Planet Pictures, to the film, and the two negotiated the deal. Small Planet plans a September 2004 theatrical release, followed by a DVD release in time for Christmas, through its partnership with Undecided Films.
"Rockets Redglare" will be the eighth theatrical release for Ft. Lauderdale-based Small Planet Pictures, which is now in its third year. Previous films include Hilary Birmingham's "Tully," Helen Lesnick's "A Family Affair," Eric Byler's "Charlotte Sometimes," and Todd Stephens' "Gypsy 83."