Perhaps the most timely and tragic films to come along in quite awhile, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross‘ “The Road to Guantanamo” is the unfortunately timely, true story of the “Tipton Three,” a group of British Muslims who were held in an American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The hybrid doc/dramatization blends news images, documentary footage, and dramatic re-creations of the lads’ experiences as detainees for more than two years at the detention center. The film premiered this year at the 2006 Berlinale where it won the Silver Bear prize for best director and was among the most talked about films of the festival.
“We think this film is a visceral punch to the gut that will leave everyone thinking about Guantanamo in a new way,” said Howard Cohen, Roadside Attractions co-president, in a statement when acquiring the movie back in March. “It plays like a thriller, but it also shows the real-life struggle of nations to balance fighting terrorism with preserving human rights.”
Responding to a few questions from indieWIRE by email on Thursday, Cohen explained that the film has taken on even more relevance in light of the recent news coming out of Guantanamo.
“We were obviously saddened and sickened, not to mention infuriated, by the recent suicides at the US prison at Guantanamo Bay,” Cohen told indieWIRE. “This tragedy may as a side-effect bring more urgency to the ultimate message of the film — that this prison camp is a international disgrace and must be shut down immediately.”
Recent media attention about Guantanamo has brought greater attention to the Tipton Three and Winterbottom and Whitecross’ new film. Cohen explained that the company plans to stick to its reasonably aggressive release of the film with openings in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Boston this weekend, following by seven or eight more markets on July 7th.
“This is still a very serious, intense, tough film and we want to see how it is received in those top markets before changing course,” Cohen explained.
THE LIST FOR THIS WEEK:
The Great New Wonderful, directed by Danny Leiner
A story with five interconnected storylines, Danny Leiner‘s “The Great New Wonderful” is set in New York City less than one year after 9/11, with an ensemble cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Edie Falco, Tony Shalhoub, Jim Gaffigan, Olympia Dukakis, Judy Greer, and Thomas McCarthy, among others. (First Independent Pictures) OFFICIAL WEBSITE
The Hidden Blade, directed by Yoji Yamada
A samurai story by master Japanese filmmaker Yoji Yamada, “The Hidden Blade” stars Masatoshi Nagase, Hidetaka Yoshioka, Min Tanaka, and Tomoko Tabata. (Tartan USA) NYFF COVERAGE
Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, directed by Lian Lunson
A look at the life of acclaimed singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen includes live performances by Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton, Linda Thompson, Teddy Thompson, Jarvis Cocker, The Handsome Family, Julie Christensen and Perla Battala, and a performance of “Tower of Song” by Cohen with U2. (Lionsgate) indieWIRE INTERVIEW | OFFICIAL WEBSITE
The Road to Guantanamo, directed by Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross
Blending news images, documentary footage, and dramatic re-creations, Michael Winterbottom and Mat Whitecross‘ “The Road to Guantanamo” is the story of the now famous “Tipton Three,” British men who were brutally detained for more than two years in the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo. (Roadside Attractions) indieWIRE INTERVIEW | indieWIRE REVIEW | BERLINALE COVERAGE | OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Say Uncle, directed by Peter Paige
“Queer as Folk” co-star Peter Paige stars, alongside Kathy Najimy, in his comedic directorial debut about a Portland artist who likes to hang out with kids at a playground. OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Two Drifters, directed by Joao Pedro Rodrigues
The story of loss facing two people, Joao Pedro Rodrigues‘ “Two Drifters” debuted at Cannes 2005. (Strand Releasing) OFFICIAL WEBSITE
Wassup Rockers, directed by Larry Clark
The latest from “Kids” director Larry Clark, “Wassup Rockers” looks at the life of skateboarders in Southern California. (First Look Pictures) indieWIRE INTERVIEW | OFFICIAL WEBSITE