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Emerging Visions Class of 2007: Aaron Hillis (‘Fish Kill Flea’)

Emerging Visions Class of 2007: Aaron Hillis ('Fish Kill Flea')

I’ve asked the filmmakers from the SXSW 2007 “Emerging Visions” section to give us all an update on their projects. Keep an eye out for more updates to come. Today’s update is from Aaron Hillis, co-director of amusingly sad flea-market documentary portrait Fish Kill Flea:

Hot off its SXSW world premiere, Fish Kill Flea caused a ruthless bidding war between Paramount, Sony, the Weinstein Company, and Warner Brothers, who ultimately inked with [directors] Cassidy, Hillis and Loeber for a low seven-figure deal. Warners won out by agreeing to bump I Am Legend from its 4,000-screen December release to a small mid-January run in order to make room for the little documentary that could. Said an unnamed exec: “Sure, the American people love Will Smith like their own families, but I think even Big Willy would understand that flea markets are all the buzz in Hollywood right now.”

All kidding aside, Fish Kill Flea has had a rewarding run since SXSW, including invitations to the Austin Film Society’s Texas Documentary Tour, Rooftop Films, deadCENTER, the Dallas Video Festival, UnionDocs, and the Sidewalk Moving Picture Fest. The film made its international premiere at the Milan Film Festival in September, and will soon screen at Ireland’s prestigious Cork festival, with more dates in Germany and the UK in early 2008.

Cassidy was featured this summer in Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces of Independent Film (along with his God Provides and The Delaware Project collaborator Melanie Shatzky), and the two are currently in pre-production on their first narrative feature. Later this month, Loeber and Hillis will travel cross-country by rail to shoot an exploratory short on the decline of train culture in America, a project that will be expanded to feature length next spring. As partner to the new boutique DVD label Benten Films, Hillis released SXSW alum Joe Swanberg’s LOL in stores in August, and will put out two more SXSW titles—Aaron Katz’s Quiet City and Dance Party USA—in January ’08.

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