Tideland's release across North America

by Phil Stubbs

Terry Gilliam came over to the USA and Canada in early October 2006 to plug the theatrical release of his film Tideland, featuring Jeff Bridges. At the bottom of this page you will find details of where and when Tideland will be screened.

In the USA, Tideland has divided the critics, much like any other Gilliam picture. A very favourable review was posted by Harry Knowles to his Aint-it-Cool site, following a screening at Knowles's own Fantasic Film Festival.

The event that made the news was Gilliam's stunt outside the studios of the Jon Stewart show in New York City on October 4. The filmmaker walked around meeting fans carrying a board declaring that he would "Direct for Food". A film of the stunt was made and has been uploaded to YouTube.


Max Evry supplied the above photographs to Dreams. He also interviewed Gilliam, and wrote an excellent piece for Coming Soon, which contained the following extracts:

On the corner of 11th Avenue and 51st Street in New York, a line of people stands waiting to see a taping of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart when from around a corner a panhandler appears. The beggar is a man in his 60s with a ponytail and baggy clothes, carrying a cardboard sign reading "STUDIO-LESS FILM MAKER - FAMILY TO SUPPORT - WILL DIRECT FOR FOOD". The man is Terry Gilliam.

This being the age of the internet, word got out on the web about Gilliam's gonzo stunt the night before and thus a throng of loyal fans were waiting to greet the director and gladly put dollar bills into his plastic cup. "This is more lucrative than making movies!" he declared of the growing wad of cash, followed by his trademark giggle".

When a dozen or so of his followers posed for a picture with their hero, he turned the cardboard sign around to reveal a poster for Tideland, a little girl sitting on and upside-down tree.

Before the stunt, Gilliam made a couple of appearances in New York City. On October 2, the director attended a screening of Tideland and on the next day, Gilliam attended a screening of Time Bandits, part of a season of Python films run by New York cinema Film Forum. A recording of the Time Bandits event is available for download here. On October 4, after the stunt, Gilliam was at IFC Center in New York City - a "Movie Night" where the film director talked about his favourite films.

On October 5, the filmmaker went over to the Smithsonian's Hirshhorn museum in Washington DC for a screening of Tideland and a discussion with the audience. Jeff Morris was at the DC event and sent the following report to Dreams. Jeff also informed Dreams that mp3s of both Gilliam's introduction to the film and the 30-minute Q&A held afterwards are available for download at the Hirshhorn's website.

Sometimes, just sometimes, D.C. is a cool place for a movie nut to live. Like on the night of Oct. 5, 2006, when I got to see Tideland for free about a month before it's due to open here and participate in a live Q&A with its director, Terry Gilliam.

For those who can't wait, here's the executive summary: Tideland is a compelling, fascinating film that no doubt will continue to divide audiences and gain resonance for those willing to see it more than once. His best film in many years, I suspect, although I will have to see it again to confirm. Oh, and Jodelle Ferland could be the next Natalie Portman.

Before the film, Mr. Gilliam took to the stage, clean shaven but retaining his now-familiar rat-tail. Though in his mid-sixties, he has the energy, demeanor and infectious enthusiasm of a man at least a couple of decades younger.

Mr. Gilliam has no illusions about Tideland making any money. That's not why one makes a film like this. His only real ambition for the film, he told us, was to provoke debate. Mission accomplished. He also predicted before the screening that the film would resonate with some viewers after they've seen it, and that he would be more interested in hearing their opinions of it the next morning than when they're still flush with the experience. And he was right. It's a film that's tough to shake, which may be a good or bad thing, according to the viewer's tastes.

Gilliam re-emerged after the credits with a mischievous expression on his face. He was clearly in his element, making the audience laugh, dropping a couple of well-placed F-bombs for effect, taking one light jab at President Bush (saying he's going to sue him for ripping off the totalitarian regime of Brazil), and listening patiently to everyone's questions even when they rambled or skirted incoherence.

The curator of the Hirshhorn said that after watching the film a few days earlier, his 13-year old daughter had proclaimed it her favorite movie. Gilliam deemed this further testimonial to the inherent toughness of kids, which is Tideland's subject. He mentioned a real-life news story he'd read in which some children had spent two weeks in their house alone with their mother after she had died. The physical horrors they witnessed must have been worse than anything in the film, he said, admitting that he had consciously pulled back from depicting the full effects of decomposition on the human body.

It's only during adulthood, he suggested, that we learn to be disturbed by natural and inevitable events in life--to fear loss and mortality. Gilliam said he never truly felt fear until his children were born, and he began fearing for their welfare.

Jeliza-Rose doesn't fear for herself after the death of her father, in part because she denies the death its traumatic power. There is no trite scene of her crying over her father's corpse or begging him to return. His death is quickly, almost seamlessly, processed and incorporated into her fantasy world.

One attendee asked Gilliam if Tideland was in part a deliberately anti-commercial palate cleanser after his experience on The Brothers Grimm. Gilliam said yes, in part, although he had actually tried to make Tideland first. In a sense, Grimm was more a reaction to his frustrations with mounting Tideland, and not vice versa, he said.

He said Tideland very nearly didn't happen because casting Jeliza-Rose was so difficult. As the deadline to start shooting loomed, he nearly called producer Jeremy Thomas to tell him that it had all been for naught. But then at the 11th hour he found Jodelle Ferland, who stood out because of her feisty, unsentimental approach to the part. Thinking at first she was a remarkable discovery, he later found she had been acting since the age of four.

Most of the questions were specific to Tideland, but a few asked about his general oeuvre. The film he expects to be remembered for: Brazil. Unfortunately, no one quizzed him about future projects before the Q&A was over.

All in all, a terrific night. My only regrets are: A) Mr. Gilliam got hustled backstage to meet the press before I (or anyone else) could ask him to sign anything. I had brought my Criterion Brazil DVD and a green Sharpie.

And B) when I asked my question I forgot to thank him for making The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, one of the best films of all time, and the movie that kindled my passionate interest in cinema.

Interviews with Gilliam
Further interviews with Gilliam to tie in with the release of Tideland in the US and Canada are linked below:

David Morgan interviews Gilliam for CBSnews.com
The Onion AV Club interviews Gilliam
SciFi.com interview with Gilliam
TV Guide interview with Gilliam
Jesse Thorn interviews Gilliam for The Sound of Young America (you can download an mp3 file)

Tideland Release Schedule
Tideland opens in New York City on October 13 2006 followed by a nationwide release across many cities over the following weeks. Details are below, but please check with local press for confirmation.

10/13/2006 New York IFC Center IFC
10/20/2006 Los Angeles Nuart Landmark
10/20/2006 Chicago Music Box IND
10/27/2006 Berkeley Act I&II Landmark
10/27/2006 San Francisco Lumiere Landmark
10/27/2006 Boston Kendall 9 Landmark
10/27/2006 Washington D.C. E Street Landmark
10/28/2006 Austin Alamo Drafthouse IND
11/3/2006 Palm Desert, CA Palme d'Or Flagship
11/3/2006 San Diego Ken Cinema Landmark
11/3/2006 Denver Starz Cinema Landmark
11/3/2006 Atlanta Midtown Art Landmark
11/3/2006 Minneapolis Lagoon Landmark
11/3/2006 Seattle Varsity Landmark
11/10/2006 Hartford Real Art Ways IND
11/15/2006 Boulder International Film Series IND
11/17/2006 Tucson Loft IND
11/17/2006 Lexington, KY Movies on the Green IND
11/17/2006 Detroit Uptown 8 Centurion
12/12/2006 St. Louis Webster Film Series IND

First Canadian release is Toronto - on October 20, 2006.

LINK: Tideland features within Dreams - articles, interviews, more images

LINK: Official Tideland website

Dreams edited by Phil Stubbs
Click on the pictures below to
reveal larger Tideland images.

Jeliza Rose with dolls

Jeff Bridges as Noah

Jeliza Rose peers through window

Janet McTeer as Dell

Brendan Fletcher as Dickens

[Dreams home] [News] [Movies] [Interviews] [Detail] [Links]