For most of you, the DVD of Tideland will be your
first opportunity to see the film. It popped in and out of
the major cities faster than you could pull your socks on,
cinch up your belt, find the keys to the car and, once near
the cinema, fail to find a parking space.
Terry Gilliam on the set of Tideland
(pic by PS)
It seems that without the blessings of sufficient numbers
of mainstream critics, there wasn't much the American distributor,
THINKFILM, seemed capable of doing to reach the public. Too
many films to handle. No time to devote sufficient energy,
or the passion and imagination required to inspire the public
to take a chance on something different and demanding. They
had other films that were easier to sell. They had to deal
with corporate changes. They probably had lives to lead.
So with only a week to go before the film opened in New York,
and without a poster or ad to be seen, I was encouraged by my
daughter to take to the streets with a cardboard sign reading
"STUDIO-LESS FILM MAKER - FAMILY TO SUPPORT - WILL DIRECT
FOR MONEY" and a begging cup to draw people's attention
to the impending release of Tideland. Not only did it
work - we managed to get a large enough opening to generate
a second and third week in the cinema - but also I made $25.
Welcome to the joys and pain of independent film-making.
Tideland has turned out to be a very divisive film.
People love or loathe it. Perhaps "love" is the
wrong word, but the film does touch nerve endings that are
not too often reached in the dark of today's cinema. We didn't
set out to reach everybody, but we wanted to give encouragement
to people with open minds and imaginations in need of support
that they are not alone... or weird.
For me it was a kind of litmus paper test of our current society.
Are people able to think for themselves or are they so overwhelmed
by buzz words, manufactured fears, sensationalized reality
that they have lost touch with life? Can they see beyond the
surface? Is a child preparing heroin for her father a child
abused... or a loving daughter? Does a child have to wail
and weep at the loss of a parent to feel her loss? Is the
perceived vulnerability of a child merely a projection of
our own fears?
Those that look beyond the surface find the film very tender
and truthful... and strangely wonderful. Even those uncertain
about the film find it stays with them for days after seeing
it. I encourage people to watch it twice. I can guarantee
it will be a different experience each time.
Despite the fact that the film received six nomination for the
Canadian "Genies", won the FIPRESCI Prize at the San
Sebastian Film Festival, ended up on a surprising number of
Best of 2006 lists, was acclaimed a "masterpiece"
by Harry Knowles of AINTITCOOL.COM (and Jodelle Ferland has
just received another nomination... this time for a Saturn Award),
it was nowhere to be found amongst the films up for nominations
for this year's Oscars. You might ask why? Well, it's back to
our good friends at THINKFILM where it seems there was a teensy-weensy
"oversight" on their part. As I wrote them, "when
I opened the envelope containing the Academy Award ballot papers
and sat down to nominate the Best Picture and Best Director
I discovered that Tideland was nowhere to be seen in
the list of qualifying films. It saved me from the always painfully
embarrassing decision of whether or not to vote for myself.
Many thanks and keep up the good work."
PERHAPS IT'S TIME TO GIVE UP INDEPENDENT FILM MAKING AND BECOME
Gilliam plugs Tideland in
LINK: Tideland features within Dreams
- articles, interviews, more images
Dreams is edited by Phil Stubbs