Eight years after first screening in Park City, Utah, Slamdance Co-Founder Dan Mirvish has struck a distribution deal that will yield at least 350,000 DVDs of â€œOmaha.â€ During the recent Slamdance Film Festival, Mirvish inked the unique deal with Total Movie & Entertainment Magazine, which will elease the DVD starting March 19. In addition to 50,000 DVDs that will be included with subscribersâ€™ copies of the magazine, one disc will be packaged with every Pioneer DVD player sold in the U.S. and Canada for the next two months — a total of 300,000 units just as part of the Pioneer deal alone. “This has got to be one of the widest DVD releases an independent film has ever gotten,” said Mirvish. â€œAbout one in eight North Americans who buy a DVD player in the next couple of months will get a copy of â€œOmahaâ€ — whether they want it or not. Itâ€™s gratifying to know that almost a third of a million people will start their DVD collections with my little movie.â€ Ironically, Mirvish was selling home video equipment at the Good Guys in Westwood, CA when Slamdance first got started. â€œWe had some of our first programming meetings at the Good Guys, and now, they’ll be helping distribute my film. If I was working there today, Iâ€™d definitely be pushing the Pioneers.”
Writer/director Mirvish produced â€œOmahaâ€ for just $38,000 with fellow Nebraskan Dana Altman, who is Robert Altman’s grandson. The elder Altman –Â director of the multiple-Oscar nominated â€œGosford Parkâ€ –Â mentored the two young filmmakers. The award-winning film played in over 30 international film festivals, after which Mirvish and Altman self distributed the film theatrically in 33 U.S. cities (with Mirvish often strapping on a sandwich-board to promote the screenings).
“In addition to big-budget Hollywood action films, Total Movie has always been a supporter of independent and cult films,” said Steve Palopoli, Total Movie & Entertainment’s Editor-in-Chief. “Without Dan’s film, there never would have been a Slamdance, and without Slamdance we never would have had directors like Christopher Nolan (â€œMementoâ€) and Marc Forster (â€œMonsterâ€™s Ballâ€) getting their first films seen.”
In addition to â€œOmaha,â€ the DVD will have a flip-side that, among other hings, will include an interview with Robert Redford (who once referred to he Slamdance festival as â€œparasitesâ€). “I’m happy to share some of my disc space with him. After all these years of him sharing Park City with me, it’s the least I can do.” The DVD will also include Slamdance alumni (1997’s â€œPiecesâ€ and the upcoming Warner Bros. release â€œWelcome to Collinwoodâ€) Anthony and Joe Russo’s short film “The Kiss,” as well as Leif Tilden’s Sundance 2001 short “Big Love.”
â€œOmahaâ€ is an offbeat comedy about a young man who returns from Nepal to confront not just his peculiar family and friends, but also a pair of olombian jewel thieves who chase him across Nebraska. The film stars Hughston Walkinshaw, Jill Anderson and Dick Mueller. There is a cameo appearance by then-governor Ben Nelson (Democrat), now a U.S. Senator from Nebraska. “Oddly enough, one of my biggest investors is now the other U.S. Senator from Nebraska, Chuck Hagel (Republican),” added Mirvish. “They both loved the movie — it’s my way of promoting bi-partisanship.”
For more info on “Omaha,” visit the Slamdance web site.
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Posted on March 14, 2002 in News by Film Threat Staff
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