In the world of filmmaking setting the date for a world premiere isn’t just about booking a theatre, gathering the troupes, throwing down a red carpet and self congratulating. While celebrating is certainly part of “the big day” the even bigger part is launching the film to audiences, film festivals, media and distributors. I also believe it’s important to spread your wings outside your comfort zone. But what it really comes down to is where is the film going to get the biggest bang for its buck? And by buck I mean those future dollars that come in as a result of early marketing and public relations efforts.
With our completion date set for July 1, I had started the search on where to premiere Justice. Will it be at a film festival in the region that works with our completion date? Will it be in Los Angeles? Will it simply be striking a deal with a theatre in central Massachusetts? Then the call came in early last week. Vernon Aldershoff who stars as Henri Miller in Justice, and lives in the Albany area, told me that Don Rittner, the commissioner of the Schenectady Film Commission and creator of Inspiration Week, invited us to premiere Justice Is Mind at The Palace Theatre on August 18. How did this invitation come about? Because Rittner saw our trailer screen at Upstate Independents in February and liked what he saw. After a few days of discussion, the deal was struck.
In the world of Star Trek, there is a saying, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few…or the one.” That means that when opportunity knocks for the greater good you take it. This was one of those rare moments when everything just came together. I could not be more excited to premiere Justice Is Mind in Albany. First, we are part of a major event with Inspiration Week. Second, we were invited. Invited. That really is key in my view. Someone wanted to premiere our film. Third, The Palace Theatre is a world class venue with seating for over 2,800. Finally, the Albany region is the birthplace of MRI technology—the very backbone of our story. Game. Set. Match? Almost.
With our premiere booked months in advance, this gives us plenty of time to properly plan a dynamic event while planning additional screening opportunities. It was also during the Albany premiere discussions that Justice Is Mind secured a deal to work with The Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel to bring screenings to law schools around the country. I can’t thank my friend and entertainment attorney Arnold Peter of The Peter Law Group enough for making this deal a reality.
Suffice to say there is a hell of a lot more involved in filmmaking than just shooting the movie. Of course you need to get that right, but you do need to have a “Plan With a Capital P” (thanks Emma Harte!) or at least the semblance of one.
Finally, I had the opportunity yesterday to attend the first Massachusetts Media Expo that was organized by the Massachusetts Production Coalition. This was really a well run event. It was great seeing so many actors and crew members from Justice. Even though I saw most of them from across a room! For me the keynote panel was the most interesting. Listening to legendary filmmaker Douglas Trumbull alone was worth the admission. What I enjoyed about Trumbull is that he’s honest in his opinion of the industry. It was refreshing. So now I’ll be honest, I could have done without the directing “seminar” for a variety of reasons that I’ll keep to myself. And speaking of premieres, I enjoyed Whitey Bulger: Making of a Monster documentary. Congratulations to Mary Wright who plays one of the Reincar Scientific board members in Justice. Wright is one of the principal actors in the documentary and plays Bulger’s girlfriend Catherine Greig.
Game. Set. Match? I’ll let you know.