Film : Newlyweds

For a movie with no official poster or trailer, Edward Burns’ “Newlyweds” is garnering the sort of buzz that would make many a blockbuster swoon. It isn’t just that the film was made for a scant $9,000 budget, or that the actors handled their own hair and wardrobe. After closing Tribeca Film Festival this spring, “Newlyweds” was just acquired by Tribeca Film for release later this year.

A Tribeca Film spokesperson told me that the details behind the release are still in the works, but what’s interesting is that they’re hinting that they will distribute the film across multiple platforms. No stranger to shaking up the traditional path, Edward Burns was the first filmmaker to bypass the theatrical distribution deal and debut his work commercially on iTunes with “Purple Violets.”

You can trade your email address for a glimpse at the first scene of the movie over at edwardburns.net. In the opening scene, two couples in very different places in their relationship share conversations over brunch about oral sex, practicalities in love and long-lost music careers. Think Woody Allen with a slightly harder edge, fewer tics and more feeling. If the rest of the script is as gritty and intimate as the first scene, this will be one heck of a movie. For now, mark it in my “can’t wait to see more” category.

[image title=”Still-Burns_Fitz-D487DF4″ size=”full” id=”22558″ align=”left” alt=”Caitlin FitzGerald and Edward Burns in “Newlyweds” distributed by Tribeca Film. Photo Credit: William Rexer.” linkto=”full” ]

Caitlin FitzGerald stars opposite Edward Burns in “Newlyweds” distributed by Tribeca Film. Photo Credit: William Rexer.

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  • kicksotic

    August 5, 2011 [ 1:57 pm ]

    If you’re Edward Burns — with his media relationships, marketing relationships, sales and distribution relationships, and surrounded by actors and crew who know your reputation and are more than happy to hop on that Edward Burns-train for below scale or deferred pay — then, yes, you could get away with making a film for $9,000, snag a spot in the Tribeca Film Festival and then land a distribution deal all in a flurry of breathless Press Releases.

    But if you’re an Average Joe filmmaker, any film you make for $9,000 certainly wouldn’t end up at the Tribeca Film Fest nor would it land a distribution deal with Tribeca Film. And it most certainly would not get the media attention Newlyweds has gotten, is getting, and will continue to get. Your $9,000 film would certainly languish, struggling for Finishing Funds only to be seen by a select few friends and family.

    So, as far as how this changes the distribution landscape for most independent filmmakers, it really doesn’t. It’s still a huge uphill battle unless your Edward Burns.

  • Sara McGuyer

    August 6, 2011 [ 2:57 am ]

    It isn’t the $9,000 that could be game-changing, but the hint that they’re going to release the film “across multiple platforms” that I find intriguing. I tried to press for details on what exactly that means, trust me. Since they’re mum for now, I can only begin to imagine. And I’ll be the first to admit, my imagination could easily be getting the best if me. This is pure speculation.

    What they’re probably talking about is some combination of digital streaming and/or download and theatrical release. And since they also said in the same breath “later this year” I’m hopeful that what they are implying is simultaneous digital and theatrical release.

    Why is this so exciting? Just a handful of places enjoy the “select cities” status. To be a movie lover in a city that isn’t one of them (my hometown of Indianapolis, despite a growing film scene, doesn’t see many premieres or early runs) can be a rough thing indeed. Another indie darling getting insane buzz at present, Attack the Block, just launched a nationwide facebook voting contest to choose one city to add to their limited release. The weird thing? They didn’t allow write-in candidates. Their contest included a pre-chosen list of mostly larger cities like Phoenix, which won the slot in the end. Indianapolis didn’t even land on the list in the first place.

    Depending on how Tribeca and Burns play this, it could mean earlier access for film fans regardless of geographic area. Depending on how bold they are, it has the potential to rock film distribution the same way Radiohead’s name-your-price download of In Rainbows challenged the business model of the music industry.

    You’re definitely right to bring up the name factor. Because he’s Edward Burns, if he pushes the limits here, there’s more potential to gain traction with a new model. Again, this is all speculation for now, but something that could be worth watching. My fingers are crossed anyway.

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