Wednesday, April 22, 2009

'The Devil' and Ti West

Ti West was interviewed by Karina Longworth on this past Monday. In the interview, he discussed his two most recent projects: the Cabin Fever sequel which has been shelved, and House of the Devil, which is premiering at Tribeca Saturday Night.

In it, he talks of the frustrations he's had crossing over into more mainstream fare, such as Dark Sky cutting a crucial four minutes of House. West says that in spite of trying to mainstream himself for his larger efforts, his financiers still weren't satisfied. Longworth writes:

In the case of Devil, West says, the money guys knew what they were getting into when they hired him, and didn’t seem to have a problem with what they got until recently.

Then adds:

West says the producers test screened his cut without his knowledge, and then showed him response cards. The audience’s answers to the leading questions along the lines of “Were you bored by anything in the house?” were presented as evidence that the audience asked for the specific cuts that Dark Sky eventually mandated. That he had made a film that was even subject to last minute revision based on testing came as a surprise to the director.

“It was in the rough cut, it was in the fine cut, it was in the final cut it was in the sound edit — it’s never changed, and it was always boring the whole time. It’s this whole last minute fear.”

I've seen Trigger Man. I'll be honest--it was a little slow for my tastes, but I really wanted to see House of the Devil. It was the one movie I really would've definitely seen had I gave in and gone to Tribeca this year. Ti makes an important point here:

I feel there’s some value to people knowing that if they go see this movie on Saturday night at Tribeca, and you think you’re at an independent film festival seeing an independent film, you should know that this movie was market researched like a new flavor of Pepsi. Nobody thinks about that, that they’d go see a low budget movie, and that’s the process it’s gone through to get to a film festival. And it’s a bummer.

I don't think people who see indie films in mainstream theaters realize that "indie" films (or as others call them, "Indiewood") are often just as market researched as their bigger budget counterparts. Many "indie" producers keep marketability in mind when packaging their movies.

Go, Ti! I'll be seeing House of the Devil when I get a chance.

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