Is this film really that good? Does it have a chance at the Oscars?
Margaret Starring Anna Paquin, the Best Film of 2011, Gets a Run at Cinefamily
By Karina Longworth
published: Wed., Jan. 11 2012 @ 2:59PM
Remember Margaret? The Anna Paquin-starring drama was written in
2003, shot in 2005 and then given only a token release last
September: on screen for just two weeks, with almost no marketing or
promotion. After that, it was virtually impossible to see.
The good news is, you soon will be able to see it. Just three weeks
after L.A. Weekly named Margaret the best film of 2011, Cinefamily
has booked it for a one-week run beginning Jan. 27. Meanwhile, this
week Variety published on its front page director Kenneth Lonergan's
second interview ever about the movie, and Margaret star (and L.A.
Weekly cover girl) Paquin suddenly was made available for select
interviews on behalf of the film.
In light of the timing -- Oscar nomination ballots are due by 5 p.m.
on Fri., Jan. 13 -- one could assume distributor Fox Searchlight is
flipping its script and now making a last-minute campaign for
recognition for a film it previously seemed indifferent to.
Lonergan's ambitious, contentious film was the victim of a protracted
post-production and ongoing legal battles. (Even Lonergan's recent
Variety interview was carefully worded and monitored by his lawyer.)
As we reported in our <http://www.laweekly.com/filmpoll/>Winter Film
Issue, critics had been forced to petition Fox Searchlight to send
out screeners of the movie so that it could be considered for
year-end awards and top 10 lists -- essentially, to treat it like
every single other movie the distributor released in the second half
of the year.
Just before the Weekly's Winter Film Issue went to press, we learned
that Margaret had been booked to run for at least a week at New
York's Cinema Village. But later it emerged that, while Searchlight
made a print available to that independently run art house, the
engagement was not initiated by the studio.
Instead, the booker of the theater, Ed Arentz, told Indiewire blogger
Anthony Kaufman that he approached the studio about playing the film.
"I booked it because I missed it, and figured there were plenty like
me that wanted to see it." He wasn't wrong -- Margaret is going into
its fourth weekend at the Cinema Village, making its ongoing second
run twice the length of its first.
Cinefamily director Hadrian Belove was another of the many who missed
the film in that first run and wanted to see it. And as #TeamMargaret
fervor swelled online, patrons of his nonprofit theater, which has a
history of giving unfairly under-seen movies a second chance, were
begging him to book it. So, like Arentz, Belove approached Fox
Searchlight and made it happen.
Reached by phone, a Fox Searchlight publicist said the studio would
not comment on its marketing strategy. At the same time, though, the
publicist denied said strategy had changed. In other words, the
studio has remained passive as movie theaters have sought to book the
movie, and as Paquin has been pursuing press opportunities on her own.
However, the publicist did confirm that the distributor sent
screeners of Margaret to every member of the Academy -- which,
considering the movie's scarce availability up to this point, seems
like a huge breakthrough.