Down and Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film
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Down and Dirty Pictures chronicles the rise of independent filmmakers and of the twin engines -- the Sundance Film Festival and Miramax Films -- that have powered them. As he did in his acclaimed Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, Peter Biskind profiles the people who took the independent movement from obscurity to the Oscars, most notably Sundance founder Robert Redford and Harvey Weinstein, who with his brother, Bob, made Miramax an indie powerhouse.
Today Sundance is the most important film festival this side of Cannes, and Miramax has become an industry giant. Likewise, the directors who emerged from the independent movement, such as Quentin Tarantino, Steven Soderbergh, and David O. Russell, are now among the best-known directors in Hollywood. Not to mention the actors who emerged with them, like Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Ethan Hawke, and Uma Thurman.
Candid, penetrating, and controversial, Down and Dirty Pictures is a must-read for anyone interested in the film world and where it's headed.
their potential greatness on them. The aesthetic work is focused, targeted, and modest.” WHILE THE INDIE ROCKET lifted a whole new generation of gifted filmmakers into orbit, it never would have gotten off the launching pad were it not for the scrappy, talented entrepreneurs who took chances on pictures that no one thought would sell. As Project Green Light has taught us, when budgets are low and shooting schedules short, the drama behind the camera is as compelling as the drama in front of the
Recalls Damon, “We were broke. That money changed our lives.” They even got their pictures on the front page of Daily Variety. Affleck had just broken up with his girlfriend and was sleeping on Damon’s couch in his tiny apartment on Curson in West Hollywood. It was, “We need an advance, man, we gotta move outta this apartment, it’s too small,” he recalls. They found a bigger place on Glencoe Way, off Highland near the Hollywood Bowl. Affleck continues, “But we didn’t have any credit, so in lieu
Tarantino, AI, 7/11/03. “To sit on a movie set”: Collins, “The Funk of Steven Soderbergh.” “I was bored”: Soderbergh, AI, 5/2/02. “The problem with my marriage” and following: Collins, “The Funk of Steven Soderbergh.” “People kept thinking” and following: Soderbergh, AI, 5/2/02. “Do you know any” and following: Linklater, AI, 3/12/01. “his eclecticism” and following: Soderbergh, AI, 5/2/02. “We fought like cats and dogs”: Collins, “The Funk of Steven Soderbergh.” “What was that about?”:
“Citizen Billy Bob,” Esquire, 4/97. “I was full of self-loathing”: Patrick Goldstein, “A Story That Hits Close to Down Home,” Los Angeles Times, 11/24/96. “We worked our hearts out”: Jacobson, “Citizen Billy Bob.” “Which intrigued the hell” and following: Ray, AI, 3/2/01. “They send you stuff to look at”: Payne, AI, 2/21/00. “I do think Harvey made promises”: Konrad, AI, 6/10/02. “I was shocked because” and following: Jim Taylor, AI, 10/18/01. “I didn’t get one single”: Payne, AI, 2/21/00.
filmmakers hooked up at a party for In the Soup. They bonded over their shared redneck history. On their first date, they went to see Passenger 57, a Wesley Snipes movie, and then drove back to his apartment in the red, two-door Geo Metro he bought with his True Romance money. On the right side, the fender was crushed like a beer can, and the inside was a mess, the floor littered with flattened Styrofoam coffee cups and blackened Q-tips that looked like they had been places you didn’t want to