Update on Following The Ninth
Someone asked about the progress of the film, so thought this update is in order. The last time I left you I had about four to six weeks of editing. in the meanwhile, friends in Germany intervened vigorously with the German government to support a premiere of the film in Bonn (Beethoven's birthplace) on their Unification Day on October 3rd. So that looks like the European premiere. The only caveat was that I include as part of the film a section on the fall of the Berlin Wall and the famous Leonard Bernstein 9th concert to commemorate the event. I had thought from the start of the film that I might want to include something about the Bernstein 9th, where he changed the word freude (joy) to freiheit (freedom) in the chorale section, but the rights to that footage was out of reach, plus I didn't think I could get to Germany soon enough to solve include a Wall piece. But since the German government is backing the film (not with any money, of course) it seemed like a good idea to include a short section on the events there in 1989.
But how to do it? I've had to raise a bit more money, find suitable individuals who were at the Wall in the winter of 89, purchase some stock footage, and then edit that story into the film, which has put the film back on its original release timing. Then there is the question of distributors. I have both a U.S. and European distributor for the film, and they make demands about release dates, not wanting the film to get lost in the summer crush of blockbusters. It's a bit complicated from a logistical point of view, inside baseball for those who are not familiar with how films are released if one has distribution as opposed to releasing and marketing a film on one's own. In brief, if a film gets a theatrical release, then the theaters will not allow a DVD to be sold before the theatrical release is finished, and usually require a 30-day window between showing the film and any DVD sales. The reason is clear from their perspective: they want people to come to the theater to see the film rather than buying or streaming it and watching at home. I'm finding out more details about these somewhat complicated contracts as I go along. I can market other things, like t-shirts and coffee mugs, but not the hard copy film. And, unfortunately, once a dvd is sold, it will inevitably be up on line somewhere for free, as the younger set does not feel that they should pay to watch movies or listen to music, and have no reservations about swiping anything up on line. The demographic for this film is a bit different however.
So my apologies for the delayed release of the film. As anyone knows who pays attention to Hollywood, release dates are always being moved around, and while Following The Ninth is most likely not going to be a blockbuster (although fantasy springs eternal), distributors do get their way with these things for the most part. There you have it. Following The Ninth will have a European premiere on October 3rd, with an unknown date for release here. I'll let all of you know if we do in fact get a theatrical run. Thank you for hanging in there and being patient with the project. I've been waiting five years, with the children on occasion asking that impertinent question: "Dad, is the film done yet?"