Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Biting Fingernails While Watching the News

I'm not a big horror fan anymore, but am partial to a few zombies now and then so I was pleased to read that George Romero has returned to his indie roots with his latest film,"Diary of the Dead", which has recently premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. Romero is hanging with the kids on this one, utilising the advent of Youtube, mobile phones ("cell phone" in North America), and video diaries (no!), and the film even has a myspace account -- oh yes! (okay, maybe Romero's not responsible for that one, but whatever --let's pretend it was his idea.) There was a particular image I was tickled by, which featured in an interview with Romero in the Village Voice :
"You see all this shit happening that's just ridiculous, whether it's the war or the economy or housing. It seems like, 'Christ, the sky is falling!' " Romero says. "And I think there is a tendency with young people to think, 'Why get involved? You can't fix this mess—this stuff can just drive you crazy.' It can really breed paranoia. I once had an idea for a script about a guy who just sits biting his fingernails watching the news," he says, laughing. "Like a Warhol thing."
As everyone knows, I'm a big fan of DIY anything, especially film, but I did stop and think about what sort of risks Romero was taking by going back to independently-financed low-budget framework of producing a film. I'm sure it was just an aesthetic thing, in the same way that Lars von Trier and others embraced a return to a more stripped down way of filmmaking with their Dogme 95 rules. However, I do wonder how much Romero gambled on his bankeability as a renowned director. I suppose the gamble paid off. As reported in the Hollywood Reporter, Romero sold the North American rights for "Diary of the Dead" to the Weinstein brothers company for a cool $2 million-$2.5 million dollars ("Dead' sale reanimates Toronto market"). Okay for some.

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