Posted at 5:00 PM on December 19, 2008
by Euan Kerr
Todd Sklar was meant to be in the MPR studios to talk about the four days of movies he's showing this weekend in the Twin Cities. Instead he was in a snowdrift somewhere outside Ames, Iowa, waiting for a tow truck.
But that didn't stop him pitching "Box Elder," ('A movie about dudes being dudes" as the blurb says,) and the three other movies.
Actually talking to Sklar is a little like entering into a scene from his film. Sklar, who wrote, produced and directed "Box Elder," also plays one of four central characters as they work, or rather don't work, their way through four years at the University of Missouri at Columbia. Talking on the phone it seems like Sklar didn't have to do much acting to get in character.
So it's a little surprising when he announces his life changed one day when he saw "The 400 Blows" and decided he wanted to tell stories the same way, so set off on a four year adventure to learn how to become a film maker.
He did that, he made a film and then he an into a problem: distribution.
"It's a sad time for small films," Sklar says. They're not really getting released correctly, or really at all. So we are trying to take it back to an audience based kind of thing and bring these films on the road and kind of show them to people we think might be interested in them."
That's why he's in the van near Ames. He's on his way to do a night at the Oak Street and then three nights at the Lagoon Theater with "Box Elder" and three other films. It's the culmination of a two month tour of various places where they screen the films after a ground campaign to whip up interest among likely groups.
"I have a really team on the road with me, of six guys on the road, and I have a team back at home who do a lot of internet marketing, and electronic stuff. We just do a lot of niche oriented outreach," Sklar says. "In each place we try to connect with the right scenes and the right groups and cater their needs and their interests in film making in general."
Sklar uses the term 'crowd-sourcing' to describe what they are doing. "Kind of finding people who want to get involved in what you are doing."
He says he's excited about the tour and the other three films "In Memory of My Father," "RSO: Registered Sex Offender" and "On the Road with Judas." The downside of touring of course is he's not making movies, but he says he's come to realize if you are going to make a movie, you have to follow it all the way through to the end and that means distributing and promoting it too nowadays.
Anyway, he'll be at the Oak Street tomorrow night and then at the Lagoon Sunday through Tuesday. He also promises to be back on another tour, with eight movies this time, in the spring.
You canto our chat here.
Fall Tour '08 - Minneapolis, MN - 12/20 - 12/23:
Tour Kick-Off party @ Oak St. Cinema:
12/20 - Saturday - In Memory Of My Father - 7PM
Tour screenings @ Lagoon Cinema:
12/21 - Sunday - Box Elder - 7PM
12/22 - Monday - On The Road With Judas - 7PM
12/23 - Tuesday - RSO - 7PM
Great interview ... Amazing movies ... Novel distribution scheme!
Saw Box Elder and Todd is a wonderful artist. His distribution approach is novel, and the way the economy is right now, large studios should stand up and take notice.
i visited the filmmakermagazine blog and saw rangelife's stuff on there - 5 episodes! they are really great. how have i not heard about this before?