The staff of Rezolution Pictures, along with their friends, families, colleagues and many of the festival goers at Montreal’s International Festival of Films on Art (FIFA) packed the Cinémathèque québécoise for the Montreal premiere of Reel Injun March 25.
In a glorious uproar of cheers for the film’s homecoming presentation, its directors/ writers Neil Diamond and Catherine Bainbridge and executive producers Linda Ludwick and Christina Fon took the stage to answers questions about the film and also take a bow, beaming with pride, over the film’s uncanny success.
The crowd reaction was no surprise as the film has been pleasing audiences since it started touring the globe after its world premiere at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival.
Reel Injun, a documentary about the Hollywood interpretation of Native Indians, starts out with an image that is all too familiar to many Crees – Diamond’s hometown of Waskaganish.
Between the film’s festival touring and its March 28 TV debut on CBC Newsworld, millions have now seen the images of the Cree reserve and the face of its now most famous son.
Diamond’s face has also graced the cover of local magazines, such as Montreal’s Hour, and been featured in national newspapers in Canada and the U.S. and even in Hollywood trade publication, Variety. No doubt the film’s medial coverage is almost becoming as legendary as the film itself.
“The coverage and the interest we have had in this film has been unbelievable,” said Fon. “The film has been going to festivals all over the world; this has not happened with us (Rezolution Pictures) before.”
Fon had just recently returned to Montreal at the time of the premiere, having just done a jaunt down to California with Diamond to screen the film at the Palm Springs International Film Festival with business stops in Long Beach and Los Angeles.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Fon of her time in California. “The Screen Actor’s Guild of America wants to host the L.A. premiere at the Museum of Tolerance in Beverly Hills in the fall and it will be playing at the Museum of Modern Art in New York for a week in June. This is all really just unbelievable! The film is going all over, it is going to Russia and Finland, it has also been all over America and it will eventually be on PBS in the fall. ”
Back in Montreal, Ernest Webb, another one of the film’s executive directors, said that while the film has certainly put the name of the company out there, they are only just beginning to see what it has done for themselves as film producers.
“Usually you hope that things get easier in terms of getting your projects off the ground, like broadcasters returning your calls. Hopefully this will open doors for us, wherever they may be. This is one of the things you hope for with each film you make. You try to make them a little bit better than the last one and so hopefully people can now see what we are really capable of doing.,” said Webb.
While Webb has been busy at work on his latest project, Down the Mighty River, a series about the doors finally closing on the Rupert River for APTN, he said that Reel Injun was the first film of its kind for Rezolution because usually the primary audience for their films is the Cree. This is always in his mind when he begins any project.
As to whether or not Reel Injun’s fame has had any personal impact on Diamond, who has become a media darling with its inherent success, Webb could only say, “Neil Diamond will always be Neil Diamond.”
For those who have not seen Reel Injun, the film is currently playing at Montreal’s Cinéma du Parc and around the globe at different festivals. For more info: www.reelinjunthemovie.com