Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Mark Claywell, Director of AMERICAN JIHADIST (IFP's Spotlight on Docs Alum), Blogs about His Slamdance Premiere

(Karin Hayes, Slamdance, stands by as Mark Claywell, director, and Jody Jenkins, co-producer, answer questions) (The filmmakers and Slamdance team).

We had a great first screening last night. Could not have gone better I believe. We were competing against the annual clothing optional Slamdance Hot Tub party and still had a full house.

I was a little nervous and jittery that no one would show up for our screening so I made it clothing optional as well. It was dark so i don't know if anyone took me up on that.,

Q and A was great fun. I was concerned about that as well considering we are pushing a lot of buttons in this film. Lots of on target questions. Very smart audience. No yelling or screaming! Looking forward to our second screening on Wednesday. Clothing optional.

A day later, here are some more reflections and details:
The Q and A mostly revolved around some of the major questions we bring up during the film... how does Isa Ali travel so easily from Bosnia to the States... (he has never been charged with a crime), We talked about the possibilities of Ali working for the US Government... (we have asked that questions of course and Ali has admitted that the CIA and FBI have tried to recruit him even while publicly calling him a terrorist.) Good to know the audience is picking up on the some of the major themes and elements of the films which deal with easy labels and stereotypes. What were once freedom fighters are now evil doers.

We also got a few inquiries about turning the film into a dramatic feature. (We optioned the rights to Ali's story so hoping to move that rock forward very soon.)

Beyond that we have had several meetings with potential distributors and online VOD/Streaming people. Not in a rush but excited about the possibilities and wading through the mine field of what the next paradigm will be....

Back at it tomorrow. Second screening at 12:30pm.

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