While I’ve never been to Sundance, I can say I’m an experienced veteran of heated or awkward post-screening question-and-answer sessions after a film has debuted. Just last fall at AFI Fest, I saw an older gentleman ask “Rabbit Hole” filmmakers John Cameron Mitchell and Aaron Eckhart why they would decide to make a film about a dead child when there were so many more people dying in Iraq and Afghanistan? Or at last year’s Tribeca when a teen girl asked “Every Day” star Ezra Miller if he was gay? And so it goes.
Sundance itself is no stranger to them, either. This year’s festival alone has seen a wildly inappropriate Q & A follow the Paul Rudd comedy “My Idiot Brother,” where Rudd was asked to do a PSA for animal rights and another instantly legendary premiere/faux auction that shall not be named. Then there’s “The Woman,” which was the much-anticipated return of horror director Lucky McKee (“May”) that led to some walkouts and a paramedic being called, but even more infamously, gave birth to this viral video that features one particularly angry moviegoer who was escorted outside to tell a staffer “this is not humane!” Either before or after watching, I’d suggest reading Drew McWeeny’s explicitly detailed account at HitFix, because as he mentions in the piece, he inadvertently became a part of it while trying to calm the man down. The video is here:
As McWeeny concludes, this clip should be used as the teaser in any marketing campaign for “The Woman” since after all, horror films are meant to be upsetting. If that proves to be true, it wouldn’t be the only time a shouting match helped with a film’s sale. My favorite, at least that’s been recorded for posterity’s sake, was when Roger Ebert vehemently defended Justin Lin’s “Better Luck Tomorrow” against charges from an audience member that Lin had made an “empty” film and betrayed his race by portraying Asian-Americans in a negative light. Ultimately, it pushed the film towards a distribution deal with MTV Films and Paramount and launched Lin’s directorial career. The clip is here: