3.20.2008

UPDATE ON "DEAR ZACHARY"

Here's an update from my friend Kurt on the recent successes of his documentary, "Dear Zachary," about the murder of his best friend and his best friend's son. Please consider supporting the cause.

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Hi everyone,

I've just returned from two festivals in a row - Cinequest in San Jose and SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas - where "Dear Zachary" was received with a passionate enthusiasm even beyond what we experienced at Slamdance. Cinequest was a particularly meaningful experience for me, as it took place in the San Jose Bay Area, where Andrew and all of us grew up; the screenings were filled with familiar faces of those who knew and loved Andrew, and it meant so much to have everyone there. All of the Cinequest screenings were packed, but the first one - held in a 300-400 seat theater - was so full (standing room only) that they had to turn people away; that Saturday night screening, March 1st, will certainly live on my memory as one of the most meaningful nights of my life. A rave review that documented the evening is here:

http://www.movingpicturesmagazine.com/reviews/movies/dearzachary

All three screenings once again received standing ovations, with strangers and friends alike flooding Kate & David Bagby with hugs after the shows. It then emerged as the most honored film of Cinequest, the only film to receive two awards: a Special Jury Award for Documentary Feature (an award created specifically to honor "Dear Zachary") and the Audience Award. This was particularly pleasing as "Dear Zachary" has been programmed "out of competition" at most other film festivals thus far, making it ineligible for awards consideration by festival rules for various reasons; it played out of competition last week at SXSW (South by Southwest) in Austin, Texas, also to packed houses. While it was ineligible for awards there, at least 5 critics named it as either the best or one of the best films of the festival:

http://www.aintitcool.com/node/36025
http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=2422
http://www.timeout.com/chicago/blog/out-and-about/?p=3789
http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/03/17/sundance-why-didnt-you-show-dear-zachary/
http://www.filmschoolrejects.com/news/the-ten-best-films-of-sxsw-2008.php

(The reviews the film has been receiving are, to put it mildly, pretty terrific, above and beyond what I'd dared hope for. A compilation of all the best quotes & reviews can be found on the home page of www.dearzachary.com if you'd like to see and read more. You can click on the quote source to read the full article from which each quote is derived.)

The audiences in Austin were similarly stunned, speechless and tearful after the screenings, and I've been receiving emails constantly from strangers present at the screenings thanking me for making the film, telling me that it has changed their perspective/outlook on life, and has moved them to want to write Canadian Parliament in support of changing the bail laws that allowed Andrew's killer to kill again. It seems to be having the desired effect and then some. And we're just getting started... :)

Its next two festival dates are at the Sarasota Film Festival in Sarasota, Florida, where it plays Saturday, April 5th at 8:15 PM and Sunday, April 6th at 3:00 PM. Click this link for ticket information:
http://filmguide.sarasotafilmfestival.com/tixSYS/2008/filmguide/title.php/detail/?AlphaRange=DD&ShowShorts=Y&ShowPast=Y&

Following that, the film will at last have its Canadian premiere at the Hot Docs International Documentary Festival in Toronto. It shows Friday, April 25th at 6:30 PM & Sunday, April 27th at 11 AM. Click this link for ticket information:
http://hotdocsaudience.bside.com/2008/films/dearzacharyalettertoasonabouthisfather_hotdocs2008

I'll keep you updated as more festival dates are lined up. Some of you having been asking about the film's distribution future: I'm not allowed to say too much about it at present, but a very exciting opportunity is currently being negotiated for the film, about which I'm quite thrilled; I hope to be able to issue a more concrete, detailed statement soon. :)

Thank you again to all of you for your support of this film, and of Andrew, Zachary, Kate & David. Thank you to the festival programmers who have been giving this film a venue, as well as such terrific screening times and theaters. Thank you also to the wonderful and amazing critics who have been shouting their praise from the rooftops, helping to get this film seen. We couldn't be pulling this off without all of you!

All the best,
Kurt
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