[Sundance ’12]: ‘V/H/S’ Sells To Magnolia, Three Of The Film’s Producers Poisoned!

Let this be a lesson. One that encourages you to pursue your dreams, but to avoid Dick Clark’s in the Salt Lake City Airport while doing so.

I’m sure you Bloody-Disgusting readers are as caught up as you need to be on what V/H/S is. My interviews with seven of the filmmakers were all published last week, leading many of you to wonder aloud, “how many people directed this d*mn thing?” And, “Does Joe Swanberg play Dexter?” If you’re not familiar with the film, feel free to click on that red title and learn all about it.

And then hit the jump for the epic story that unfolded because of it.So while many of you have probably heard that V/H/S premiered at the Sundance Film Festival over the weekend. The first midnight screening was packed and the reception – from my point of view as a twitter voyeur in Los Angeles – was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Subsequent screenings went equally well. Yes, someone did pass out at one of them. Some people have questioned the veracity of the event, but I know many of the parties involved and can tell you that it wasn’t staged. And, as Simon Barrett put it, the intensity of the film itself was a “quaternary” factor. The dude was tired, hungry and at a high altitude. The film being intense was just the cherry on top.


Zak Zeman, Roxanne Benjamin, Brad Miska and Simon Barrett in more innocent times.

News broke in the middle of the night that Magnolia Films had acquired V/H/S, the winners of a bidding war with several other suitors. Per The Hollywood Reporter, “Magnolia Pictures is acquiring North American rights to the horror film V/H/S for slightly more than $1 million after coming out on top in a late-night bidding war that involved three prospective buyers, according to sources. The film, which had its premiere in Sundance’s Park City at Midnight section on Sunday, will be given a pre-theatrical video-on-demand release as part of Magnolia’s Ultra VOD program and it will also receive a significant release in theaters after the 30-day VOD window. Sources said that rights to the film in several foreign territories are in play, with offers on the table from potential buyers. V/H/S is the first horror title to be acquired at the 2012 festival. Several distributors had expressed interest in the found-footage-within-found-footage creeper.

But did you know that the deal was closed while two of the producers were in the hospital? Throwing up buckets full of bile? Rocking high temperatures and hallucinating? But on their cell phones anyway? Yep! That’s kind of where Dick Clark’s figures into all of this.

Earlier in the day producers Brad Miska, Roxanne Benjamin and Zak Zeman (along with Mr. Miska’s better half, Andrea) were unwinding in the airport eatery, likely exhausted from (and elated by) the fest. It was around this time this fateful tweet caught my eyes.

@BradMiska “Dick Clark’s with @roxanne73 lots of drinks on this table !! pic.twitter.com/at9Kf7ig”

Several hours later, upon their arrival in LA, this hit my feed.

@Roxanne73 “Landed. Got bags. Got to car. Puked next to car. Ahhhh, that LA air. I blame @bradmiska and @zakzeezy for their restaurant choices”

Shortly afterwards – @BradMiska “Joining @roxanne73 in hospital. Thanks dick Clark’s cafe”.

I kind of thought this was a joke. I even thought it was a joke that Roxanne was in the hospital. I thought that, perhaps in this case, “hospital” was a euphemism for “indigestion”. That is until Brad texted me that he was actually on the way to the hospital. For all the complaining he does online about food trucks, he doesn’t strike me as being a hypochondriac or overly dramatic, so I figured it was legit serious bad business. Then Andrea informed me that he was literally writhing on the floor of the hospital in pain. Sh*t!

Once I knew he was feeling at least a little better, I went to sleep. I woke up at 6AM to the wonderful news that V/H/S had indeed been sold. I figured the ink was already dry on this thing by the time they had even left for the airport and that it was simply a delayed announcement. How could any back and forth happen on the deal with so many parties out of commission?*

Here’s how.

Roxanne Benjamin as photographed by Simon Barrett.

After electrolytes were restored, admissions were discharged and (reasonably lucid) consciousness was achieved here’s how the rest of the morning played out.

@BradMiska “A night of celebration was ruined by the worst food poisoning ever, it was insane. Filled buckets”

@BradMiska “I still haven’t even seen the press release. I barely remember last night. I was in so much pain they pumped me full of morphine”

@BradMiska “I apparently was mumbling insane sh*t and was unresponsive to the doctors and @andreatumino”.

After some well earned ranting about the hospital system, Miska’s twitter feed concluded** with perhaps the most damning piece of evidence of all –

@BradMiska”Dick Clark’s at the airport in Utah poisoned @roxanne73 @zakzeezy and myself. All got chicken fingers, ‘cept @andreatumino who was fine.”

But the happy (and real) news is that a great horror anthology (my opinion after seeing a rough cut – and we are allowed to disagree around here) will be coming your way this fall. Courtesy of Magnolia, one of the only distributors around who doesn’t have their head in the sand.

Simon Barrett, Matt Bettinelli-Olpin, Brad Miska, Zak Zeman and Glenn McQuaid

*Zak Zeman also had food poisoning but opted out of the hospital. Now I know never to f*ck with Zak.

**For dramatic purposes only. Everyone knows Brad’s twitter feed never really “concludes”.

Source: Bloody Disgusting