Today we’ve posted a very special exclusive report from this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in NY- writer/director Adam Green has e-mailed us his journal from the fest, which talks about his experience with his first feature film Hatchet, which debuted there. We posted our first review of the film here, with another review coming in via Buzz sometime in the next week or two. When a group of tourists on a New Orleans haunted swamp tour find themselves stranded in the wilderness, their evening of fun and spooks turns into a horrific nightmare. The film stars horror legends Kane Hodder, Robert Englund and Tony Todd. Read on for Adam’s report…
Check out pics from the premiere here
It’s been a hell of a first week. HATCHET being my first real film and Tribeca being my first real festival, I didn’t know what to expect. I was just impressed that when I checked in at filmmaker registration, they knew who I was and I was on their list. (For some reason I still expected the whole thing to be a joke. An old school slasher film in a prestigious film festival? Come on!) But no, before I knew it I was checked in, handed an awesome gift basket full of great stuff, having my picture taken (I probably look confused in all of the photos because I didn’t understand why anyone would want my picture), and whisked off to press junkets and interviews.
But then came the premiere. I got out of the car in front of the theater and saw a line of people stretching around the side of the building. Then I saw they were waiting in line for HATCHET. So what did I do? I grabbed my girlfriend by the hand and we went and hid in the shady pizza place across the street. “I can’t go out there!” All I could think of was the pressure. I just desperately wanted the movie to deliver what everyone was hoping for. I’m just a fan who made the movie that I wanted to see as a fan…how would people respond 90 minutes later? All I could think of was how I was gonna throw up on myself. Then my cell phone rang.
But before that, let’s go back 22 years. To do this story justice I’d need more time- but the gist of it is that when I was eight, my grandmother bought me Twisted Sister’s “You Can’t Stop Rock N Roll”. It was a tape I listened to so much that when it broke a year later, I buried it in my back yard and bought a new one. From Twisted’s music I learned everything I needed to know. That if I was true to myself…that if I was willing to work hard and not wait for things to be handed to me…and that if I could have the confidence to not let anyone else in the world mess with me with their own negativity…I could do anything. As it so happens- at every point in my life when I was in a pivotal situation (making my first short film, being rejected by Hollywood for the first time, trying to shoot a feature with $400 and some pizza boxes, getting recognized by Hollywood, selling my first project, etc) Dee Snider would randomly show up. When I first met him (over 10 years ago outside of a club in Rhode Island) I handed him a letter that said “I’m gonna make it. And someday you and I are gonna hang out at some Hollywood “big-wig” party together.” Again, to tell the story right we’d need a lot of time and possibly a few beers…but it is a magical story. In fact, rather than opening up the premiere with a list of people I needed to thank or an explanation for why I made HATCHET the way I did…I told the Dee Snider story. People actually wept. It was pretty surreal. For such a violent, gory, fun film…there is a lot of heart behind it and surrounding it.
So my cell phone rings. “Adam…it’s Dee. The prophecy is about to come true.” A big gray limousine pulls up right in front of the theater, and out steps Dee Snider and his whole family. My high school friends were just like: “Get the f*ck out! No way?!” I had written to him to tell him how my hard work had paid off. How I struggled…how just 3 years ago I was eating other people’s leftovers off of their plates in the kitchen of the club I worked in just to stay alive and chase my dream…and that I got HATCHET made against unbeatable odds…and it was premiering at Tribeca. Well, the guy showed up.
Next thing you know, we’re walking down the red carpet together doing interviews with VH1, MTV, US Weekly- you name it. It was surreal. So after posing for some pictures, we finally enter the theater, and it’s completely full. I introduce the movie, the lights go down…and it was everything I could have hoped for. They screamed, they laughed, they cheered, they applauded, they loved it. And sure enough, Dee showed up at the huge after-party and it all came full circle.
The next two screenings sold out within hours because of the strong word of mouth. Great reviews, great responses, and great buzz. When Variety and the LA Times list a slasher movie among the biggest hits of a film festival…you know something good is happening. In fact, people showed up to our midnight screening in full make-up. Cheering “Crowley” from their seats before the lights went down. As I’ve said before, this Tribeca premiere was just our first platform to raise awareness about the film. Yes, we already have numerous offers on the table. Yes, the word “theatrical” has now been said. But this is a marathon, not a sprint to jump at any old offer. So sit tight and be patient. What will happen with HATCHET? We’ll have to wait and see how the suits negotiate with each other and work something out. But I made the film that I wanted to see and the response I got was everything I wanted. I am the luckiest guy in the world. My time here so far at Tribeca has been everything I could have hoped for. Meeting the fans after each screening has been the most encouraging part of it all. To see people’s eyes light up like that and actually thank me for making this- what more could I ask for? Maybe everyone won’t ‘get’ why I believe horror needs to get back to the basics again to stay alive…but New York City sure as hell did. What an f’n party this has been!
The Tribeca Film Festival was started 5 years ago as a retaliation to the acts of 9/11. In fact, I can see ground zero from my hotel room where I am writing this now. The organizers wanted to show that cinema and the arts are still alive and doing well in NYC. Typically a film festival only selects heavy dramas, films with social awareness, art-house pieces, and documentaries. The fact that Tribeca had the balls to include something like HATCHET in their line-up goes to show that not only is cinema still alive in New York City…but so is our spirit. We’re still having fun and we’re still laughing.
Thank God, we’re still laughing.