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by Dan Nuxoll
January 30th, 2007
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There is a nice little article in Filmmaker about indie director Jay Craven’s DIY 100-Town-Tour. Disappointed that all of the theaters in Vermont were booked with more commercial fare (even in the boonies of backwoods Vermont), he decided to rent as many churches and union halls as he could (for as little money as possible) and screen his whiskey smuggling epic Disappearances all over the state. In just one summer he was able to bring in more than $175,000 in box office receipts in the Green Mountain State alone–all without screening in any of the 24 towns that actually possess a proper movie theater–and I’m sure he reached a lot of audiences that wouldn’t normally flock to low-budget SXSW period films. Of course, not every self-distributed indie stars Kris Kristofferson, a man that I imagine might still be considered quite a celebrity in all those small towns across Vermont that do not yet possess reel-to-reel projection technology (and in case you were wondering, yes, Kristofferson is still taking roles that require him to react badly when someone tries to tell him that he “can’t just go highjack the train”). Regardless, Craven’s successful tour is a lesson in ingenuity and perseverance that all of us so-called micro-cinema experts should probably take to heart. Tip of the hat to former Rooftop volunteer Brian Liloia and DV Guru.

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Rooftop Films is a New York based non-profit whose mission is to engage diverse communities by showing independent movies in outdoor locations, producing new films, coordinating youth media education, and renting equipment at low cost to artists.

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