Taxpayer-financed Robin Williams movie still lacks distributors

Chris Butler
|
Aug 25, 2014 5:00 AM
Taxpayer-financed Robin Williams movie still lacks distributors
AP file photo

LIFE AFTER DEATH: One of Robin Williams final movies, “Boulevard” is languishing on a shelf for a lack of a distributor, but interest in the film could pick up following the actor’s death this month.

 

By Chris Butler | Tennessee Watchdog

NASHVILLE — One of Robin Williams’ final movies, “Boulevard,” filmed in Nashville more than a year ago with a $302,000 investment from Tennessee taxpayers, still has earned no interest from film distributors.

Tennessee Watchdog asked Sara Serlen, spokeswoman for the New York-based ID public relations firm, listed as one of the film’s press contacts, if the film still has no distributorship.

“That is correct, to date,” Serlen said in an email Friday.

Without a distributor, “Boulevard” lacks a release date and has no known method of release, whether theatrically, on DVD or a television broadcast.

In essence, that means if you want to see the movie you’re probably out of luck.

Many media outlets cited “Boulevard” as one of Williams’ four final films, which likely will receive more attention after his sudden, tragic death earlier this month.

Looking at the situation from a business end, if the film wasn’t competitive enough for distributorship before Williams’ death, will it become competitive now?

And will Tennessee taxpayers get their money’s worth from the film?

Officials with the “Boulevard” production company, Camellia Entertainment, didn’t return requests for comment Thursday and Friday.

Photo courtesy of  Camellia Entertainment

ON-LOCATION: Actors Roberto Aguire, left, and Robin Williams are featured in the movie “Boulevard.”

Officials with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, which gave the $302,000 to the film’s production costs, also didn’t return messages Thursday and Friday.

As previously reported, state officials, as they do with ABC’s “Nashville,” see the movie as a marketing and branding opportunity for the city and state. 

But “Boulevard,” which filmed in Nashville in exchange for the taxpayer money, never references where it takes place, Serlen told Tennessee Watchdog earlier this year.

Only a few people who attend various film festivals, including one in Nashville this past spring, have seen the completed film.

Earlier this year Tennessee Watchdog asked ECD spokesman Clint Brewer if the film really benefits state taxpayers, considering it never references Nashville or Tennessee.

“After viewing the director’s cut and having a conversation with the production company, it is our understanding that the film clearly takes place in Tennessee and specifically Nashville,” Brewer said.

“The film includes very obvious shots of the Nashville skyline. The city and the state are also recognized in the credits. In addition, the production company is marketing it as being shot in Tennessee.”

In April, Brewer said the film festival circuit is a common business tactic for independent films to take in winning distribution.

Brewer also said mass audiences eventually will see the movie, one way or another.

“Boulevard” has already received positive reviews in Variety, among other publications.

Contact Christopher Butler at chris@tennesseewatchdog.org 

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