I would be more than remiss was I not to mention how huge a day today is for two friends of mine: Andrew "Filmbrain" Grant and Aaron "Cinephiliac, or rather, I'm-too-busy-getting-paid-to-write-to-update-my-site" Hillis. About a month ago, the two of them announced something I had heard rumblings about for over a year from Andrew: the formation of Benten Films, their very own DVD distribution label. And today marks the arrival of their first release: Joe Swanberg's LOL.
I haven't actually seen the final DVD product yet, but simply knowing Andrew and Hillis (I have trouble calling other Aarons by my first name, obviously!) and their goals for this venture, I have no doubt that this and the rest of the Benten releases are going to be everything one could want from a DVD and certainly far more than major or discount labels would give the kinds of films you'll most likely find coming from Benten -- a truly curated collection of American indies and interesting foreign titles that you might not hear about otherwise because someone who pays more attention to business rather than aesthetic doesn't consider it marketable.
Well, help Andrew and Hillis prove them wrong. All the talk right now is about the "mumblecore" movement. Whether or not its an actual "movement" and whether or not it's a "good" one is debatable with lots of people on both sides of the fence. In New York, "Generation D.I.Y.: The New Talkies" is happening right now at the IFC Center so you can decide for yourself. In fact, Swanberg's latest film, Hannah Takes the Stairs is running there right now along with a slew of other "mumblecore" films. Starting tomorrow is Aaron (another one? Dammit!) Katz's Quiet City, which, as it turns out, will be one of Benten's next releases in early 2008.
So help Andrew and Hillis make their first release a success. Try the disc out over at Netflix. Or better yet, if you've seen and like the movie (or hell, even if you haven't and just want to support to grass-roots cinephiles who want to bring something new to the marketplace), buy it! Hell, at $25.19, it's got free shipping without having to purchase another thing.
Good luck guys.