A better movie than a documentary…

Reel Paradise is a documentary about John Pierson. After becoming disenchanted with the independent film world he picks up his family and moves them to a remote village in Fiji called Taveuni. The natives have no electricity, no running water and little to do for entertainment. The Pierson crew opens the downtrodden 180 Meridian Cinema to show free movies to the natives for a year. It’s a hit.

Steve James (Hoop Dreams, Stevie) showed up for the last 30 days of their adventure to capture life on the island and showcase the Pierson family; John, wife Linda, daughter Georgia (16) and son Wyatt (13).

The film is entertaining and doesn’t really play out like a doc at all – but more like a movie movie. It premiered out of competition at Sundance last January. The film is currently playing in NYC at the IFC Film Center and will open in LA and San Francisco 9/2.

I attended a screening put together by Landmark Theatres and Wellspring.


Kevin Smith was there to introduce the film. And then the entire Pierson gang along with Steve James and producer Scott Mosier were on hand for Q and A after.

Peirson family

Pierson has been so influential in the independent film scene for the past 20 years that it’s not surprising for him to have the incredible support of the film community that he does. After all, it seems a little picture perfect; he gets Steve James to direct a film about himself produced by View Askew, Kevin Smith’s production company. It premiers at the Sundance Film Festival followed by other A list fests and then goes on to theatrical release all the while getting plenty of press in major newspapers, magazines and trades. (He was even featured in People Magazine!)

I’m the first person to be happy for a filmmaker to get the film out there. And having the dream road is what everyone wants. Seems that one way to get there is to:

    A) Know everyone in the business by repping films and helping filmmakers for 20 years
    B) Make a great movie that will rise to the top!

Docu makers have no fear – the good films will ALWAYS be seen! You don’t have to have Kevin Smith on your speed dial….but…it can’t hurt either.

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