A Special Jury Prize At Silverdocs, And Something Even Better


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It was a sweet few days for The Kids at Silverdocs.  And not just because we came away from it with a Special Jury Prize in the feature docs competition. 

The first screening was Lucy’s first time seeing the film with an audience, and the first time she took part in a Q&A.   Since she’s been away most of the past year studying abroad in Buenos Aires, we haven’t talked much about the film, either.   Partly by design but mostly following Lucy’s lead.  She hasn’t really wanted to talk much about it.  So, needless to say, I was more than a bit nervous about what her reaction would be.  Not so much about the film itself, but in seeing herself up on the big screen in front of strangers.

As she later admitted, the first Q&A (above) was hard.   She looked a bit shell-shocked and her answers were pretty brief and general.  But by the time of the second screening two days later, she’d had time to think about it and talk to other filmmakers and filmgoers she met while hanging out.   At that Q&A, Lucy was poised and articulate.  She said that it’s been almost 3 years from the filming and she feels like it’s almost another person she’s watching up there.  And that it’s a good film and she’s glad she’ll have this portrait of herself and her family to look back on in the years ahead.  Hopefully no one heard my loud sigh of relief while she said it.

I wish I could have seen more of the great docs screening there (though I’ve seen a lot from my Full Frame jury duty and from the weekly Stranger Than Fiction screenings here in NYC).  I would have especially liked to see Marwencol, which I’ve heard such great things about, and Wo Ai Ni Mommy, the eventual Grand Jury Prize winner.  But I was mostly tending to my two stars.   Marjorie I knew would have a great time, she almost always does at the festivals she attends.  But Lucy was the wild card, and she seemed to really enjoy the whole Silverdocs experience. 

Hopefully, the week marks a new beginning of my ability to write more frequently and candidly about the film.  It’s one thing as a director to be protective of his “star”.   But as a father, I needed to know my daughter was really okay about the film before I could move forward and talk about it in depth.

So, many thanks to Sky Sitney and the Silverdocs staff for a special week.  And, of course, the features competition jury for the very special recognition.

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Shadow Distribution Picks Up “The Kids Grow Up”


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As announced in indieWIRE and other trades yesterday, Shadow Distribution will handle the North American theatrical release of Doug Block’s feature documentary “The Kids Grow Up.”  The film will premiere on Oct 29 at the Angelika Film Center in New York City before expanding its run to other cities (including the Laemmle Sunset 5 in LA on Nov 12).

Block tackles a similar personal narrative in his follow up to his acclaimed documentary “51 Birch Street,” in which Block dissected his parents’ marriage and his relationship with his father. In a similar vein, “The Kids Grow Up” explores the director’s own bond with his daughter.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring this moving, honest, funny, beautiful and important film to North American audiences,” said Shadow president Ken Eisen. “Doug’s made a film that’s truly universal precisely because it’s so personal.”

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“The Kids” at Full Frame


Posted by Doug under Musings Screenings  . Comments: Comments Off

The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is flat-out one of the best documentary festivals in the world.  It’s relatively small, very intimate and draws a bevy of documentary enthusiasts that fill up virtually every screening, whether day or night, weekday or weekend.

So no surprise that our Saturday morning breakfast special screening (10:10am!) was packed.  And happy to report it couldn’t possibly have gone better.

It’s still a relatively new experience to see The Kids Grow Up with an audience, so I was relieved and thrilled at how loud and frequent the laughs came during the first half hour, which is where most of the intended laughs happen to be.  As for the last half hour, where we invite the audience to go weak-kneed, curl into fetal position and burst into tears, well, it looks like we succeeded on that account, as well.

It was hugely gratifying over the next two days to have people come up to me and Marjorie and tell us how much they loved the film.  Many said it was their favorite film of the festival, which is nice even if they were stretching things a bit, or even flat-out lying.   Feel free to continue to lie to me like that in the future, dear readers.

I return much more confident that the film touches audiences deeply.  The notion has been reinforced by any number of Facebook and Twitter postings, and emails like the following from an audience member named Leah Janosko from Cary, North Carolina.

I just wanted to express my gratitude for your film “The Kids Grow Up.” I was one of the lucky (sniffling) people that had the fortune to attend your screening on Saturday morning in Durham. I was moved and touched. Your ability to put yourself and your family totally out there in such an honest, authentic and vulnerable way is such a gift to anyone who sees this film. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it.

I am the mother of a 16 year old girl (my only daughter) and it was as if you made this film specifically for me. The insights of both you and your wife were comforting in the sense that I am not the only one with these feelings. I found it interesting that during one of your answers from the Q&A following the viewing, you explained that your daughter was concerned that people would see this film and think that they know her. I came away not with knowing her but better knowing myself. Lucy represented my daughter with her laughter, intelligence, eye rolls and need for independence. Seeing how you coped (and anguished) with Lucy, is helping me process the complexity of emotions that I am feeling during this similar period of my life.

My only suggestion would be to please include longer credits at the end as I needed more time to compose myself before the lights came up.

I will keep up with information on your website and look forward to recommending this film to friends who may have an opportunity to view it. I congratulate you on an amazing piece of work and look forward to your future projects.

Leah

Our web design worker bees are working hard to create a discussion forum on the website here, not just for wonderful reactions to the film (though don’t hesitate) but for wise and pithy discussion of parenting issues brought up by the film.   Having had a ton of experience from The  D-Word, I’ll be doing some of the moderating myself, and hope to bring in an experienced co-host, as well.  It will hopefully be up and running sometime in the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for that.

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North America, Here We Come


Posted by Doug under 51 Birch Street Musings Screenings  . Comments: Comments Off

Tuesday, April 6

In a few days, the fun begins. The film gets out in front of audiences again.

Full Frame, Sarasota, Stranger Than Fiction and Hot Docs, for starters.

It’s been a quite a while since IDFA, we’ve been laying low.  But a lot is happening behind the scenes and hopefully we can share the news soon.   All I can say at this point is The Kids Grow Up will almost certainly have a theatrical release, probably beginning in the early fall.  So stay tuned.

But now it’s time to get out on the festival circuit at last.  On Thursday, Lori and I head down to the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival in Durham, NC, and it’s going to be a great three days.   Like at IDFA, we come not just to screen The Kids Grow Up but as producers of The Edge of Dreaming, which is part of the New Docs competition.  And I’ll be on the Grand Jury, which means the festival flies me down and puts me up in the lap of luxury!

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IDFA Q&A with Marjorie


Posted by Doug under Screenings The Cast  . Comments: 3

If you’ve seen the trailer for The Kids Grow Up you know that during the year the story primarily takes place my wife  Marjorie came down with a serious episode of depression.   It was horrendous to point a camera at her in that condition, and a very brief  interview was all either of us could withstand.  But destigmatizing depression is very important to her, and the footage wouldn’t be in the finished film had she not seen it early on in the editing and given her blessing.

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Leaving for IDFA


Posted by Doug under News/Updates Screenings  . Comments: Comments Off

With the Sat night world premiere screening of The Kids Grow Up looming, and the whole production team heading off for the airport in a few hours, we’re buzzing around doing all the usual things we’ve left for the very last minute.  Updating the 3-minute trailer was the most important, since the previous version ended with temp music that wasn’t exactly the right tone (a bit too melodramatic).   Not to mention, not exactly licensed.   Now it’s entirely scored by our hugely talented composer, H.  Scott Salinas, and has the right bittersweet feel.

Anyway, posters and postcards – check.  International replacement cell phone – check.  An email announcement to attending IDFA buyers and press – check.   An itinerary to make sense of all the screenings and meetings and parties – check.  Ambien for the red-eye flight over – check!!!

We had a private screening on Monday for a small group of distributors, industry folk and friends at Soho House and the audience reaction was all I could have possibly hoped for.  It’s clear this is a film that works better on a big screen with an audience, so I’m a bit calmer heading into IDFA than I would have been.   But we’ll see.

I have my Flip video camera with me, and I’ll try to post a couple of Flip Clips during the festival if I can find the time and wherewithal.  And I’ll definitely post about how things are going.  And now, fingers crossed…

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World Premiere of THE KIDS…


Posted by Doug under 51 Birch Street Musings News/Updates Press Screenings  . Comments: Comments Off

THE KIDS GROW UP will have its’ world premiere next month at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the largest and most prestigious of all documentary festivals. It’s playing in the Reflecting Images: Masters section, along with new or recent docs by, well, there’s no other term, masters such as D.A. Pennebaker & Chris Hegedus, Frederick Wiseman, Michael Moore, Joe Berlinger, Susan Froemke, Julien Temple and Michael Winterbottom. So it’s quite an honor and my hat size has swelled accordingly.

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Done at last!


Posted by Doug under Musings News/Updates  . Comments: 2

doug-and-lucy-shoulder-ride1

Hard to believe but tomorrow is the final layback of mixed soundtrack to color corrected picture and then… The Kids Grow Up is done. It’s a bittersweet moment.

I’ve been living with this film, in one form or another, for over 20 years. Or, to be more precise, from the moment my daughter Lucy was born. Not that I knew right away she would someday be the subject of a film. But because as I continued to tape with her over the years, and really only a little at a time, I began to suspect there was the makings of a film there.

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