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The Reeler Blog

Abel Ferrara Not Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

Rocks indeed: Abel Ferrara directs Bijou Phillips in a reenactment from Chelsea on the Rocks (Photo: Marzia Schirripa)
So I've been fired, hired and gotten back to work -- all in the last couple weeks, a turnaround for which I feel fortunate and grateful. Thanks to everyone who wrote with notes of encouragement and support after Nick Denton's hatchet cleaved my skull, and for those thoughtful words of congratulations when Movieline grabbed me and my colleagues to relaunch the late, great magazine online. Should be a hoot!

Not a hoot: What's happening with Abel Ferrara, none of whose films have experienced a decent (if any) theatrical release in the United States for almost a decade. I'd heard last week that his documentary Chelsea on the Rocks -- about the storied history and cloudy future of the Chelsea Hotel (we covered it back in 2007) -- may not get the March 20-26 premiere run that Anthology Film Archives planned for it. Which would be about par for Ferrara's course: Cannes premiere to Stateside obscurity in 10 months flat.

And which would be confirmed a few hours ago by Anthology itself: "Anthology has been informed that the distributor with whom it booked the film, Empire Film Group / Hannover House, has decided not to, or is unable to, follow through on its plans to represent the film," a press release announced this afternoon, breaking a succession of hearts around the East Village and prompting my own disappointment that Empire could so ruthlessly toy with Abel fans' slowing, smoke-shrouded hearts. Was Hounddog just not the black-ink geyser that Empire needed to push Chelsea through? Tragic.

Alas, Abel -- there's always the NY International Inde... Fine, never mind. Full release, your crying jags after the jump. -- STV


Abel Ferrara’s CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS Premiere Run at Anthology
HAS BEEN CANCELED by the film’s producers

Premiere run was originally scheduled for March 20 - 26

Anthology Film Archives regretfully announces that it will not be able to open the new feature CHELSEA ON THE ROCKS for its premiere engagement, which had been scheduled to screen daily from March 20 to 26. Anthology has been informed that the distributor with whom it booked the film, Empire Film Group / Hannover House, has decided not to, or is unable to, follow through on its plans to represent the film. The producers have thus canceled the engagement despite the prior commitment for the NY Theatrical Premiere which was announced by Anthology. Citing contractual reasons, the producers have declined to honor this commitment.


Posted at March 10, 2009 3:18 PM

Comments (3)

What a bummer. It would be nice to know why. (I still haven't seen Ken Park.) The Chelsea felt like Europe, I drank wine there with a tromp l'oeil painter and his girlfriend; he kept rubbing my foot with his (foot) under the table.

Anthology makes me think of Film-Makers Coop.

Mr. Lichman, your NYU friends had a huge night in L.A. last night, they had to hold a second screening at 11 pm.

I was fortunate to have seen "Chelsea on the Rocks" at Cannes last year. Abel Ferrara combines archival footage and reenacted scenes from Sid and Nancy’s last days while staying at the Chelsea Hotel, with interviews of some of the famous hotel’s more colorful residents to elucidate the passing of one of Manhattan’s landmark havens for artists. Stanley Bard, the hotel’s well-loved manager and caretaker for 45 years, was pushed out by a new management company intent on raising profits with a Chateau Marmont-like renovation. "Chelsea on the Rocks" is just one more reminder of the war on culture taking place on a vast scale all over the world.

Its quite sad that most auteurs are not getting a chance to showcase their films.

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