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Entertainment behind the scenes

“Get Low” almost got lost before getting to Toronto

September 13, 2009

market1(writing and reporting by Cameron French)

Much has been made about the difficulty for films to get funding in the current environment. You can read about that here and here. And new film “Get Low,” starring Robert DuVall and Sissy Spacek, seems to have narrowly avoided becoming a casualty to the recession, as well as tough times in the indie film market.

The film drama, about a hermit of a man who lives a lonely life in the deep woods of Tennessee, premiered here at the Toronto International Film Festival over the weekend, but to hear producer Dean Zanuck tell it, the film came within a Wall Street whisker of having never been made.

Zanuck said the film’s major backer and private equity source committed production funds on a day when the financial markets took their first major dive last year.duvall

Now, locking in money to make movies has become a wild “cowboy” game of bluffing, Zanuck told reporters at a news conference. “The (talent) managers and agents want to know you have the money (and) the money wants you to have the actors … You have to give the impression it (the film) is a moving train.”

“Get Low” got made, but it isn’t out of the woods. The movie has yet to land a distribution deal, meaning it may never even be seen in theaters. But Zanuck said its debut on Saturday here at TIFF has brought out a number of interested distributors.

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