Thanks to Stage 32 member, Lisa Leyva, and Millennium films, I had the opportunity to screen Bernie, starring Jack Black, ahead of it's release. It's a fantastic film with a Fargo-esque vibe. After blowing audiences away at the Tribeca Film Festival and selling out theaters in limited release, Bernie expands to over 100 theaters this weekend and further still next weekend. I highly recommend seeking it out. It's indiefilm at its finest. And, of course, you'll be supporting a fellow member of the Stage 32 community.
I asked Lisa to write about her role in bringing Bernie to the big screen. It's an inspirational tale full of passion and determination. Proof positive that if you will it and believe in yourself, anything can happen.
Lisa is the founder and CEO of MIGLEX, which is the parent company to MIGLEX Films, MIGLEX Productions, and MIGLEX Entertainment. She is currently producing under MIGLEX Films which is a boutique studio specializing in the acquisition, distribution, financing, and production of independent, as well as, mainstream commercial projects. MIGLEX Films has a distribution model in place evolving with trends and technology, allowing them to tailor its distribution platform, for the filmmaker’s project, to reach the widest possible audience.
To view Lisa's profile, click here - http://www.stage32.com/profile/43336/lisa-leyva
Lisa will also be available to answer any and all questions as well as accept gracious commentary. Feel free to post either or both in the comments section below.
Enjoy! -- RB
As Millennium Entertainment expands the release of Bernie to 100 markets this weekend, I am reflective of my experience with the film, and what it has taught me during the last year.
This time, a year ago, I was preparing to attend the Los Angeles Film Festival (LAFF), making my list of films to track, contacting sales agents, and hoping I was on the right path. I learned there are no rules in this industry, no road maps, and for the most part no one to really guide you. My background was not in film, so I was not taken too seriously, at all. My knowledge of films only made me appear to be, at best, a film buff, which does not rank in “The Industry”, for much. Although, I had attended the Sundance Film Festival that same year, I was there to begin to learn the lay of the land, and not much came of that festival for me, except that I realized my passion for films, could be a new career path for me.
Bernie was the opening night film at LAFF 2011. I thought since it was set for opening night that the film was probably being distributed already. I did some research and found that Bernie was not acquired for distribution, so as I read the synopsis and cast for the film, I was shocked and excited, to say the least. Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, AND directed by Richard Linklater! Needless to say, I made a phone call to the team over at Millennium to understand if they were aware this film was available, and would they be attending the screening. They were not, on both counts. I suggested they all attend, because I thought it would be a great acquisition for them. We all attended that evening.
The film was fantastic! I loved it! There were still many members of the team to convince, though. The film’s story is based in Texas about a real life story. Did I mention I’m originally from Texas? This made for a hard sell on my part to the team.
I was convinced that the film could be a commercial success, because Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine, Matthew McConaughey, and Richard Linklater, all have a following. Aside from that knowledge, I only had my instincts to go on, regarding my conviction for the acquisition and distribution of Bernie. I followed my instincts. I also believed that Linklater did an incredible job and proved to be a masterful storyteller. The film’s characters and music stay with you long after you’ve left the theater, and for me that speaks to the director’s vision and ability to tell a story. Simply stated, Bernie needed to be shared.
On opening weekend (April 27th), Bernie sold out many showings.
I received a text from my Mother that weekend, who still resides back home in Texas. She asked me to read an article about Bernie that appeared in the local paper from my hometown. I told her I’d get to it, as Bernie was and is receiving tons of press, so I was not surprised that it had reached my hometown, as well. She insisted, so I pulled up this article to find that the ‘real Bernie’ and I are connected. We share the same hometown. Here I was in a new city, working hard, hoping to contribute, to find my way, and there was Bernie to help me along. Some things are meant to be. What are the odds? Bernie and I hail from West Texas! Well, it’s a true as the story the film tells. Bernie has come full circle for me.
Since June, and the acquisition of Bernie, I attended the Toronto Film Festival, where I consulted on the acquisition of Rampart, which made an Academy run for Woody Harrelson’s performance, and Intruders, starring Clive Owen, released this February.
I feel lucky to be able to say I was part of the team to bring Bernie to screens soon-to-be everywhere. The final expansion of Bernie will take it to 1100 screens nationwide.
Thank you to all of you that have supported me here at Stage32, and especially RB for allowing me to share my experience with you.
First Film with its own APP!!!
The Real Bernie
Go like Bernie on Facebook, follow on Twitter and check out the website to see new theater listings as it expands nationwide:
Twitter - @BernieMovie @Millennium_Ent
Bernie T-shirts will be on sale soon…stay tuned!
Rampart was released On–Demand and DVD May 15th, check it out!