Latest News on The Green Girl Susan Oliver Documentary (Some Good, Some Sad)

Posted on May 31, 2014 in News

Hi Everyone,

Well, on the bright side, it’s official: The Green Girl will be at the Star Trek Convention in Las Vegas, July 30 – August 3 of 2014.  This will be the first time ever that the DVD will be available (and we’re working very hard to see to it that the Video On Demand version comes out concurrently).  We will have a booth at the convention, which will be a particularly special event because it marks the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, all of which was kicked off in late 1964 with Susan Oliver’s original pilot.  They’re going to show this pilot episode and make a big event around it (and Susan’s unforgettable role as the first ever Star Trek guest star),  so this just seems like the most obvious place to release the DVD.

On a sadder note, Biff Manard, one of Susan’s close friends in the 1970’s (and a key contributor to The Green Girl with his very heartfelt interview) has passed away at the age of 70.  Trek fans may remember Biff as the holographic 19th Century English Ruffian who accosts Data in the Star Trek Next Generation 2nd season episode “Elementary, Dear Data.”  Biff worked on many, many shows over the years (going all the way back to Bonanza and Mission Impossible), and he was a fixture at the Comedy Store in the 1970’s and ’80’s.  Rumor has it he was even in line to be the next Marlboro Man when cigarette advertising was finally banned from TV in 1973.  In any event, he and Susan were very fond of each other (he rented her guest house for a number of years in the 1970’s) and she even put him in her 1978 short film Cowboysan alongside Ted Cassidy, Woody Strode and Will Sampson.

We were very lucky to have Biff in The Green Girl and he will be dearly missed.

Biff Manard: 1943 – 2014

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So Many Green Girl Topics Today

Posted on May 10, 2014 in News

Hi Folks,

So we have a lot to talk about today!

1) It’s May 10, 24 years to the day since Susan Oliver’s untimely passing.  If she were alive today, Susan would be 82 (she left this world quite early, at just 58 years old).  While she accomplished quite a lot, I can’t help but feel that she got short-changed a bit by life and I wonder what she could have accomplished in the ’90’s and 2000’s (especially in the field of directing, where women started to at least make some non-trivial inroads during those years.)  Sorry you had to go so young, Susan.

2) On a related note, I’m saddened by the very recent news that Nancy Malone, one of Susan’s friends, co-founder of Women In Film (and one of the few women who actually did manage to have a fairly prolific directing career in the ’80’s ad ’90’s), has passed away.  You an read about it here:

I was lucky enough to interview Nancy in New York City last summer, and her appearance in The Green Girl may even represent the very last substantial interview she gave.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to meet Nancy, and her insights added greatly to the documentary.

3) People keep asking me: “When Can We See The Movie?”  I have an answer in two parts:

PART I: there will probably be a number of opportunities in the United States to see The Green Girl in a theater near you in the not too distant future.  That will depend on you and how badly you want to see it in a public venue.  I just met yesterday with a “grass roots” distribution company I came across in Toronto at HotDocs, and they are very interested in making this happen.  The key is that people like you have to step up and request a screening in your city (and then follow through by encouraging everyone you know to buy tickets – if enough people do so, your screening will happen).  These will be one-off screenings, held wherever and whenever there’ sufficient demand, and in at least some cases we can do a Q&A afterwards (with me on Skype if not actually there in person).  IF YOU WANT TO HAVE A SCREENING IN YOUR CITY AND ARE WILLING TO HELP SPREAD THE WORD SO PEOPLE BUY TICKETS AND COME, PLEASE CONTACT ME! (Several of you already have.)  A lot of this will be done via social media, and we don’t need huge turnouts to make these screenings happen.  I’ll have more details on the logistics of all this in the coming weeks as I work with the distributor.

PART II: I know there are a number of very generous people who supported us via Kickstarter, IndieGoGo and through the donations link on this website, and you’re all anxious to get DVDs and/or digital downloads of the movie and want to know when that will happen.  At HotDocs last week (and since then, in discussions with the many distributors and sales agents I’m in contact with), I’ve gotten the same response over and over again: “If you send out DVDs or video links to hundreds of people before you sign with us, you can forget about ever getting your movie distributed.”  Those are pretty definitive words, unfortunate though they may be.  Nobody wants to invest the time, money or effort to distribute a movie that’s already gone out to that many people (especially via a digital download that might quickly and easily end up anywhere).

This is an unfortunate reality that many of us who have crowdfunded our films are now learning (the makers of “I Am Big Bird,” another documentary which was at HotDocs last week and to which I donated back in 2012, have been sending out messages saying the same thing to all of their backers).  As to when the home video release will happen (allowing me to send out the movie to all our wonderful backers), I just can’t accurately predict that yet.  As one of the distributors told me over lunch yesterday, they have all been working non-stop since January: Sundance, followed by Berlin, followed by South-by-Southwest, followed by HotDocs, followed by Cannes (this month).  At each of these events, they’ve been exposed to dozens of new prospective films, so that when Cannes ends and they finally get to stay home for awhile, they’ll be spending the next few months making final decisions as to what films they will pick up and release, and the release details will only come out at that point.

From the standpoint of The Green Girl, realistically, there’s no way this could possibly all happen in less than a few months, maybe even longer (and I have no way of accurately predicting the exact date since I don’t even know who will be releasing the movie yet).  I do know that this is a wonderful little film and it seems to resonate deeply with almost everyone who sees it, so I do believe it has the potential to reach a lot of people – but that can only happen if I listen to what the distributors are all telling me and do things their way.

I sincerely apologize for the delay and I hope you can understand why it’s happened.  In the meantime, I’ve just started shipping the T-Shirts and other perks our donors signed up for, and this substantial effort will continue over the next few weeks (much to the chagrin of everyone unfortunate enough to be in line behind me at my local Post Office).

I promise that you will be able to see the movie on home video later this year (I just don’t know exactly when yet!).


The Green Girl is Back from Toronto!

Posted on May 4, 2014 in News

I just wanted to update all of you on my week in Toronto at the 2014 HotDocs Festival and Conference (just got back 2 nights ago).  As you may know already, we finished the movie too late to enter it into the HotDocs festival this year, but we were able to make it available for viewing to the many, many sales agents, distributors and festival programers who attend HotDocs in search of interesting new documentaries.  I had meetings with about a dozen of these folks representing a variety of release opportunities (traditional theatrical, “grass roots” theatrical, traditional home video, cable, and Internet-based delivery, both abroad and in the U.S.).   I focused mainly on New York area  and Canadian companies, and I made some initial contacts with the LA-based companies (I didn’t put a lot of time into these beyond the intros since I can and will meet with at least a few of these people back here in LA over the next few weeks).

It’s a waiting game now as people view the film, discuss it with the others at their respective companies and then decide if The Green Girl is right for them.  Then come the hard decisions on my end: which ones to go with?  (It will be a good problem to have – I’m not complaining!)  So far, I’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback from people who’ve seen the movie and who had no idea what an extraordinary life Susan Oliver led (and, in some cases, didn’t even know who she was).

Which reminds me that we had a private screening at a local university here in LA the night before I flew to Toronto.  The audience numbered about 80, mostly 20-ish college students, and I was happy to see that even though they came in with absolutely no prior knowledge of Susan, they were really drawn into her story, paid close attention (didn’t talk, didn’t text, and didn’t leave) and they asked a lot of good questions at the Q&A afterwards.  Overall, I’m very gratified by these anecdotal instances of seeing the movie have the effect I desired it to have from day one.

I’ll update you as we learn more over the next several weeks.  Thanks for stopping by!