R2Pc: Road To Park City

A how-to manual for aspiring filmmakers in the form of a broadly comic mockumentary, inspired by writer/director Bret Stern's book How to Shoot a Feature Film for Under $10,000 (and Not Go to Jail). Stern's gimmicky conceit is to follow aspiring auteur John (N.Y.-based comic John Viener) as he stumbles through the filmmaking process, guided...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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A how-to manual for aspiring filmmakers in the form of a broadly comic

mockumentary, inspired by writer/director Bret Stern's book How to Shoot a

Feature Film for Under $10,000 (and Not Go to Jail). Stern's gimmicky

conceit is to follow aspiring auteur John (N.Y.-based comic John Viener) as he

stumbles through the filmmaking process, guided only by a determination to

take a film to the Sundance festival in Park City, Utah. That John has no idea

how to make a movie — or even what movie he wants to make — hardly

matters. After all, who hasn't read about successful filmmakers ("successful"

meaning they finished a film and got it shown somewhere) who dove right in,

figuring filmmaking is no bigger a deal than slapping together a set of

bookshelves from milk crates and boards? So John starts asking questions ("I

feel like an idiot," he laughs, and sounds like one too), mostly of real

people who don't quite seem to be in on the joke. They include representatives

of SAG and the DGA, screenwriters, lab guys, producers, equipment rental

managers, New York City's film commissioner, various crew members and a couple of pals, including one who suggests making a B&W film so pretentious and

confusing people will say it's great just to avoid feeling dumb. In between,

John does an execrable stand-up routine about his travails, and a priss who

calls himself "Mr. Film" (Eric Leffler) explains some key concepts. Though the

film contains solid information about the complicated mix of technical

know-how, business savvy and dogged determination needed to finish a film,

it's hugely smug and annoying. Stern (son of photographer Bert Stern and

ballerina Allegra Kent) has told interviewers he originally envisioned a more

straightforward instructional film; the frat-boy yuks crept in as they were

shooting. And though it didn't go to Sundance, the film opened the competing

Slamdance Festival in 2000.

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  • Released: 2001
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: A how-to manual for aspiring filmmakers in the form of a broadly comic mockumentary, inspired by writer/director Bret Stern's book How to Shoot a Feature Film for Under $10,000 (and Not Go to Jail). Stern's gimmicky conceit is to follow as… (more)

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