Penn Jillette (of the world famous illusionist team, Penn & Teller) wrote a screenplay in 2015 for a feature length film called Directors' Cut. Filmmaker Adam Rifkin was chosen as the director. Director's Cut was selected to screen at the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival. Emily Jillette, Penn's wife, handled all the fundraising for the film through a crowd funding program.
Hosting a delightful continental breakfast with the Director's Cut cast, crew and Slamdance attendees proved to be one of the highlights during the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival. The information shared was relevant, important for filmmakers to glean from and relatable to film enthusiasts while explaining a different style of filmmaking.
On the festival's opening day, I happened to see Penn & Teller leisurely walking down Park City, Utah's Main Street. Every few hundred feet, they'd make a stop to acknowledge a fan when asked for an autograph, a photo or simply to chat. The two entertainers were in no hurry. It was a happy sight to observe. Their kindness was impressive. Their demeanor was out of the ordinary of celebrities attending a film festival. Usually "stars" are quickly dodging fans which make star-sightings more of a hectic frenzy. Not Penn & Teller, one could tell they were comfortable in their skin and appreciative of anyone who wished to speak to them.
A few days later, during a special coffee hour with Penn & Teller, I heard first-hand the importance and their sincere appreciation for their fan base. In their world it is never taken for granted. They share their humble beginnings as entertainers and the incredible opportunities afforded them on their professional journey. Penn & Teller are among the few entertainers today who continue to meet-and-greet their fans after every performance. Often taking hours they are the last ones to leave the scene. It reminds me of clergy couples in a church and how they love on their congregants. They make sure no one is left out and have no qualms being the last ones to leave the church house. It's just a part of the job.
The crew shared the incredible job Emily Jillette did with her crowd funding program to raise the money for the film. The hard work and dedication to the project were in part due to her personal touch to each and every donor. This allowed her to be creative in the efforts to acknowledge and showcase the donors. Impressive was one way she designed to show the list of donors names (over 5,000) on the screen during the film's out takes. It was an art in and of itself.
The Director's Cut, was in the special screening category of the film festival meaning it only is to showcase one time. This made the following morning coffee hour with Penn & Teller and Rifkin an attractive event. The session was most enlightening and as always the entertainers were the last ones to leave the room.
Jillette and Rifkin's film Director's Cut, was made in the USA. It is 82 minutes in length and noted as a world premiere during the Slamdance Film Festival 2016. A short synopsis here below:
It's a movie within a movie. The story is about a filmmaker explaining how to make a film and using crowd funding to financially make ends meet. The film starts out as a documentary but slowly morphs into a strange thriller with the director as a main character. It has similar scenes that make up the creepiness of a Phantom of the Opera story line. In the Directors' Cut a mentally unstable film director kidnaps his favorite actress Missi Pyle to star in his sub-par film. Once Missi's kindness wares off, the director is in for a big surprise as to the conclusion of his narrative.