Sundance: ‘Son Of No One’ Sales Agent Cries Foul Over Trade’s Hatchet Job

Cassian Elwes, who’s selling distribution rights to Dito Montiel’s The Son of No One, is crying foul over a barbed trade story about the film’s first Sundance screening. The piece reported that a multitude of buyers were in attendance, and described an “exodus” of walk outs before the film was over. The trade declared The Son of No One is Sundance’s first bomb, a crushing blow for a film with a great cast that includes Channing Tatum, Al Pacino, Tracy Morgan, Katie Holmes, Ray Liotta, and Juliette Binoche.

Elwes blamed the exits on a mistake by a projectionist, and said the trade story painted an unfair picture by omitting that information. He said the slam piece has negatively impacted discussions with distributors. Elwes said he’s got three offers, but suitors are trying to use the report to get a discount.

I wasn’t at the screening, but I granted Elwes’ ask to explain what happened: “About a month ago, Dito decided to add a card, two scenes before the end of the film, that says, ‘Based on the book, Story of Milk.’ That is the character’s name in the film. Yesterday, the projectionist thought that meant the movie was over, and he turned the lights on. That’s when people got up. They thought  movie had ended. Some left, but most stayed. This nasty little piece didn’t mention any of this. It’s not true that the movie is a bomb. We’re got three offers, but I feel some buyers pushing their own agenda with spin to bring the price down. Meanwhile, none of the reviews have come out. Before the press rushes to judgment, why not wait to see what real reviewers think, or at least get the story right?”

Montiel should also learn there’s a reason they put the bibliography in the back of the book, and the credits at the end of the film.

Comments (36)

  • It’s too bad someone didn’t tell Elwes to sit down and shut up. Then he could have shouted, in his best Pacino…


    Comment by A New Low — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 1:55pm PST  
    • … One of these days Channing Tatum will wake up and realize that Montiel is a mediocre film director on his *best* day. FIGHTING is probably his ceiling.

      Comment by starbomb — Wednesday January 26, 2011 @ 9:11am PST  
      • Uh, like Channing Tatum can act???

        Comment by curious1 — Thursday January 27, 2011 @ 4:22pm PST  
  • “There are no asterisks in show biz.” — Ari Gold

    Comment by Turk — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:01pm PST  
  • Cassian should stop whining, he stuck it to distributors for years, now karma is coming back to him –

    Comment by Ican'tbelieve Its not butter — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:04pm PST  
  • “White boy who went to college.”

    Comment by Fred Rubin — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:14pm PST  
  • You mean to tell me that a flash of an onscreen card gets people up out of their seats that quickly? Was the card on the screen for ten minutes? Something in the milk ain’t clean..

    Comment by Brad — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:19pm PST  
    • No, the projectionist turned the lights on when the card came up, meaning people mistakenly thought the film was over. Made sense to me

      Comment by bill — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:29pm PST  
      • Wait… Are you telling me they don’t show end credits normally at Sundance? I mean, why would the projectionist flip the lights without waiting to see if credits were coming? Very odd.

        Comment by Huhh — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 4:17pm PST  
      • i was there and the movie was terrible. i walked out halfway through and i’ve never walked out of a movie before even at festival. lots of others walked out before me. and this was well before i saw anything about “milk stories” or whatever, but that sounds just about as dumb as the parts i did witness. so sorry cass, can’t spin ‘em all

        Comment by sorry but — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 4:25pm PST  
  • That piece was certainly nasty and vicious. DITO MONTIEL is one of the most exciting new filmmakers of the last five years, and to make assumptions about this one screening means nothing. Too bad the hatchet job reflects negatively on a solid cast, a tight script, and a WONDERFUL film.

    I say to the filmmakers: HOLD YOUR HEAD UP HIGH and move forward. Sell the pic — market it well — IT IS A JOB WELL DONE! At the end of the day — your movie sells itself, and the only truth in Hollywood is this…


    Comment by Martin A. — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:19pm PST  
  • Cassian needs to wake up and realize he in no longer the king of indie film.

    Comment by I know more than you know — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:37pm PST  
    • Heard he sold a couple movies at the festival already. He and Rena Ronson really were the best sales team in town by a mile.

      Comment by Anonymous — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 3:05pm PST  
      • Yeah, she’s killing it for UTA this year. Always liked Cassian.

        Comment by Fast Freddy — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 3:29pm PST  
    • Is that why it looks like he’ll be three for three with films at sundance this year?

      Comment by hmmm — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 3:12pm PST  
  • Having watched the trailer, the movie does look good, with an interesting premise. But who the hell puts a “based on” title card like that two-scenes before the end of the movie? Granted, I’m not seeing it in context — but it sure does feel like a directorial “jerk-off.” Lame explanation for people leaving early.

    Comment by Ben — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:41pm PST  
  • Any reason WHY Montiel chose to put a title card up two scenes before the end of the film because I can’t think of one good reason to do so. I’m not surprised the projectionist assumed the movie was over and turned on the lights. However, at Sundance, is it normal for the lights to come up before the end credits have a chance to appear? Sounds like the projectionist was a bit too quick to hit the lights. Or maybe he was being paid by a rival. Something sounds off in this story.

    Comment by Basil — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:49pm PST  
  • How heartbreaking it is for artists to be slammed by reckless comments after an unfortunate screening. This film, the filmmakers and cast are some of the best in the business. How extremely hard it is to get movies with a point of view made in this marketplace. Shame on the writer to haze a movie and affect others’ careers. What’s the saying, those that can’t do, teach….those that can’t in this industry, criticize. Let’s hope the filmmaker and creative people involved prevail and have the last laugh….

    Comment by Belle Epoque — Tuesday January 25, 2011 @ 2:51pm PST  
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