Saturday, June 23, 2012

CRM Dials Into Dallas Cowboys Fan Nation

The name of the documentary about tailgaters at Dallas Cowboys home games is America's Parking Lot, a nod to the debatable idea that this is still America's Team. But there's no doubt that more people will soon get a chance to see the film, thanks to a just-signed deal with Cinetic Rights Management (CRM).

“Just by virtue of playing a top-tier festival like SXSW, we got a good number of solicitations from distributors and sales reps,” producer Jason Wehling tells FilmStew. “By last month, we had four solid offers for varying types of distribution, each of which was quite intriguing. We chose CRM's FilmBuff for a number of reasons: their workflow has been proven; we liked the terms of the deal; and on a personal level, we connected with our contacts there.”

CRM will rep America's Parking Lot for both online markets and U.S. TV sales. Following SXSW, the film screened at the Dallas International Film Festival, Oklahoma's Dead Center event and was the opening night attraction the 2012 Little Rock Film Festival. Wehling and director Jonny Mars, who were both at this year's LA Film Fest with another film (Saturday Morning Massacre), spent four consecutive seasons filming in the parking lots of the two successive Cowboys stadiums.

“All of our legal research made it clear that we were free to shoot in the parking lot, but not in the games, so we didn't get permission,” Wehling confirms. “Obviously, we rest some of our footage on 'fair use' type arguments, but it has been vetted, and we believe it's clear. The Cowboys organization has seen the finished film, and while we don't expect an endorsement, they were quite polite with us.”

The plan is to make America's Parking Lot available on cable VOD and other transactional online platforms in time for Thanksgiving. Around the same time, Wehling is planning a mini-theatrical tour with help from the Texas Independent Film Network.

“We're also hoping to get a distribution partner to take us into Mexico,” he says. "The Cowboys practiced there for much of the 80s, and they have a huge fan base there.”

“On our own, we're looking to try and get DVDs - which we still control – of the standard cut and another version we call the 'Cowboy cut.' That's more of an homage to the old stadium, and will hopefully be in stores in the southwest for the holidays. We think it might make a decent gift item.”

For the Little Rock screening, one of the documentary's two main protagonists, Cy, drove to town with his tailgating trailer hub. A downtown street was also blocked off for an opening night “tailgate.”

As far as the Austin-based Wehling's own NFL allegiances, they tip in favor of a couple of America's other teams. “I was a Houston Oilers fan growing up, but now root with my Pittsburgher wife for the Steelers, however terrible their quarterback. I'll admit to liking the Texans too, but not in front of my wife.”

Wehling's previous producer credits include the 2008 feature August Evening, winner of the Independent Spirit Awards' John Cassavetes prize. He was also a programmer for PBS' Independent Lens from 2002 to 2005.

[America's Parking Lot]

1 comment:

  1. The Cowboys organization has seen the finished film, and while we don't expect an endorsement, they were quite polite with us.Great stuff