Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"America the Beautiful" STILL #1 at Landmark Theater

Once again thanks for helping to spead the message of "America the Beautiful." I met some really cool people at the Landmark this past weekend. One of them was a 14 year old boy (scroll down to see him). After watching the film, he asked me what he could do to help women and the world. That floored me. It also made me realize that we ourselves, without waiting for "the powers that be," to rescue us, can make a difference in this society.

The Q&A's after the screenings this past weekend were very insightful. One of the more frequent questions that I'm asked is "what can we do about the toxins in cosmetics," and "where did you find the guys on the couch." If you haven't seen the movie, you have to see them to believe it.

Our demographic is now 40% men. It started off being 5%. But men are really coming out to see the film and they enjoy it too. Also after the Windy City Times review, I'm starting to get a lot of gay men coming to the screening. I met one gay couple that asked me "by criticizing our bodies, are we setting a bad example for our daughter?" I honestly didn't know how to answer that. But we had a great conversation in the lobby. I also got a chance to meet a lot of out of towners since it was labor day weekend. They will become disciples when ATB hits their cities.

The Q&A sessions went so well, and I enjoyed meeting all of you so much, that I'm going to do it again this weekend. This will have to be my last weekend doing it, since I'm preparing to go to additional markets. More about that soon. So if you can, come out this Friday or Saturday and we'll discuss the film after the 7pm or 9pm show. I'm looking forward to it since all of you have great things to add to the discussion. And yes, I'll have more movie posters. People love the Statue of Liberty poster. I'm always asked if I designed it and I have to tell everyone about the genius David Friedman in Oregon that created it.

Also while I'm thinking about it. I want to share this letter with you. It was sent to me by a woman that had seen the film this past Saturday. She sent this to me the same night. It really moved me:

Dear Mr. Roberts-

The experience of seeing your movie this evening was truly remarkable. I live in the neighborhood and sometimes go the the Landmark to catch whatever movie "is next" and tonight it was this film called America the Beautiful. I was expecting some sort of lame country film or perhaps a - well, I don't even know what. I had not read any reviews, heard of it from anyone, or even bothered to take note of the subject matter. My point is: I walked into your movie with a completely open mind.
Your movie struck me deeply in a very personal way. I lived in New York during the 90's where I worked in the fashion industry and saw for myself from the inside of the scene what the gritty reality really was. Some of which you touched on. I applaud you for revealing it in a way that is relatable to the viewer. I distincly remember the morning I woke up, stared at the ceiling of my Manhattan apartment, and felt compelled to refuse to use my talents to propogate the lie that is the Beauty Machine. I left New York to settle in Chicago where I changed my career from Fashion Designer to Hairstylist. I still deal in the commodity of beauty, but am mindful of the impact I have on an individual's percecption of themselves.
I was amazed by sincerity of your observations. I struggled with low self esteem in my 20s and sought professional advise. To my astonishment, I was simply advised to "not open any fashion magazines for one year". Nothing more, nothing less. I thought this person was nuts, but I did it anyway.... I abstained from subjecting myself to magazines. A year later I realized that my depression had lifted somewhere along the way and I began to have a profound respect for the sheer power of the simple seemingly innocent act of flipping through a magazine. I have tried to explain this phenomeon. Your movie gives a voice to that.
I guess I just want to thank you for all of your hard work in putting this project together. America the Beautiful is an important movie. I consider it a privledge to have seen it with my own direct vantage point. You have alot ahead of you, but it seems like you understand the importance of strength and integrity. What you have to say is very very important.
It's likely I will be in to see it a few more times...there are just so many little details and nuances to catch.
Thanks again!

I'll see you all this Friday or Saturday!

Darryl Roberts

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

This is unbelievable!

This is unbelievable, on our second weekend, we were the highest grossing film at the Landmark Century Theater for the second week in a row. This is amazing because Phil Donahue opened his new documentary there and he was there to greet people. I figured we'd be dead for the weekend, but women (and men in big numbers), came out to support the film. I even saw some people that came back for their second and third viewing. I got to meet a lot of people at the 7:10pm and 9:45pm show on Saturday. Everyone thought I was doing a Q&A, so we ended up taking over the Landmark and talking in the hall.

I really want to thank you for your support. Chicago has put independent films and documentaries in general, back on the map. I could not have done this without you. Like I said last week, a movie isn't a movie unless someone goes to see it. Well, technically it is a movie, but you know what I mean.

Since this is a holiday weekend coming up and so many of you had so many intriguing questions to ask, this Friday (May 23rd) and Saturday (May 24th), I'll be doing a Q&A after the 7:10pm and the 9:45pm show. One of the things that I'll share with you is why I turned down $1,000,000 for the rights to the film because the company wanted me to take out the scene that talks about the toxins in cosmetics that are suspected of causing cancer in women.

Also, soon I'll have some really good news to share with you about the film's expansion. Don't want to jinx myself until the ink is dry. Also a major personality is talking about coming on board to help me promote the film. I will share that news with you shortly too.

I've noticed that a lot of mother's are bringing their teenage girls to see the film. After the film, I hear them discussing the effects of the images in the media and how it makes them feel bad and effects their self-esteem. Everytime I hear a conversation like that, it let's me know that I did the right thing by spending 5 years and shooting 900 hours of film to make this movie.

So once again, with your help, let's make "America the Beautiful," # 1 - 3 weeks in a row. See you Friday or Saturday. I have some new reviews and pictures below.

Darryl Roberts

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Here we go - week #2.

Good News! I was on the Channel 7 News with Sylvia Perez last week talking about "America the Beautiful," and today they did a segment that covered one of the main topics in my film - dangerous ingredients in cosmetics. I've heard that the cosmetics industry is waiting for me to come to NY and I'm sure it won't be pretty, but it was very important for me to let you know what you're putting into your bodies, everytime you use lipstick or cologne. You know there's progress in sight when the mainstream news stations start talking about it.

I'd love for you to come out in even bigger numbers than you did last weekend. And if you're not doing anything Saturday, come out to the 7:10pm or the 9:45pm show and I'll be there giving out "America the Beautiful," movie posters. I'd love to meet you and see what you have to say about the movie.

Below are some of the reviews that we've received about the film. Look them over, see what the film's about, then come out this Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Thanks!

Darryl Roberts

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thank You Chicago!!!

Opening Weekend:
Top Grossing Film at Landmark Century
Centre Cinema!
#7 * in the country!
*(out of 134 films, on a per screen average)

First of all, I want to say thank you Chicago. You really came through this weekend. It's been a fun week. First was the Chicago Premiere last Tuesday, (pictures to the left) and then all of you came out in droves to make "America the Beautiful," the highest grossing film at the Landmark Century last weekend. And as if that wasn't enough, I got to throw out the first pitch at the Cubs game against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Sunday. (Pictures below). Now because I'm developing a friendship with you, I'm going to tell you a secret. Don't tell anyone. The ball didn't make it all the way to the plate. When I got to the mound and looked at the catcher, he seemed to be in North Dakota. Don't laugh. I'm pouring my heart out to you.

You should have seen the calls come in from Hollywood yesterday asking, "how did you do this?" They were referring to us beating "Redbelt," the highly publicized film directed by David Mamet, at the Landmark Century. They're now talking about us going into wider release in Chicago. I'm pointing this out to illustrate to you that ultimately it's you the moviegoer that decides what films are successful. I even now have a major women's organization, (can't say the name yet), that is planning to confront the cosmetics industry to demand that they remove the toxins in cosmetics after seeing the cosmetics section in "America the Beautiful." Now that would make me happy!

As we go into our second week, I'd like for those of you that haven't seen the film yet to come out this weekend and see it. It's funny and very relevant in a "I'm not going to take it anymore" kind of way. Yesterday on Mother's Day, a women came up to me with her 12 year old daughter and said "watching this film with my daughter is the best mother's day present that I could have had today." Then she hugged me. I'm not going to pretend to be a manly man, I almost cried.

Since an independent film only stays at the theater from week to week, depending on how many people come out, I hope you'll help me to make "America the Beautiful," number 1 again this weekend. If you've already seen the film, spread the word about the entertainment value of the film. Eve Ensler of "The Vagina Monologues," is hilarious. Isn't that what we go to the movies for? To be entertained.

I'll keep you posted step by step as to the progress of the film. And if you get a chance, catch me on "Chicago Tonight," Wednesday May 14th with Christian Farr at 7pm on WTTW - PBS. We're talking about the ugly truth of our unhealthy obsession with beauty. See you at the Landmark - 2828 N. Clark - this weekend!

Darryl Roberts