For filmmakers Roger Nygard and W.K Border, it was at least the 20th screening of "Trekkies." This time, it was for a handful of executives from October Films, who were curious about the documentary that had been the source of some industry buzz this summer.
The mood in the small screening room at the Charles Aidikoff theater in Beverly Hills was somber. There was an occasional guffaw here and there, but the reaction was nothing extraordinary.
After the lights came up, the representatives of independent film distributor got up, shook hands with the filmmakers, exchanged pleasantries and were gone.
Weeks later, "Trekkies" is still unsold. About a dozen more screenings have been held since, hundreds of invitations and letters have been sent to studios, dozens of meetings have been held with Hollywood decision makers, and a Web site has been created to try to hook a distributor.
By last week, the filmmakers had stopped the screenings. Everybody in town who could possibly be interested in the film had already seen it. Next, they will make the film festival rounds.
Whatever happens, it stands to be a long wait before "Trekkies" is known to the general public. If ever.
More than 1,000 independent films are shopped to distributors every year, and only a tiny fraction are bought. Documentaries are an even longer shot.
But to the most ardent of documentary producers, there is still that chance that their movie will be the next "When We Were Kings," whose creator, Leon Gast, sold his film for $3.5 million the highest payoff ever for a documentary.
"God knows, there are many different ways for an independent film to get made and shopped and released," said Robert Berger, executive producer of the independent film "House of Yes," which found a distributor in Miramax Films. "Some never see the light of day, after people have maxed out their credit cards and have mortgaged their houses. For every success story, there's probably 40 or 50 that will never be seen."
Despite the problems finding a distributor for "Trekkies," its creators 35-year-old director Nygard, producer Border and co-executive producer and star Denise Crosby say it has been worth the effort.
The three are not exactly newcomers to Hollywood. Nygard has directed and sold independent films for almost a decade. Border owns a post-production house in West Hollywood, Neo Motion Pictures, and Crosby (Bing Crosby's daughter-in-law) is an actress who played Lt. Tasha Yar on "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
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