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To see 'Exit Through the Gift Shop,' enter through a movie theater -- UPDATED

March 26, 2010 | 12:09 pm

For those of you who were intrigued by "Exit Through the Gift Shop," the Banksy movie that played Sundance and then Berlin, the movie is coming to a theater near you. Well, if you happen to live in New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco, on April 16, or other cities subsequent to that.

The film will be given a platform release through a new distribution entity called the Producers Distribution Agency, co-founded by Cinetic Media's John Sloss, who has represented rights to the film. (Distribution through that entity is a gift of sorts for Banksy enthusiasts, who likely would have had to wait longer had the movie gone through a more conventional distributor.)

The movie's commercial appeal remains an interesting question; will the film appeal to a die-hard cadre of art-world fans or can it generate word-of-mouth among a general audience?

As you may recall from our Sundance coverage, the movie begins as a chronicle of guerrilla artist Banksy, then turns into a meditation on the value of art and slippery nature of truth as Banksy turns the camera on his chronicler, the colorful French-American Thierry Guetta. Oh, and Banksy may or may not have actually directed the picture. More on distribution plans shortly.

UPDATED -- 3:11 PM: We just caught up with Sloss, who filled us in a bit more about the plans for this film. 

Sloss says there were offers for the movie from theatrical distributors, but the combination of an innovative campaign centered around the cult of Banksy and Banksy's D.I.Y. attitude (which may have not jelled as smoothly with a traditional distributor) made this a more feasible approach. "How specific his ideas are about marketing and how [a distributor] might have insisted on marketing it might have been an issue," he acknowledged. But Sloss also underscored that Banksy was a huge asset -- practically a marketing campaign in his own right. "This is a person who really knows how to create awareness for what he's doing, and at almost no cost."

There was also no need to wait for a traditional distributor to find a far-off release date since, as Sloss deadpanned, Banksy wasn't exactly going to embark on a media tour anyway.

As for Producers Distribution Agency, Sloss said that the entity was conceived to release this film, with no plans yet for future releases. He also said that there would be an outside injection of marketing money for "Exit", and that he wasn't concerned about the conventional wisdom that it was tricky to release a one-off film because of potential theater-owner resistance. "I'm not sure the old chestnut of only being able to collect if you have other films obtains anymore."

--Steven Zeitchik

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Photo: Exit Through the Gift Shop. Credit: Sundance Film Festival


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