Roger Ebert just named his Ten Best Documentaries of the year, and “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” made the list! Of course all of us who made the movie are thrilled and honored. (His original review is here.) Ebert is quick to note, though, that like a lot of his favorite docs, very few people have seen ours yet:
Some of the best documentaries of 2009 hardly seemed to exist. “What’s the matter with Kansas,” based on a best-seller, is still awaiting its fifth vote at IMDb. “The Beaches of Agnes,” a luminous film by the New Wave pioneer Agnes Varda, grossed $127,605. “Of Time and the City,” by a great British director, grossed $32,000. “Anvil! The Story of Anvil,” a hit in terms of buzz and critical reception, brought in $666,659. “Tyson,” $827, 046.
Such figures come from IMDb, which may be wrong, but if it’s $1 million off, we’re still not talking big numbers. What we’re really talking about is eyeballs, or, as old Jewish exhibitors used to ask, “how many toochis on the seats?” The audiences for these films were found first at film festivals, and will now be found on DVD and video on demand. None of them played more than one theater in Chicago — five of them at Facets. Yet I take heart from the comments after my earlier list of the year’s best feature films.
Can we spare a vote on IMDB, faithful readers?