Promoting her indie pic like a punk rock band promotes its tour, 27-year-old Sarah Jacobson, has traveled in a van to screenings all over the country.
An example of do it yourself filmmaking, her $50,000 pic went from premiering at the Chicago Underground Film Festival (where Roger Ebert gave it a rave) to the Sundance Film Festival.
The San Francisco filmmaker has traveled with “Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore” to screenings in Austin, Texas; Cleveland, Ohio; Pittsburgh, Madison, Wis.; Portland, Ore.; and Seattle. Jacobson was not discriminating in terms of the quality of the screening venue, punk rock clubs served her just fine.
When “Mary Jane” screened to rave reviews at a San Francisco art gallery, it made an unprecedented move to Landmark’s Opera Plaza Theater for a successful commercial run.
Pic’s a wacky story about a repressed teenager who sells popcorn at an art house movie theater and who learns about her thriving, uncontrollable sexual side in a very unceremoniously way and has become a touring event movie.
Jacobson’s prior pics and promotional passion have left their mark. Her first film, “I was a Teenage Serial Killer” was named one of the “top 25 underground films of all time” by Spin magazine, her Web site has drawn raves and Spin magazine called her one of the top 50 influences on the neo-feminist movement “girl culture.”
Despite her desire to get “Mary Jane” seen by as many people as possible, Jacobson has so far avoided begging for the services of a Hollywood agent or other representation. “If it happens, it happens, but I just want to prove that I can do it myself, something that’s happened so far.”
One showbiz opinion maker she’s grateful to is Ebert, who hung out with “Mary Jane’s” crew and cast at Sundance and has been nothing but supportive, even pointing to her Web site as an example of filmmaking self promotion on a panel at Cannes.
“He was probably one of the most famous people at Sundance, and he didn’t care that we didn’t have the type of buzz other films did. He supported us and talked about us anyway. I love him!”