Directors yak about DVDs at ‘Dance panel

'Butterfly' flutters with extras, Jarecki given latitude with 'Friedmans'

PARK CITY — “The Butterfly Effect” co-directors Eric Bress and J. Mackeye Gruber have already completed the bonus features for the DVD version of their movie, which opens this weekend. New Line says the filmmakers managed to go over budget on the extras.

Nonetheless, Mike Mulvihill, VP for content development at New Line Home Video, said at a panel Sunday evening during the Sundance Film Festival that the additional material for New Line’s Infinifilm version of the movie warranted the extra expense.

Bress and Gruber joined Andrew Jarecki, director of 2002 Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Capturing the Friedmans,” on the Directors DVD Panel produced by Variety sister magazine DVD Exclusive at the Skyy View Lounge and sponsored by New Line’s Infinifilm line of special-edition DVDs.

Gruber and Bress also worked on the Infinifilm version of a movie they co-wrote, “Final Destination 2.”

Jarecki’s film, being released by HBO Home Video in a two-disc DVD set Jan. 27 — the same day it could well be nominated for an Academy Award — has many of the same bonus features, which provide viewers more detail about the subject matter of the film.

Jarecki was granted latitude — not extended to all filmmakers by all studios — to compile and produce extra features. He said this is important because the DVD offers the most complete and comprehensive version of the film and material releated to it.

The filmmakers on the panel discussed the importance of providing more on the DVD than just bad scenes that were deleted from a movie.

Gruber and Bress said their DVD of “Butterfly Effect” features an optional alternate version of the film with a different ending — not just a director’s cut — as well as interviews with experts on chaos theory, the basis of the movie.

Jarecki included film footage of the sometimes heated conversations that took place at screenings of the film, as well as additional homemovies taken by the Friedmans, documents from the trial of the family members, and answers to frequently asked questions.

Jarecki elicited through a show of hands from the standing-room-only crowd during panel discussion that nearly all of them watch DVD bonus features right after they view the movie, and that most of them listen to audio commentaries.

Jarecki predicted that DVD and panel discussions such as this one will rapidly become a more prominent part of the Sundance Film Festival as filmmakers realize the value of DVD in including bonus features for theatrical films. Gruber and Bress said DVD is also fast becoming more acceptable as a first-release medium for indie filmmakers who can’t find a theatrical distributor.

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