Adam Bhala Lough wowed auds at the Tribeca and Los Angeles film fests last spring with “Bomb the System,” his stylish, vibrant debut about a graffiti artist “bombing” the streets of New York. Pic has since won a spate of awards at smaller fests (including a director kudo at Urbanworld) and garnered a Spirit nom for first feature. .
But it’s still without a U.S. deal.
“The smaller festivals, while prestigious, are great platforms but they’re not markets,” says Lough, “so people don’t come with their checkbooks.”
The helmer and producer Ben Rekhi financed the pic, based on Lough’s award-winning NYU short “Jes One,” through wealthy friends and connections with Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. The result is a dazzling display of visual panache that, so far, hasn’t connected with acquisition execs.
Lough lists a litany of studio gripes: There’s no major star; there’s formal experimentation; and lastly, he adds, “There’s hip-hop in the movie, but it’s not a hip-hop film, so companies don’t know how to market it.”
While Lough isn’t sure the Spirit nom can help get the film in theaters, he says, “It’s already helping us move forward. The day that the nominations were announced, my agency was flooded with phone calls.”
Even if he doesn’t pick up the kudo while he’s in L.A., the Brooklyn-based Lough says, “I’m going to be meeting with a lot of people from the studios while I’m there.”