The first buyers’ screening took place on Sunday at the Cannes Film Festival. Tarantino’s ninth film, “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” premiered at Cannes on Tuesday night.
Producer Tara Wood completed “QT8: The First Eight” after a protracted legal battle to regain the rights following a production deal with the Weinstein Company back in 2016. The screening in Cannes was the first time potential distributors saw the final cut of the film.
The documentary profiles Tarantino’s first eight movies through interviews with his casts, producers and industry friends, including Zoe Bell, Bruce Dern, Robert Forster, Jamie Foxx, Samuel L. Jackson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Diane Kruger, Lucy Liu, Michael Madsen, Eli Roth, Tim Roth, Kurt Russell and Christoph Waltz, plus producers Stacey Sher and Richard Gladstein, filmmaker Scott Spiegel, and film critic Louis Black.
Wood also produced “21 Years: Richard Linklater,” which was released in 2014, and had originally called the Tarantino documentary “21 Years: Quentin Tarantino.” Both films draw upon the idea that the first 21 years of work define an artist’s career.
Wood’s battle began three years ago when she sold worldwide rights to the Weinstein Company in a deal announced at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival with Harvey Weinstein’s enthusiastic endorsement. Harvey and Bob Weinstein began working with Tarantino three decades ago on “Reservoir Dogs” and had partnered with the director on all of his projects — until the company shut down last year in the wake of an onslaught of sexual harassment allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
Wood said production meetings with TWC on the project stopped in October 2016, and the company was uncommunicative after that. When the sexual misconduct scandal broke, Wood asked TWC to return the distribution rights “to allow the project to be handled with the care and consideration it, Mr. Tarantino and all the participants deserve.”
The company refused and TWC filed for bankruptcy in March 2018. The bankruptcy court dealt with hundreds of titles, but did not respond to Wood’s attempts to reclaim the rights. In July, Lantern Entertainment bought the TWC assets, and pulled the documentary out of the TWC sale in September. The bankruptcy court granted Wood the rights back in November.
Tarantino’s first film was 1992’s “Reservoir Dogs.” His body of work includes “Pulp Fiction,” “Jackie Brown,” the two “Kill Bill” movies, “Inglourious Basterds,” “Django Unchained” and “The Hateful Eight.” “Django Unchained” was the highest grosser, making $425 million worldwide. Tarantino won Oscars for the “Pulp Fiction” and “Django Unchained” screenplays, and was nominated for directing “Pulp Fiction,” and writing and directing “Inglourious Basterds.”