Hollywood studios have become more innovative in recent months, hosting drive-in launch events and virtual screening parties to celebrate new projects in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. So, for the release of their latest film, Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire,” Focus Features planned something new.
The studio has launched a virtual retrospective of the award-winning filmmaker’s work, titled “Made Up: The Multiplicity of Miranda July.” For the special showcase, Focus Features partnered with the Brooklyn Academy of Music and American Cinematheque to host a three-day event for their members, as well as July’s fans. The virtual program is now live and will run through Sept. 26 at 10 a.m. PT.
“Whether it was 2020 or any other year, our team at Focus have always looked for ways to push the boundaries to celebrate the great filmmakers we work with,” Focus Features chairman Peter Kujawski says. “Miranda’s vast artistry across so many mediums made her an ideal fit for this format and the virtual approach gave us the opportunity to showcase Miranda’s work far wider than any in-person retrospective ever has.”
The virtual retrospective, which is intended to “illuminate the multidimensionality and timeliness of [July’s] work,” consists of a custom-built website that boasts a chronological sampling of July’s entire career. The site includes samples from and insights into her early performance art work and other personal projects to her feature films, including her critically acclaimed debut “Me and You and Everyone We Know.” The film premiered at Sundance, earning a special Jury Prize and went on to earn the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Miranda has been such a tremendous partner in this unchartered territory and we couldn’t have pulled this together without her open mind and creative genius,” Kujawski explains.
“Kajillionaire,” July’s third feature length film, stars Evan Rachel Wood, Gina Rodriguez, Debra Winger and Richard Jenkins. As part of the virtual exhibit, the film will debut Sept. 24 at 5 p.m. PT, followed by a Q&A with July, Wood and Rodriguez moderated by Natasha Lyonne.
“Focus has been incredibly agile and thoughtful about the release of ‘Kajillionaire’ in this new world,” July says. “They have let go of or shifted some expectations and used their resources to double down in other areas — becoming more creative and more specific about inclusion and trying brand new experiments like the virtual retrospective/premiere.”
She adds: “This is the first time a distributor has taken care to present my work across all mediums and I think it’s the perfect time for it, as the audience itself is increasingly engaged in so many different forms of storytelling.”