Known Introduced The Unknown
We were mixing Koyaanisqatsi in the Goldwyn Studios, but at nighttime into 7:00 in the morning, because it was cheaper. Francis was wandering through the halls one night for a screening he had set up, and he ducked in to see what we were doing. He loved what he saw. He said, “Gee, could you make a screening of that for me?” And of course I was delighted, and to make a long story short, he saw the film and he loved the film, and he said, “I’ll do anything I can to make this available to the public,” and he offered us his name, and that was music, of course, to my ears. Why? Because Francis is like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Marilyn Brando and all wrapped into one. He’s like a public figure, known by the public, and nine out of eight people that went to see Koyaanisqatsi, assumed it was a Francis Coppola film at the beginning.1
It got people in the door. It introduced the — the known introduced the unknown. Same thing with Lucas, he offered to put his name on the second film.2 Francis, again, a known introducing same thing with Soderbergh in the year 2000, March the 19th, there was an article in the New York Times, Philip had received so much advertisement or so many features by that time, and his films were being played or our films were being played at BAM, so they asked to do a feature on myself.3 I said I would do so if they let me talk about Naqoyqatsi, which I was looking to get financing for, and they said okay.
And Ty Burr interviewed me as an independent interviewer for The Times, and Soderbergh responded that afternoon, Philip through a producer of his, that knew Philip and got me in touch with Steven. I talked to him that night. He asked if I could come to L.A. and he had one question for me, “Do I have the emotional capacity to go forward now after working 11 years to try to get this off the ground?” I said, “Yes” immediately, and he provided the money. So, he was a real angel and it came by virtue of this article in the New York Times. And then at the end, the Visitors, he came to see the film, had a big response to it, felt we had somehow upped our game. Us, being Philip and I and Jon and the crew. And I must say parenthetically, when I — in the work I do, “I” means “we”, to be clear. So, he said he wanted to do anything possible. Anyway, to make a long story short, he’s now presenting the film, he’s driving the distribution bus. He brings the distributor together for the film and the live performances of the film, and without him, the film wouldn’t have the opportunity it has now to, at least, be out in front of the public.