IFC Films Lands Fave Sundance Doc 'Room 237' About 'The Shining'
One of my favorite documentaries that I'm really hoping breaks out from Sundance this year is Room 237, a little-known, fan-favorite doc about Stanley Kubrick's The Shining and all the crazy conspiracy theories hidden within. It played in the New Frontier (the "experimental") category at Sundance this year. I caught it late in the fest with a bunch of film bloggers after we'd spent the night buzzing about it, and it surpassed all of our expectations, topping a lot of Best Of lists and earning a place in our hearts for just being a wacky but fascinating deconstruction of The Shining. Thankfully IFC Films has just acquired the doc for distribution!
The news comes from Deadline where they say that indie distributor IFC Films has picked up the doc and is planning a "theatrical/day and date VOD release" later in the year, after it plays fests like New Directors New Films in New York this spring. The doc is a bit controversial because, while it features various "experts" discussing Kubrick's theories and meanings (as voiceover), it's made up entirely of footage from The Shining and various other movies (Kubrick's films, other free use material, and so on). Much of the discussion I heard at Sundance revolved around concerns over rights and if they could even distribute this considering the amount of footage from The Shining (which is owned by Warner Bros) they use, but it seems like that's not as big of a concern as we first thought. That or IFC has come up with some tricks to beat the legalities.
My first thought after watching Room 237 was that I cannot wait to get home and re-watch The Shining. It brings up theories like that Kubrick faked the original Moon landing and proves it with things hidden in the film, or that The Shining also addresses the American Indian "genocide" and that there's innuendo hidden around the hotel alluding to that. This is a documentary that every die-hard Kubrick fan needs to see, and is honestly just a fun and fascinating exploration into the genius/madness of Kubrick. It was one of those films that everyone kept talking about after seeing it and I can't be happier that it finally has a distributor. This is one I've been anxious to see again (and show everyone else I know). Congrats IFC, great acquisition!