Derek Cianfrance talks his debut feature, BROTHER TIED; music rights issues holding it from the public

Joshua Brunsting

by: Joshua Brunsting
January 13th, 2011

Apparently this is the week of revived debut films.

Earlier in the week, 36 minutes of Quentin Tarantino’s debut, previously thought to have been lost to history, was unearthed, and now, according to an interview with IndieWire, current “it” indie filmmaker Derek Cianfrance has revealed new information on his long talked-about debut, BROTHER TIED.

Currently doing the rounds for his follow up, 2010’s beloved indie darling BLUE VALENTINE, the director revealed that there are a myriad of factors holding that film back, the biggest of which being $300,000 needed to clear the film’s soundtrack, which is a collection of ‘50s era doo-wop tracks. Toss in the fact that there have been no distribution offers, and it’s not the easiest of films to get released.

However, the film currently sits in the basement of his father’s home, with his manager, Jamie Pantricof, looking to give it some sort of retrospective release:

“Whether it’s two years or 20 years, we’re going to want the ability to have access to ‘Brother Tied…When we’re doing a retrospective of Derek’s work in the future, we don’t want to only have a VHS copy. Maybe Derek will want to go back in and put some new music on it and we’ll release it on iTunes. We just want to get the highest quality copy we can and then decide what we’re going to do with it.”

All involved here, including DuArt Films Labs, where the film’s negative is currently being held, seem to be hoping for the best, so it may very well see the light of day one of these days.

Personally, this is the type of film that I really want to see. A director’s first feature is always really compelling, and this would be the perfect type of project that someone like Janus Films and The Criterion Collection should get behind and give to the masses. Kind of reminiscent of something like Terry Zwigoff’s LOUIE BLUIE, this could be a really great release for the company, or for whoever ultimately get the rights.  Here’s the film’s official synopsis:

‘Brother Tied’ is the story of a brotherhood by blood challenged by a brother of friendship. Cal and Aaron are two brothers who already strained relationship is pushed to the breaking when Cal befriends his African-American barber, Cassius. The two men attend Cassius’ Christmas party; but when Aaron goads Cassius into a fight, Cal sides with his friend, not his brother. Ostracized by his mother and sibling, Cal becomes more deeply involved in his friendship with Cassius, who is similarly estranged from his family But when Christmas time rolls around again, Aaron strikes back, hurtling the three of them down a path of vengeance, redemption and tragic dissolution.

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