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A.J. Schnack's Video Acceptance at the Ninth Annual Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony

A.J. Schnack accepts the Best Documentary Award via video at the 9th Annual Chlotrudis Awards Ceremony

Last updated: August 20, 2005
Copyright 2006 Michael R. Colford.
All rights reserved

 

Spotlight On... Gigantic (A Tale of Two Johns)
The Johns in the Spotlight

 
Poster art for GiganticIf you had said that the best film I would see at the Provincetown Film Festival this year was going to be a documentary on the alternative band They Might Be Giants, I would have scoffed. Now, I like They Might Be Giants, with their clever lyrics and quirky melodies. "Ana Ng" is a personal favorite, and once it finds its way into my head, it just takes root for several hours, or even days, even though I can't really sing along to myself because I have no idea what the words are. I also enjoy documentaries, moreso every day. This year's Provincetown Film Festival found me seeing seven doumentaries out of nine films total. And there was a lot of high quality work to be found among those nine films, but for sheer technical accomplishment, flow and entertainment value, GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) rose to the top.
 
For the last twenty years, the musical landscape has been quietly altered by an unassuming band with an unusual name, They Might Be Giants. John Flansburgh and John Linnell became friends growing up in Lincoln, MA and brought their musical project to the East Village performance art scene in the early '80's. Their performances gained legendary status due to their heavily theatrical and varied musical style. They Might Be Giants created such visually groundbreaking music vides that MTV added them to regular rotation, a first for a band not signed to a major label. They gave their fans direct access to their music with the innovative "Dial-A-Song," which featured snippets of new songs on their answering machine day after day for anyone to call up and listen to. Ten years later they continued to forge new paths and embrace new technologies becoming the first act to release an album for legal dowload over the Internet.
 
Flansburgh and Linell of They Might be Giants
John Flansburgh & John Linnell of They Might Be Giants
 
GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) was shot over seven months in 2001 by Bonfire Films of America, while the band worked on their first studio record in five years. Bonfire Films of America was fA.J. Schnack, director of Giganticormed in 1995 by husband/wife team AJ Schnack and Shirley Moyers to create music videos. Some of the company's early work includes videos for such musical acts as Blink 192, The Fugees and Cake. Moyers was nominated for a 2001 Grammy Award for the music video of Papa Roach's "Broken Home." Schnack directed the short film MIGHT AS WELL BE SWING which was named one of the top 10 shorts for 2000 by NewFilmmaerks at Anthology Film Archives, New York City. The pair was becoming intrigued with long-form work when Schnack met several people creating long-form documentaries on Digital Video and getting them played in theatres. Soon after he got the idea of doing a documentary about They Might Be Giants and things came together rapidly after that. The film was financed entirely by Bonfire Films of America. (Director AJ Schnack pictured right)
 
GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) includes terrific interviews with the John Flansburgh and John Linnell, intercut with video clips and energetic live performance footage. The location of the concert footage was carefully chosen, with the final decision landing in Brooklyn's Polish National Home, a great old building in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. Despite logistical difficulties performing in a venue more suited for wedding receptions than rock and roll concerts, fans from as far away as Michigan and Florida enjoyed four hours of conert while the filmmakers caught the bands dynamic live performance. In addition, the filmmakers interviewed over 40 people from throughout the Giants career. Some of these people include Adam Bernstein, director of six of the bands landmark videos, Frank Black, musician and friend, former frontman for The Pixies, Sue Drew, the A&R rep who signed the band to Elektra Records, Josh Kornbluth, actor and director of the film HAIKU TUNNEL, Michael Small, former music critic for People magazine, Syd Straw, musician, and Sarah Vowell, author, essayist and contributor to "This American Life."
 
Producer Moyers, and director Schnack answer questions at SXSWAlready an official selection at the SXSW, Seattle, Florida, Cinevegas, Provincetown and SF Docfest Film Festivals, GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) will begin to play in theatres as it looks for full U.S. distribution. American Cinematheque will give GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) its Los Angeles premiere on July 9 at 7:30 p.m. Fortunate Boston-area residents can catch this terrific film at the Museum of Fine Arts throughout the month of August (check the MFA's website for dates and times.) Fans of They Might Be Giants will adore this delightful gem of a documentary, but those who are unfamiliar with the band will appreciate the film as well, for its intelligence, its humor and its heart. (Shown at left, producer Shirley Moyers and director AJ Schnack introducing GIGANTIC at the SXSW Film Festival. photo courtesy of Lodger, filethirteen.com.)  
 
Exciting News for GIGANTIC ( A TALE OF TWO JOHNS!) PLEXIFILM ACQUIRES GIGANTIC, AJ SCHNACK'S FEATURE DOCUMENTARY ON BAND THEY MIGHT BE GIANTS, THEATRICAL RELEASE IN SPRING '03, New York, NY December 19, 2002 - Plexifilm CEO Gary Hustwit today announced the company's acquisition of AJ Schnack's GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS), produced by Bonfire Films of America. GIGANTIC tells the story of the band They Might Be Giants and their twenty-year history, told through performance, animation, videos and hilarious commentaries from friends and fans. The film will open in theaters in May 2003, and will be released theatrically by Cowboy Pictures. Plexifilm and Cowboy previously collaborated on the release of Sam Jones' film about the band Wilco, I AM TRYING TO BREAK YOUR HEART, which enjoyed a successful 130-city theatrical run earlier this year.
 
GIGANTIC Scores End of the Year Kudos: Even though GIGANTIC has only played film festivals and special engagements, it has received mention from several critics as one of their favorite films of 2002. Carrie Rickey of the Philadelphia Inquirer named GIGANTIC the Best Unreleased Film of 2002 in the recent Village Voice film poll. Moriarty of aintitcoolnews.com picked us as one of "10 Great Films You Probably Didn't See in 2002."
 
Quote from Shirley Moyers, Producer of GIGANTIC: We're quite honored that Boston's prestigious film society Chlotrudis Awards has nominated us for Best Documentary of the Year. We are proud to be in the company of four great documentaries: Oscar nominees Bowling for Columbine and Daughter From Danang, LA Film Critics documentary winner The Cockettes and Slamdance winner My Father, The Genius.
 
For more information about GIGANTIC (A TALE OF TWO JOHNS) visit the film's official website at http://www.giganticfilm.com/. For message boards and late-breaking information about the film join the giganticfilm newsgroup at yahoo. For more information on They Might Be Giants the band, visit their official website, TMBG.com. Or, for straightforward news on the band, visit the official news site of They Might Be Giants at They Might Be Giants.com. Finally, if you have questions about distribution, booking or availability of the film, contact shirley_moyers@giganticfilm.com.