When Inland Empire showed at the New York Film Festival on Friday, someone asked David Lynch if he had a distributor for the movie. “Technically… no,” he said, being as cryptic as his film.
It turns out that Lynch will self-distribute the digital video film. The director acquired the North American rights from financier Studio Canal and is going to do it his own way. "It’s a whole new world out there, even when it comes to distribution,” he said.
Lynch has obviously given this some thought, but it’s interesting that it comes on the heels of Studio Canal yanking the movie from the Sitges Festival, the most prominent festival that leans to the genre side of things. The reason wasn’t because they thought the Sitges crowd would hate the movie, but that they would like it too much. Apparently Studio Canal has been (wisely) trying to get Lynch to trim down his three hour monstrosity. (read my pan of the current three hour cut here)
Lynch had nothing but glowing things to say about Studio Canal at the New York Film Festival, but I really believe that his desire to release this thing at an unwieldy three hours is a big part of his self-distribution scheme. How will he do it? I wouldn’t be surprised to see him selling copies on his website fairly soon, with the film playing in an exceptionally limited release.