Award-winning film gets a special screening

June 13, 2006

Carlisle resident Gabrielle Savage Dockterman has picked up an armful of major awards from festivals across the country and in Monaco for her debut film “Missing in America," which finally comes to Boston for its first appearance this week. It will close the Boston International Film Festival on Thursday at 5:45 p.m. at the Boston Common Theatre.

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The film stars Danny Glover, David Strathairn, Ron Perlman, and Linda Hamilton, and is about a Vietnam vet (Glover) who lives in self-imposed isolation and ends up taking care of the daughter (Zoë Weizenbaum, of Amherst) of an Army friend (Strathairn) who is dying of exposure to Agent Orange. It's based on a story by Vietnam Green Beret Ken Miller, with a screenplay written by Miller, Dockterman, and Nancy Babine, who also lives in Carlisle and once taught screenwriting courses at the former Boston Film/Video Foundation.

The film has already been released on DVD, which means that it probably won't play in theaters except for festival showings like this week's.

“It's a question of economics — it costs something like $100 to fill a $10 seat," Dockterman says by e – mail from France, where she's been on vacation. “What people don't realize is that most independent films that get released in theaters do so by taking the income from the DVD sales to pay for the theatrical release, and the investors seldom see a dime, even with good-quality films. Many filmmakers are OK with that. I'm not."

The good news, she says, is that the film is now in video stores and being seen. “It is faring very well, having been in the top 10 rentals list for the first few months, which is nearly unheard of for a straight-to-DVD release," she writes.

Still, it will be nice to finally have the film on the big screen in her hometown. Dockterman and her young star Weizenbaum will both attend. The festival schedule is at 617-482-3900 and www.bifilmfestival.com.

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