We Are a Caveh Zahedi Addict

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By Caveh Zahedi

"I'm just taken a little more seriously than I was before the film came out."

Jonathan Marlow asked me if I would be willing to interview myself. I've always wanted to interview myself, so here was my big chance. It turns out that it's not as easy as it sounds. Sometimes, my questions were kind of vague, and I sometimes got the impression that I hadn't watched my own movies. Also, there were technical problems with the recording equipment, so some of the best moments were unfortunately lost. Here's what remained.

First of all, congratulations on getting theatrical distribution for your film.

Thank you very much.

This is your first film to get theatrical distribution, isn't it?

I'm afraid it is.

So how did that come about?

Well, it took a while. The film had its world premiere at Rotterdam in January of 2005, and its US premiere at Tribeca in April of 2005. The film seemed to generate a lot of buzz at both venues, but no one picked it up.

Then, Cinetic Media, our sales agents, sent the film to every possible distributor, but again no one was interested. By September of 2005, I was sick and tired of waiting passively for a distributor to come along, so I decided to distribute the film myself. I started booking the film in independent theaters around the country. I cut a trailer, designed a website, made posters, and even wrote a self-distribution manifesto which was later published in Filmmaker magazine.

And then I got a phone call informing me that I had been nominated for a Gotham Award for "Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You." My film was one of five undistributed films nominated. The other nominees were: Al Otro Lado; Police Beat; Sir! No Sir!; and In a Nutshell: A Portrait of Elizabeth Tashjian. There was an awards ceremony in New York which I was invited to attend. All of the distributors were there. My film won, and I had to go up and say something. I was incredibly nervous, but I somehow managed to make people laugh.

Because of the award (and I think because of my speech), Jonathan Sehring, the head of IFC Films, asked to see I Am A Sex Addict. Apparently he had never seen it, as it had been rejected by someone who was no longer at the company. He liked the film and saw its market potential. More importantly, perhaps, he had recently launched IFC First Take, which releases films available simultaneously in theaters and through video-on-demand. He thought I Am A Sex Addict would be a good fit and made us an offer.

How did the whole Caveh vs. Mark Cuban thing happen?

What happened was that Sex Addict was scheduled to open at a Landmark theater in Berkeley. It had been advertised in the newspapers and everything. And then three days before it was scheduled to open, Mark Cuban, who owns Landmark, forbade the Landmark Theater in Berkeley to show it because of a dispute he was having with Comcast.

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