In New York, it’s no longer chic to have a premiere. It’s now about the “tastemaker screening.” Invite a crowd of social butterflies to a film they might only catch on video (if at all), so they can talk it up amongst their friends with box office success, Oscar buzz and other accolades to follow in suit.
Earlier this week, Nancy and Andrew Jarecki and Alexandra Shiva and Jonathan Marc Sherman hosted a showing of the smallish Miramax movie that could, “The Station Agent,” which attracted a geographic smattering of tastemakers. Raves from Cristina Greeven and Christopher Cuomo and Lulu de Kwiatkowski could take care of the New York crowd; Julianna Margulies might pass the word along to the celebrities; Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos were in charge of the Washington contingent, and Lauren Bush, well, she can tell the kids at Princeton.
The after dinner at Kitsch — part of the go-get-’em publicity strategy — had Anh Duong raving about the performances of Patricia Clarkson (with whom she starred in “High Art”) and Bobby Cannavale. “I wonder if he’s like that in real life,” Duong said, referring to Cannavale’s loquacious and lonely hot dog salesman as she looked in the actor’s direction. “When I went to Sundance with ‘High Art,’ because of my nasty character in the movie, someone said to me, ‘I can’t believe you’re so nice.’ I said, ‘I’m actually acting right now.’”
The next night, a distinctly more indie, brooding crowd turned up at the Tribeca Screening Room for a distinctly more indie, brooding screening of Gus Van Sant’s “Elephant”: John Cameron Mitchell, Illeanna Douglas, Benicio Del Toro (sitting next to Julian Schnabel’s 17-year-old son, Vito), Gael García Bernal and Lili Taylor. Though the bloodbath of an ending would make anyone curl up in bed, the group headed over to Schiller’s Liquor Bar for sangria and steak.
But the movie wasn’t on everybody’s lips, or at least not Jessica Craig-Martin’s. She was more excited to discuss her three-month-old son, Finbar, and pulled out a T. Anthony photo book. (“I bought one like all the Upper East Side girls,” she said.) “Today I read him ‘Runaway Bunny’ and ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ and then I got bored, so I read him a very serious story about Courtney Love’s drug addiction in Us Weekly.”