Teaser Trailer for CINEMA VERITE Starring Tim Robbins, Diane Lane, and James Gandolfini

     February 16, 2011

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HBO has dominated the TV movie for ages.  The network has won the last 7 Emmys for Outstanding Made for TV Movie, not to mention 16 of the last 19.  But it’s not the sexiest format, so HBO’s efforts do a much better job at boosting the Emmy total than my actual interest in the network, no matter how solid Temple Grandin was.

Yet something about Cinema Verite stands out.  The cast is teriffic, featuring Diane Lane, Tim Robbins, James Gandolfini, Patrick Fugit — but that’s not it.  HBO telepics always have great casts.  I’m drawn in by the story, a look behind the scenes of the 1973 documentary An American Family, which chronicled the lives of the Loud family and effectively birthed the reality TV genre.  The first teaser trailer, which makes excellent use of “California Dreamin'” by The Mamas & the Papas, does not disappoint.  Watch it after the jump.

Directed by Robert Pulcini and Shari Springer Berman (The Nanny Diaries), Cinema Verite premieres on April 23.

CINEMA VERITE tells the behind-the-scenes story of the groundbreaking documentary An American Family, which chronicled the lives of the Louds in the early 1970s and catapulted the Santa Barbara family to notoriety while creating a new television genre: the reality TV series…

An American Family was a total departure from the television shows of the time when it aired in 1973, and brought public scrutiny to a family unprepared for the consequences. It put the Louds in the spotlight as the parents (Diane Lane, Tim Robbins) struggled with their marriage while raising their children. In particular, Pat was criticized for her support of her openly gay son Lance (Thomas Dekker) at a time when homosexuality was rarely represented on television.

CINEMA VERITE gives a behind-the-scenes look at how the original PBS series was created by filmmaker Craig Gilbert (James Gandolfini). While he aimed to have an impact on culture, he also felt that the family s struggles were relatable to many Americans in a way that the Brady Bunch and the Partridge Family were not. The crew of Alan and Susan Raymond (Patrick Fugit, Shanna Collins) spent seven months filming the family in 1971 and were often at odds with Gilbert about what content was appropriate to film.

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