Fall Movie Preview 1998
STARRING Saul Williams, Sonja Sohn, Bonz Malone, Beau Sia
DIRECTED BY Marc Levin
At Sundance this year, Levin’s gritty drama not only won the Grand Jury Prize and made audiences break into applause during the film, it also made poetry seem cool. The inner-city vérité about an African-American man (Williams) who’s jailed on drug charges and proceeds to free his mind through the spoken word had the odds stacked against it. Made in two-and-a-half weeks (for $1 million) and shot on location in a Washington, D.C., jail (featuring appearances by real-life inmates and officers), Slam rode its crowd-pleasing buzz to a $2.5 million sale to Trimark. Says Williams, ”I think of the film as more of a movement than a movie.” (Oct. 16)
THE LOWDOWN How do you market a movement? The soundtrack, featuring Busta Rhymes, Pras, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and Coolio, among others, should help.