‘OzLand’ goes Hollywood with October premiere

Josh Presley
News Reporter

It’s been nearly a year since “OzLand,” from West Point filmmaker Michael Williams, had its local premiere. Williams has been busy in that time, taking the movie to film festivals and submitting it to potential distributors, and “OzLand” has come a long way.
The movie has found a distributor in Los Angeles-based Indie Rights Movies, and will have its Hollywood premiere on Oct. 16 at the Arena Cinema.
“We finished the film and went to festivals, then we sent it out to more than 100 distribution companies,” Williams said. “We got a lot of feedback. A lot of companies didn’t like the movie, a lot liked it but didn’t want to distribute it. We finally landed with Indie Rights, and they agreed to distribute the movie domestically.”
The movie will have seven showings in the 93 seat theater from Oct. 16 through the 22nd.
He said he hoped to have the international rights sorted out for 2016, as well as a DVD/Blu-ray release in January or February.
“The DVD will be in retail stores, and they’ll work out which ones in the future,” Williams said. “A lot of people want to own a physical copy of movies, and it will be exciting to be able to go to a store and see it there.”
He said he was also looking forward to selling the movie internationally, as that was where he’d be able to make money to fund his next project.
In the meantime, those wishing to travel to “OzLand” won’t have to journey quite so far as Hollywood or retail outlets to see it. The movie drops on Video On Demand sites on October 20, and will be available on iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, Vudu, and the PlayStation and X-BOX networks.
Williams said the journey to distribution had lead to him editing what he considered a superior cut of the movie.
“One thing people always said was that it was too long,” he said. “With indie movies, they want 90 minutes. I thought ‘OzLand’ could never be that, but through all the screenings I began to see places where it could be tightened.”
He said he removed about 10 minutes from the movie, bringing it down to 105 minutes. According to Williams, the recut version movies much faster.
“We only lost one scene, with some minor cuts to other scenes,” he said. “Losing that one scene made four later scenes so much better. There’s a little more suspense. This is the definitive version of the movie.”
Williams said his next project was in the planning stages, and hopes to continue promotion of local filmmaking in the South.
“L.A. isn’t used to seeing what Mississippi can do,” he said. “Hopefully people will realize that Mississippi can make good movies, and that you can shoot something in West Point that can be seen all over the world.”
For more information about “OzLand,” visit www.ozlandthefilm.com or the movie’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ozlandthefilm.