River Phoenix’s final movie is set to premiere in the United States this Wednesday.
Dark Blood is slated to screen at the Miami International Film Festival on March 13. The film was completely nearly 20 years after the young actor passed away.
Although River Phoenix’s last film will debut at the festival next week, director George Sluizer said he isn’t sure what will happen to the movie after Miami. Negotiations for a general release are still underway as of this writing.
Fans of the late actor have been anxious to see Dark Blood for ages. The footage sat around for nearly 14 years before Sluizer decided to complete the project. He raised money through the Dutch crowd-funding website Cinecrowd.
However, a close friend of the Phoenix family said friends and relatives are tired of hearing about Dark Blood. Since those who contributed to Cinecrowd were promised a DVD of River Phoenix’s final movie, the unidentified individual tried to have the film removed from the Miami International Film Festival.
“I already know that selling DVD to United States citizens is a violation of a majority of film festival policies. I would love to just stop hearing about it from Jonathan, Judy, Phoenix Family. As I stated to them that there really isn’t much I can do — until I saw the sale of the DVD,” family friend wrote in an email to festival organizers.
Despite the pressure, MIFF executive director Jaie Laplante said he intends to move forward with the screening. He said he stands behind Sluizer and the effort he made to complete the project.
“He should be celebrated for his creativity in finding a way to complete an unfinished chapter in his career at a time when he is clearly reflective of the body of work he will be leaving us,” Laplante explained.
The family in a 2011 statement that they had not been in contact with the director. Relatives also stated that they had no intention to help Sluizer complete the project.
Dark Blood finds River Phoenix portraying a loner who is waiting in the desert for the world to end. However, his life takes a turn when he helps a couple whose car breaks down during a trip. The actor passed away in 1993 from a drug overdose before the project was finished.
In addition to Phoenix, the film also starred Judy Davis, Jonathan Pryce, and Karen Black.
The film debuted at the Netherlands Film Festival last year. The Hollywood Reporter described the film as and “engagingly modest low-key thriller.”
Are you a fan of River Phoenix? Are you anxious to see his final film on the big screen?