Justin Bieber fans rubbed shoulders with select buyers at a secret screening of the singer’s upcoming Believe documentary at the Toronto International Film Festival on Saturday.
Sales and distribution film company, IM Global, organized the screening under cloak and dagger due to fears it would be overrun by Bieber’s fans.
Attending “Beliebers” signed waiver forms and the audience had their bags searched. Cell phones and other electronic devices were also checked on admission to prevent illicit filming or recording.
The Hollywood Reporter noted the canny move of allowing buyers to see firsthand how a group of Canadian star’s fans reacted to the rough cut of the Jon M. Chu directed movie-docu.
The film is a blend of Believe world tour footage, candid material, as well as interviews with Justin’s circle. It’s expected to include some of the widely reported bizarre incidents along the tour and the singer’s camp’s take on the “bad boy” press narrative that continues.
Believe is the follow-up to the 2011 concert-biopic Never Say Never which was also directed by Chu. It is currently the highest grossing concert movie-biopic in US history taking over $98 million worldwide.
Yesterday, Justin announced on Twitter that he and his manager Scooter Braun would be filming an exclusive interview for Believe with Chu. After the taping, the 19-year-old tweeted,
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) September 8, 2013
Reiterating previous statements that the documentary is the only platform where he intends to talk about what’s been an unprecedented year in terms of press, public perception, and attention, the “Baby” singer posted a statement yesterday, writing:
— Justin Bieber (@justinbieber) September 7, 2013
Likewise, Braun also took to Twitter to share an Instagram of the taping, talk up the interview, and note the online appreciation being expressed by fans who watched the screening.
— Scooter Braun (@scooterbraun) September 8, 2013
Back in April, Chu told the Los Angeles Times that the upcoming documentary differed from Never Say Never’s straightforward “origin” narrative and described Believe as,
“… almost about a boy becoming an artist rather than a boy’s life. Because his artistry is his life now.”
The helmer continued: “It started as just a concert movie but we’ve got so many other things now. We have footage of him writing the first song for his next album on a piece of paper with a pencil. Blank page, erasing, writing. That’s where it starts.”
Bieber’s vow to “tell everything” comes after Braun blasted tabloid reporting on the teen singer in a new interview. The 32-year-old previously said the teen’s new music and the documentary will address what he considers to be a “witch hunt” of recent devastating press.
Following IM Global’s announcement that the documentary would be screened and marketed at TIFF, Hitfix analysts discussed both Believe’s prospects and Bieber’s public image.
Gregory ‘Elsewhere’ Ellwood was scathing, calling Believe “way too obvious a move” to repair and rejuvenate what some see as the singer’s fatally damaged brand.
He went on to add: “Bieber is on the verge of entering Chris Brown territory with the gossip rags. He can’t escape controversy and unlike contemporaries Miley Cyrus, Demi Lovato and ex Selena Gomez his fan base may be starting to lose interest. An artist controlled ‘documentary’ will allow Bieber and his management to try and refocus his image on his music and not his personal life. At this point, however, it may just be too late.”
In contrast, Melinda Newman argued against Ellwood’s contention that “mini-major Open Road’s” — who are releasing Believe in the US — smaller backing as opposed to a major was an indication of industry non-confidence.
Newman said, “Even if only a tiny portion of the Beliebers show up for opening weekend, Believe will be a success.”
However, Newman also dismissed Braun’s “witch hunt” view as “reductive and paranoid.”
It’s worth noting that in addition to IQ’s previous analyses of media reports on Bieber — including the singer’s eventual exoneration of speeding accusations in May after a security video proved he wasn’t driving, and the dropping of alleged hit-and-run accusations related to a June incident outside the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood — Believe’s TIFF launch follows a week in which initial reports that the singer had sung the word “N***a” in a new song were subsequently revealed to be incorrect.
Khalil Underwood, the artist behind the song has now acknowledged it, while denying uploading it to a YouTube page that falsely attributed it to Bieber.
The past week also saw Radar Online publish an extremely padded “International Coke Smuggling Ring” report on one of the singer’s pals, the music producer Jason “Pooh Bear” Boyd. Their report focused on a now deleted Instagram posted by Bieber of Boyd allegedly holding a “baggie of white powder.”
The producer later told TMZ the original Instagram showed him holding a lime. He explained that it was photoshopped with another Instagram depicting “pot pourri.” TMZ later published the original Instagram photo of Boyd which showed the producer holding a solid item resembling a segment of lime.
In a recent Entertainment Tonight interview, Braun denied widely reported claims that Bieber spat at a group of fans from a Toronto hotel balcony during a Believe tour stop. He insisted there is no evidence to back up the accusation, which was strongly denied by the pop star’s rep at the time.
The same crowd image of fans used in nearly all media reporting on the incident was a direct lift of an image from Bieber’s Instagram video. The singer filmed the group of fans gathered outside his hotel on the morning of July 25 as his video caption clearly states.
As reported by Canadian media outlets, the photographer who snapped the singer spitting arrived on the scene at around 4 pm.
Braun has said Believe will be released before the close of 2013. For Bieber, the stakes are high. It cannot be denied that there have been missteps on his part this year. But, there is also considerable evidence to support his camp’s claims that a significant portion of media reporting on the singer is inflated, exaggerated, and/or fictional.
It’s been a tough, long six months for Justin Bieber. Amid continuing mainstream media censure, a bleak rating from Public Policy Polling, disapproval from celebrities such as Sharon Osbourne, Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Hader, as well as support from Bill Clinton, Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, Judd Apatow, Michael Bublé and Mark Wahlberg among others, it’s finally time to hear what this teenager has to say.
[Images via Justin Bieber, Scooter Braun, Alfredo Flores, and Brad Haugen Instagram Accounts]