AntEye.com, a community-driven studio on the web, has completed a deal to finance and distribute director, writer, and producer David O. Russell’s upcoming documentary tentatively titled “Benny Hernandez.” The all-digital film about the life of stuntman/actor/boxer Hernandez, is set for premiere on the AntEye site this Fall.
“This documentary is filled with weird surprises,” said Russell, who met Benny Hernandez while making Three Kings and was fascinated by the very strange life of this under-exposed contender in the cruiserweight division who was working as a stuntman on the film. The documentary follows Hernandez’ many personal conflicts out of the ring. These range from his dealing with a persistent neurological and identity disorder to juggling relationships with his wife and mistress who support opposing career paths to negotiating with Oscar de la Hoya to manage his boxing career to trying and failing to get a role on the CBS sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond. Russell has been taping Hernandez’ life for the past year.
Best known for his 1999 hit “Three Kings,” which starred George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg, Russell actually began his directing career as a documentarian with Panama to Boston – a video that appeared on cable access.
“The internet is the new cable access where people can do experimental things,” said Russell, “AntEye is making digital films happen in all sorts of regular towns and communities and some of them are bound to be very good.”
AntEye webcasts videos on content channels dedicated to genres like Action, Animation, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Erotica, and POV. The AntEye site constantly regenerates, with the community of creators and viewers voting to determine which content remains on the website and which is eliminated. Pieces that remain on the site can qualify creators for up to $100,000 pilot/production deals. Six such pilots are currently in production.
Russell’s debut (“Spanking the Monkey”) won the 1994 Sundance Audience award as well as the Independent Spirit awards for Best Screenplay and Best First Feature. Russell’s comedy “Flirting with Disaster” was hailed by critics as one of the Ten Best Films of 1996.
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