Burns Pioneers Marks Future of Indy Films With New Form Of Digital Distribution

NEW YORK – Writer/director Edward Burns’ ninth feature film, Nice Guy Johnny, premieres nationally on October 26.  The coming-of-age story chronicles a young man’s struggle with the decision to continue pursuing his dream job or abandon his passion in exchange for a higher-paying but more mundane career choice.   As today’s college students prepare to graduate into an uncertain economy, Nice Guy Johnny speaks to the passion vs. profit dilemma many will face.

Nice Guy Johnny was inspired by my own experiences deciding between an ultimate, uncertain dream gig or going for the more guaranteed payday,” said Burns. “My dream came true at a young age with the success of The Brothers McMullen.   Fifteen years and eight of my own movies later, I have faced the question several times:  do I continue making the types of art films that I love or do I accept any number of open directing assignments for major studio releases.    While the latter means a lot of money, making my movies is my passion and that is the decision I have made.”

Nice Guy Johnny is a return to Burns’ filmmaking roots.   Similar to The Brothers McMullen, the film was made for the astonishingly low budget of $25,000 and features relatively unknown, up-and-coming actors.    Nice Guy Johnny premiered at Tribeca and centers on baby faced 23-year-old Johnny Rizzo, who is on the verge of trading in his dream job in sports radio for a position in corrugated paper sales that will pay enough to please his fiancé.  Just weeks before Rizzo’s marriage, a trip to New York and a simple job interview turns into a life altering experience when Rizzo meets up with Uncle Terry, played by Burns. Uncle Terry, a rascally womanizer, is set on turning a day in the Hamptons with Brooke, a young attractive tennis instructor, and his nephew into an eye-opening, life changing experience.

“Following your dreams down an uncertain path is a tough and admirable decision,” said Matt Bush, who plays Johnny Rizzo in the film. “Nice Guy Johnny really spoke to me as I dealt with the same issues as I began my acting career. I hope this film will inspire college students and young adults to take the road less traveled.”

A master of the modern relationship dramedy, Edward Burns is once again in top form as a writer, director, and actor. His swaggering bartender Terry is the perfect foil to baby-faced Matt Bush’s (Adventureland) Johnny, and together they’re great at trading Burns’ characteristically sharp dialogue. More contrasts are mined with Anna Wood’s image-conscious Claire and Kerry Bishé’s (Scrubs) Brooke, a blonde-haired and bright-eyed free spirit. Burns wraps a summery tone around Johnny’s real crisis: follow through with your promises, or follow your heart?

NGJ’s Digital Distribution Marks the Future of Independent Film

Nice Guy Johnny will be distributed FilmBuff, an affiliate of Cinetic Media, via a unique digital platform strategy.   On October 26, Nice Guy Johnny will be released simultaneously via iTunes movies, video on demand through cable providers across the country (check with your local cable operator), and digital retail sites such as  DVDs will be available for purchase online and at major retailers on that day as well.   Burns recently announced a partnership with Comcast, the nation’s largest cable television provider, to launch the “Indie Film Club Network” on Comcast’s On Demand service, helping to make independent film content accessible to everyone and truly establishing himself as a pioneer in the independent film industry.

Burns is a vocal advocate on behalf of independent film and believes this new distribution mechanism mark the future for the category.   “I receive thousands of emails from fans who want to see my movies and can’t because they don’t have an art house theater near them,” he said.    “This new form of digital distribution enables my fans to see the film whenever they want simply through the push of a button on their remote or a mouse click on their PC.    Digital technology revolutionized the music business several years ago and it is now about to do the same to independent film.  I am very excited about the future.”

Burns, who is taking Nice Guy Johnny on a national film festival tour through the remainder of 2010, selected the simultaneous multiplatform distribution deal over a traditional theatrical release for a number of reasons including: greater artistic freedom, a more favorable economic model and an ability to very easily reach both new and traditional audiences for his films. In addition, this distribution mechanism enables Burns to instantly provide fans with a variety of bonus features, including outtakes, interviews with the cast, additional scenes, etc.


About Edward Burns: Lauded by critics and audiences alike, Edward Burns gained international recognition for his first feature film The Brothers McMullen, which premiered in competition at the 1995 Sundance Film Festival, winning the Grand Jury prize in addition to the “Best First Feature” at the 1996 Independent Spirit Awards.  Burns continues to write, direct, star in and produce his films, including She’s the One, Sidewalks of New York and more recently Purple Violets, which was the first feature film to premiere exclusively on iTunes.  As an actor, Burns starred in Saving Private Ryan, 15 Minutes, Confidence and 27 Dresses. His most recent film, Nice Guy Johnny is his 9th feature film as a writer, director and actor and premiered at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival.  Burns has been involved with TFF since the festival’s inception in 2002 and Nice Guy Johnny was his 5th film in the festival.  Trailers for Nice Guy Johnny are available on Facebook:!/niceguyjohnnymovie