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American Cannibal: The Road to Reality
     

American Cannibal: The Road to Reality

Director: Perry Grebin, Michael Nigro, Gil S. Ripley, Dave Roberts

Cast: Perry Grebin, Michael Nigro, Gil S. Ripley, Dave Roberts

 
Originally conceived as an instructional video on how to conduct pitch meetings, American Cannibal: The Road to Reality gradually evolved into something far darker. Documentary filmmakers Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro follow aspiring TV writers Gil S. Ripley and Dave Roberts as their failed Comedy Central pilot leads them to try their hand at reality TV. They

Overview

Originally conceived as an instructional video on how to conduct pitch meetings, American Cannibal: The Road to Reality gradually evolved into something far darker. Documentary filmmakers Perry Grebin and Michael Nigro follow aspiring TV writers Gil S. Ripley and Dave Roberts as their failed Comedy Central pilot leads them to try their hand at reality TV. They start out pitching a show about N.Y.C. firefighter trainees at Randall's Island, but eventually decide that they have to push the envelope and come up with something that has more of an edge. They wind up at the office of Kevin Blatt, best known for marketing the Paris Hilton sex tapes, and pitching a show called "Virgin Territory," in which several male contestants, all virgins, compete for the opportunity to lose their virginity to a porn star. Blatt responds positively, but upon reflection, he prefers an idea that Ripley mentioned in passing, pretty much as a joke, for a show called "American Cannibal," wherein contestants would be put on a remote island and deprived of food to the point of starvation, presumably to see which of them would be willing to resort to cannibalism. Ripley and Roberts have qualms about it, but it's Blatt's money, so they begin developing the show, with disastrous results. Grebin and Nigro intercut this narrative with interviews with reality show veterans like Dr. Richard Levak, Jon Murray, and The Daily Show's Lizz Winstead, who discuss the phenomenon of reality TV. The filmmakers appear to be blurring the line between reality and fiction, and rumors have circulated as to the authenticity of their story. American Cannibal: The Road to Reality had its world premiere at the 2006 Tribeca Film Festival, in the NY, NY Documentary Competition.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Whether or not the so-perfect-they-had-to-be-scripted story developments of American Cannibal: The Road to Reality are the result of well-edited serendipitous documentary filmmaking or a Blair Witch-style forgery, the film is an accomplished chronicle of the devastating effects of the sacrifices made by two writers desperate to get anything on television. Gil Ripley and Dave Roberts' giddy excitement at getting a green light on their reality show gives way to panic attacks over the disaster, literally and morally, which unfolds when a show revolving around starvation and cannibalism financed by a porn merchant is put into production. (Although the shooting of the show never quite descends into the apocalyptic scenario hinted at in the opening teaser.) Ripley and Roberts are likeable, intelligent, and well-spoken, making their actions relatable and sympathetic, and the characters they are surrounded with, from the sleaze kings at their strip-club launch party to the drunken jerks hired as producers, are horrifying and hilarious. The inclusion of interviews with media personalities tut-tutting reality television's low standards is a bit much; the more nuanced action speaks for itself and eventually refutes their dire warnings of a Running Man-like future. Anyway, shows like The Surreal Life have already unintentionally satirized the genre. American Cannibal works best when less an attack on reality television than on man's weakness for the cheap instant gratification that spawned it.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/11/2007
UPC:
0880215104393
Original Release:
2006
Rating:
NR
Source:
Lifesize Ent
Time:
1:31:00
Sales rank:
75,754

Special Features

Commentaries With Directors P. Grebin & M. Nigro and Writers G. Ripley and D. Roberts; Video Shorts: "Gil, Dave & the Doc Crew," "Making the Music," "Myles on the Spot," "The Fight"; Interviews With David Lyle, Lizz Winstead & Phil Gurin; Theatrical Trailer; TV Commercials.

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Gil S. Ripley Participant
Dave Roberts Participant
Kevin Blatt Participant
Neil DeGroot Participant
George Gray Participant
Bob Thompson Participant

Technical Credits
Perry Grebin Director,Camera Operator,Producer,Screenwriter
Michael Nigro Director,Producer,Screenwriter
Jennifer Edwards Associate Producer
Doug Gillard Score Composer
David Gise Associate Producer
Lloyd Griveman Executive Producer
Lloyd Groveman Executive Producer
Ari Haberberg Camera Operator
Suki Hawley Editor
Gill Holland Co-producer
Denis Jensen Producer
Lillian LaSalle Co-producer
Ed Litwak Executive Producer
Corey Ribotsky Executive Producer
Michael Riley Executive Producer
Kevin Wilson Sound/Sound Designer
Kenneth D. Yellin Executive Producer

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- American Cannibal
1. Chapter 1 [7:19]
2. Chapter 2 [5:21]
3. Chapter 3 [6:30]
4. Chapter 4 [6:39]
5. Chapter 5 [6:30]
6. Chapter 6 [7:01]
7. Chapter 7 [6:43]
8. Chapter 8 [7:29]
9. Chapter 9 [6:20]
10. Chapter 10 [6:56]
11. Chapter 11 [7:14]
12. Chapter 12 [11:50]
13. Chapter 13 [5:19]

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