Contact: Margot Gerber

213.466.3456, ext. 115





March 11, 1999

HOLLYWOOD – The American Cinematheque’s THE ALTERNATIVE SCREEN: A FORUM FOR INDEPENDENT FILM EXHIBITION & BEYOND... presents the LA Premiere of the 1999 Slamdance Film Festival Documentary prize Winner AMERIKAN PASSPORT (82 min.) on Thursday, March 11th at 7:00 pm. This personal documentary details the epic journey taken by Reed Paget, the film’s director/writer/producer/cinematographer, to political hot spots around the world. Also screening are two award-winning short films: Mike Mitchell’s "Herd" (15 min.), the winner of the Spirit of Slamdance 1999 Award and Don Hertzfeldt’s "Billy’s Balloon" (5 min.), the Slamdance 1999 Grand Jury Prize Winner for Best Short Film. All filmmakers are scheduled to appear in-person at the screenings (subject to their availability. All screenings are at the Lloyd E. Rigler Theatre at the newly renovated Egyptian, located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard (between Las Palmas and McCadden Place).


AMERIKAN PASSPORT (1999, 82 min.):

PREMIERE Magazine calls Reed Paget the "Charles Kuralt of Generation X" with a "Gonzo travelogue for those who might enjoy warzones." Writing for the Park City JOURNAL, Cornelia de Bruin calls Reed Paget "a hot filmmaker" and notes that he "follows a thin red line of political violence, which he skillfully weaves into a tapestry." For filmmaker Reed Paget, who wore all the hats during production, the making of AMERIKAN PASSPORT became a way of life for ten years. This epic, harrowing journey -- which covers 12 warzones, over 20 countries, 5 continents and 7 wonders of the world) chronicles an incredible, shoestring budget odyssey that began when Seattle-native Reed Paget was 23-years-old. Seeking adventure, Paget originally set off for China in 1989 to explore his family’s long history there. His CIA-trained, communist-hating grandfather was born there of American parents who had grown rich in the railroad industry in China at the beginning of the century. The course of world events soon had Paget dodging tanks in Tiananmen Square. From there he traveled on to Vietnam, Cambodia, Nicaragua and so on… He ambushed the US ambassador in Panama, stumbled into a shootout in South Africa, contracted parasites in Thailand, engaged in a romance in Berlin, infiltrated the Red Army in Moscow, ran for his life as scud missiles crashed into Tel Aviv, and finally found his constitutional rights completely violated in – of all places – the United States of America! As communism falls all around him, Paget addresses the complex morality of the Cold War, and contrasts the ritual of human sacrifice with the culture of war. This film is unbelievable, ironic, funny and, most of all, true.

Preceding AMERIKAN PASSPORT are two short films: the animated "Billy's Balloon" (5 min.), Don Hertzfeldt's twisted look at a little boy and his balloon. And "Herd" (15 min.), Mike Mitchell's incredibly quirky (and disarmingly funny) commentary on the human condition, which follows a lonely fry cook whose life takes on new meaning when he is visited by a seemingly friendly, muppet-like, lavendar alien. But cuddly he isn’t. This is an alien with an agenda and he soon capitalizes on the "herd-like" tendacies of the human race to carry out an evil plan!

Press kits/photos and screening cassettes of AMERIKAN PASSPORT, "Herd" and "Billy’s Balloon" are available upon request. Call 323.466.3456, ext. 115 to schedule interviews or to receive press kits. Ticket giveaways are available to all broadcast programs or in the LA area or through websites. Please call for details. Our website has complete schedule information including updates such as announcements about special guests and information about the Egyptian Theater. This press release is also available on our website

Admission for the general public is $7 and $5 for American Cinematheque Members. Information about the schedule and purchasing tickets to our programs is available at (323) 466.3456, extension 2rc or or at f

The Egyptian is handicap accessible. There are paid parking lots on McCadden and Las Palmas north and south of Hollywood Boulevard. On Cherokee, (1 block east of the theatre and 1 block North of Hollywood Boulevard) there is a Municipal lot that is FREE for TWO HOURS and $1 for each additional hour. Sorry, no validation.

The Alternative Screen: A Forum For Independent Film Exhibition And Beyond..., the American Cinematheque’s on-going series focusing on independent and new forms of cinema was created to serve the public as well as the independent film community in Los Angeles by providing a year-round venue for independent feature films that have not yet secured wide commercial distribution. Whatever the ALTERNATIVE SCREEN offers from month to month, it promises to be provocative, innovative and fiercely independent. Select Alternative Screen alumni include THE BIBLE & GUN CLUB, HABIT, STAR MAPS and THE LAST BIG THING.

Established in 1984, the American Cinematheque, is a non-profit, viewer-supported film exhibition and cultural organization dedicated to the celebration of the Moving Picture in all its forms. The Cinematheque presents weekly film and video programming which range from the classics and world cinemas to the outer frontiers of the art form. Exhibition of rare works and special prints within our series are a Cinematheque tradition that keep the avid film lover coming back for once-in-a-lifetime cinema experiences. We also treat our audiences to fascinating post-screening discussions with the filmmakers who created the work.

The Alternative Screen takes on-going submissions for consideration of fiercely independent work in all genres. Please send a 1/2" tape to: Margot Gerber, The Alternative Screen, c/o American Cinematheque, 1800 N. Highland Avenue, Suite 717, Hollywood, CA., 90028. Include a SASE if you would like your tape returned. Phone inquiries should be directed to 213.466.3456, ext. 115. Short film submissions should be sent to Andrew Crane.

For information regarding the Alternative Screen or any other American Cinematheque event, please call (323) 466-FILM. THE PROGRAM IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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