Director Bill Guttentag's debut feature film Live!, a mockumentary about a reality TV show whose ultimate showdown ends with a nasty game of Russian roulette, combines his many talents in one package.
As a respected non-fiction film-maker who won an Oscar for his 2003 documentary short Twin Towers, Guttentag knows how to put together a documentary, even a fake one. As the creator and executive producer of Law & Order: Crime & Punishment, the reality-based spin-off from Dick Wolf's TV crime series Law & Order, he also had insider information on television programming.
Having spent two years writing the script, Guttentag brought it to Charles Roven of Mosaic Media Group in 2004, who stepped up to produce the project with his partner Alex Gartner. Within a year, Eva Mendes had not only agreed to star, but became the film's executive producer, helping to secure its cast, many of whom come from TV: David Krumholtz (Numb3rs), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey's Anatomy), and Andre Braugher (Homicide: Life On The Street).
By 2005, Guttentag's low-budget television fable was in production, shooting for 24 days in high-definition video. To recreate the realism of a documentary crew, Guttentag relied on his experiences (and mistakes) in non-fiction film, going so far as to make sure the mic boom strayed into the shot in many scenes.
As Live! hits the festival circuit, Guttentag's documentary Nanking, which premiered at this year's Sundance Film Festival, will be given a short theatrical release from ThinkFilm.
He is also developing a documentary on rock group The Doors with Wolf Films, as well as continuing to teach his 'Leadership in the Entertainment Industry' class at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. Nanking is also screening at Tribeca in the Showcase section.