It's an honor to have your movie play at the Sundance Film Festival. It's a thrill when it not only plays but plays to great critical and popular acclaim. It's a dream come true when you meet with studio representatives to discuss theatrical distribution. And it's a bitter, soul-crushing disappointment when the deals don't pan out and the film is never heard from again.

That's what happened to Robert Bella's Colin Fitz, a 1997 Sundance hit that won praise from critics as diverse as Roger Ebert and Harry Knowles. The film, a comedy about a dead rock star's devoted fans, looked like it would be the next Sundance Cinderella story. But while distributors were interested, none could offer Bella a sale price that would actually cover what it had cost him -- and his creditors -- to make it. So the film sat in a storage unit while Bella worked to buy it back from his creditors.

This week, the film -- now fittingly retitled Colin Fitz Lives! -- is finally being released through Video On Demand by IFC Films and Sundance Selects, some 13 1/2 years after its world premiere. It had a gala screening Thursday night in Los Angeles, too, attended by Bella and one of the film's stars, William H. Macy. Bella wrote a terrific first-person account of the lengthy ordeal at IndieWIRE, a story that will either serve as an inspiration or a cautionary tale to would-be filmmakers.