Jeffrey Blitz had enormous success with his debut film Spellbound. It is the 14th highest grossing documentary (better than it sounds; it made more than $7 million worldwide, while most docs never break $1 million), it was nominated for an Academy Award and it has lasting acclaim (it's #4 on IDA's list of all-time best docs). So it's OK that his follow-up, the fiction film Rocket Science, only made a tenth of what Spellbound grossed (yeah, that means it didn't break $1 million -- but it did win Blitz a directing award at Sundance). You can't hit the jackpot twice, right? Well, Blitz might know best, since he's returning to non-fiction for a documentary about the lottery. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film is expected to finish in time for a 2008 release, it's being produced by Peter Saraf (Little Miss Sunshine) and it currently has no title.

The doc apparently won't be much of an investigation into the industry, at least not in the scrutinizing vein of Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock. As Saraf has said: "It's not the Fahrenheit 9/11of lotteries," which is pretty disappointing considering I heard that lotto winners collect their money for a few years and then some guy with a bat comes to their house and convinces them they don't need anymore money. I'm sure that is just a rumor/urban legend, but I'd like a film to tell me for sure. The film will focus partially on the lives of winners, though, particularly on how those lives have changed or not changed since winning. Other people interviewed for the doc include obsessive players who have never won, and Saraf assures us that Blitz is far more interested in the people than in the industry. If you've seen Spellbound, you can kind of imagine what the lotto film will be like. But will he ever be able to find a subject as interesting as his little poster boy, Harry Altman?
categories Cinematical