Study Guide

Requiem for a Dream Production Studio

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Production Studio

Thousand Words (Distributed by Artisan Entertainment)

We're going to give you some fun math facts.

A movie's made up of about twenty-four frames per second. Requiem for a Dream is one hour and forty-two minutes long. That's a hundred and two minutes, which is 6,120 seconds, meaning it's composed of 146,880 picture frames. If a picture is worth a thousand words, this moving picture is worth 146,880,000 words, meaning it would be the longest script ever…if someone actually wrote all those words out.

Although there is a fantastic screenplay, Requiem is a movie, so it conveys all these words directly into your brain (a little bit like the substances injected by its characters), through the pure unadulterated power of cinema. If this movie's a drug—a safe, legal one like caffeine— then its grower is Thousand Words and its dealer (or in this case barista, since we're talking about really, really strong coffee) is Artisan Entertainment.

Thousand Words was a small production company that also produced the Richard Linklater live-action/animation hybrid films Waking Life (2001) and A Scanner Darkly (2006), the film that showed us that Keanu Reeves can emote if he's a cartoon character. Aronofsky's first film, pi, was made for $60,000. That's the film industry equivalent of buying a Gucci dress for fourteen bucks. (Source)

Thousand Words raised more money—the exact number is undisclosed—so they could make their heroin-injected, diet-pill-chewing, infomercial-loving film without needing to submit to edits made by a major studio. (Source)

As you might guess from the Brooklyn-hipsters-who-make-pickles-and-drink-from-Mason-jars name, Artisan Entertainment was an indie distributor. They specialized in psychological thrillers like Requiem and Tom Cruise's Vanilla Sky (2001), and creepy horror like Stir of Echoes (1999) and Dr. T and the Women (2000) We use past tense here because Artisan was acquired by Lionsgate in 2003. (Source)

That must be why they keep the lion behind a gate: when they let it out, it devours smaller studios whole.

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