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The Jaws movie franchise may be dead, but the legacy of Bruce lives on. That is the conclusion of a new independently-made documentary on the impact of Steven Spielberg’s classic film. The Shark is Still Working is described as “the ultimate retrospective on Jaws,” covering not only aspects of the making of the film but also its impacts on popular culture, the fear and inspiration it has generated and the its many passionate fans.

The makers of The Shark is Still Working are now appealing to those fans to help them get the film distributed. The recently completed documentary was made without input from a major studio. The producers are now planning to it to Universal, the distributor of Jaws, in the hope that the studio will pick it up for release on DVD. They are also urging fans to sign an online petition that they hope will convince Universal or another major distributor to release the film.

“Our strategy is to ask you, the fans, to help us build some buzz and show potential distributors how big of an audience there is for our little documentary,” they say in a message on the film’s website.

Although the film is described by its makers as “little,” it is apparently not lacking in content or contributions from Hollywood insiders. It is over three hours in length and includes interviews with cast and crew members of Jaws and other filmmakers. It is narrated by Roy Scheider, who played Chief of Police Martin Brody in Jaws and Jaws 2 and the interviewees include Scheider himself, Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, John Williams, Richard Zanuck, David Brown, Carl Gottlieb, Joe Alves, Lorraine Gary, Bryan Singer, Robert Rodriguez and Kevin Smith.

The title The Shark is Still Working implies that the makers think the super-sized shark created by the late Peter Benchley and popularized by Spielberg continues to move people over 30 years after it first swam across the big screen. Whether they can convince one of the big distributors of that remains to be seen. The idea of a major studio picking up an independent production for DVD distribution is not unprecedented, however. In 2005 Universal released the documentary The Sci-Fi Boys in North America. That film included contributions from Peter Jackson and other well known names in the history of science fiction cinema. In 2006, the Scandinavian branch of Universal signed a DVD distribution agreement with the Finnish makers of the Star Trek parody Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning. Star Wreck had previously been available free to download from the internet. The Universal DVD included improved sound and special effects.

The people behind The Shark is Still Working are all self-confessed Jaws fanatics. It was directed by Erik Hollander and written by James Gelet. Gelet, Hollander, Jake Gove and J. Michael Roddy served as producers. The film’s music was composed by Mick Richards and Michael McCormack and includes songs by The Invented.

The online petition can be found here.

Sources: The Shark is Still Working official website; The Shark is Still Working MySpace page

Michael Simpson is the Associate Editor of the Vancouver-based film and TV website CinemaSpy and a freelance writer on a wide range of topics (CinemaSpy; Home).

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