Steve James and John Pierson take on critics
of their cinema travelogue “Reel Paradise”

Leading local documentarian Steve James (“Hoop Dreams,” “Stevie”) followed legendary producers rep John Pierson and Pierson’s family to the Fijian island of Taveuni to document their last month in a remote village, where Pierson screened nightly free movies at the 180 Meridian Cinema.

In the resulting film, “Reel Paradise,” James captured Pierson and his clan contending with dengue fever, home burglary, suspicious clergy, AWOL projectionists and family turmoil.

Produced by Kevin Smith’s View Askew productions and financed by Miramax, “Reel Paradise” is now out in theaters from Wellspring. Pierson and James spoke at a local screening of the film.

Biting Back at Critics
Pierson: I’ve been involved with so many directors in the past 25 years. When they say “I don’t read reviews,” it’s bullshit. Owen Glieberman in Entertainment Weekly said that I treated the robbery as “the crime of the century.” Well, on that island that robbery was the crime of the century. We had more to steal and we had more stolen. If you were there, or if Owen was there, it would be a big deal to you as well.