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No Sign of This Snowball Melting

September 23, 2002|Robert W. Welkos

"Diamond Men" is proving to be no diamond in the rough.

The small, indie film starring Robert Forster as a salesman who must mentor a young replacement when his company downsizes was originally released last September on the East Coast. Who would have dreamed that one year later it would still be humming along in limited release in city after city, building strong word of mouth wherever it screens with virtually no advertising?

"It's like a little snowball," said writer-director-producer Daniel M Cohen. "It's truly amazing."

"Diamond Men" had the misfortune of opening in Washington, D.C., just before Sept. 11. Since then, however, the film has hopscotched the country, taking in about $750,000 in limited release, he said.

Critics have generally raved over the drama. Roger Ebert gave it 3 1/2 stars in the Chicago Sun-Times and called it "a treasure." The San Francisco Examiner said it was a "little gem" with an O. Henry-style ending. And The Times' Kenneth Turan praised Forster's "excellent performance."

Cohen said the film screened in the Los Angeles area late last year for Academy Award consideration--notably Forster's performance--but because major studios were pushing their own Oscar-worthy pictures, "we were effectively frozen out of the Los Angeles market."

Now, the film is back in L.A. Panorama Entertainment is scheduled to release "Diamond Men" Friday at the Pacific ArcLight in Hollywood, the Pacific Galleria in Sherman Oaks and the Pacific Paseo in Pasadena.

"We never in a million years thought we would be here a year later with a movie we can't get out of theaters," Cohen said.

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