YES, it’s a movie! The world premiere of Paint It Black the Movie has been announced, and at last, I’m allowed to talk about it!  It will debut at the Los Angeles Film Festival, held June 1-9, our screening on June 3, with individual tickets going on sale May 10. What a long strange trip it’s been. Amber (Tamblyn, the director) and her writing partner Ed Dougherty reminded me that they’d started writing their screenplay in 2009.  And now it’s set to see the light of day–or at least the projector–seven years later.

What a tumble of changes it–and we–have been through since I heard that Amber Tamblyn wanted to option my novel.  The actress?  Yes, and she was poet too, something I didn’t know about her.  I just remembered Joan of Arcadia.

That first night we sat down at a tiki bar in L.A., we’d been brought together by a mutual friend, the poet Derrick Brown. Over Scorpions, talked about what a Paint It Black movie would look like. Although she’d never written a screenplay, I was impressed by her passion–I’m still impressed by it.  The book had been optioned before, a terrible experience about which the less said the better.

At the time, she was planning to star in it, and bringing someone else on to direct. But as time and the  winnowing and changes of casting and personnel went on, the learning-as-you-go, discovery and the desire to protect the vision she’d created, she did something she had never imagined doing. She decided to direct the movie instead of starring in it. She cast the amazing Alia Shawkat to play Josie Tyrell, and prepared for her directorial debut.

I was able to go to the shoot whenever, as it was often right around the corner, a very different experience than I’d had with White Oleander, a big deal Hollywood movie. On Paint it Black, they sent me the daily schedule, the where and the when, the pages they would be shooting, and I just went over when I wanted to take a break from writing– slipped in among the lights and sound guys and gaffers, got a set of headphones and quietly stood by the monitor and out of the way as I watched Amber and the actors and cinematographer make the magic happen.

She really rode that horse all the way to the end.  I saw her skill with the actors, her leadership ability with the crew. I heard about the agonies of casting, and the horrors of having to cut beautiful beautiful scenes in the editing room.  I got to see it with her and Ed in her parents’ homey apartment in Ocean Park.  Now the premiere.  As the novelist, I have the best job of all– all of the fun and  none of the headaches.  Can’t wait to see it appear in the world.

PAINT IT BLACK, Directed by Amber Tamblyn, Starring Alia Shaukat, Janet McTeer, Alfred Molina, Emily Rios, Rhys Wakefield and Nancy Kwan, Screening: June 3, 7:30 p.m. Bing Auditorium. Tickets go on sale 10 a.m. May 10th at


32 Responses to “Paint It Black– THE MOVIE PREMIERE”

  1. Antonette DeVito Says:

    Darling–cannot wait! Much love and many congratulations. Hugs.

    Toni DeVito


  2. barryschwartz1 Says:


  3. Jeffrey L. Weinthal Says:

    OMG, this is going to be amazing!!! Paint It Black is my favorite book of all time and I can’t wait for the movie. Since I live in Austin TX I can’t attend the premier but I’ll be the first one to see it when it comes to my area. Just wondering, will you be signing autographs at some of the screenings Janet? If you are then I’d be extremely happy (Janet is my absolute favorite author).

    Thanks to all,


  4. sO EXQUISITELY DESERVING and EXCITING FOR YOU! oh! and for all of us too! YAY!!!!!

  5. Congrats. I adored the book. Can’t wait.

  6. Reblogged this on skyhillan.

  7. Must buy ticket, AM, May 10! Love it!!!

  8. tristinerainer Says:

    Thanks for the heads up. It would be great to see a reminder to buy tickets Tristine

  9. Michael Falcon Says:

    YES! Yay! M ________________________________

  10. I can’t wait to see it, Janet. White Oleander is still one of my favorite books and films, and I’m sure Paint it Black will place high as well. Congratulations to you and the others!

  11. judyreeveswriter Says:

    Oh, would love to be at this grand event, but just returning from east coast trip. I’ll pop some popcorn, put on a sexy dress and be with you in spirit. Celebrating!

  12. Hi, Janet: Donna Pizzi here! Congratulations, can’t wait to see it. Always love your work. Coincidentally, we have just launched a site for indie filmmakers that will revolutionize the filmmaking industry. With 7,000 worldwide film festivals, it is the ONLY site that allows filmmakers to write about their experiences. I bet the producers of “Paint It Black” could have plenty to say about that…. Again, fantastic news… Bravissima!

  13. saybeller Says:

    It’s been a long time coming. I can’t wait to see Josie in the flesh!

  14. Michael Falcon Says:

    Juts got Allison’s call: her number does not workl Your 664-1607 has not worked this week.

    M ________________________________ From: Michael Falcon Sent: Thursday, April 28, 2016 7:48 AM To: Janet Fitch’s Blog Subject: RE: [New post] Paint It Black– THE MOVIE PREMIERE

    YES! Yay! M ________________________________

  15. OH MY GOD!! i just gasped out loud! i’m so so so so so excited for this. oh, i hope it’s wonderful. it has to be.

  16. Jervz Says:

    Hi Janet,

    I’m glad the movie is finished and premiered in LAFF to positive reviews. Especially thrilled for the two female leads getting good ink. Any news on the distribution? Has it been bought? If not, may you please suggest to you friend Ms. Amber Tamblyn that she shop the film to A24. They’re known for enthusiastically bringing low-budget films to the big screen.

    Hope to hear more good news about this project soon.

  17. Debra S Says:

    Are you kidding me??? I’m SO excited, I JUST looked up your books quick for I could not remember the name of Paint it Black, I wanted a friend to just READ it, I love it so. Talk about cut to the quick..
    Anyway I am SO so happy I clicked on your page today. I cannot WAIT to see the movie! Wow.

  18. Gail Gauthier Says:

    I am so thrilled for you. You certainly deserve it.

  19. When we’ll see it online?

  20. Looking forward to it!! One of my favourite books! Loved it so much. Congratulations!!

  21. I wasn’t able to attend the film festival. Is it possible to still watch this?

  22. Ashley Says:

    When and how can we rent or by the movie? I can’t find anything online and I live in Portland so I wasn’t able to go to the screening in LA. I’ve been waiting to hear more news but, nothing…

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