Sundance Report: Mark David Chapman Pic Doesn't Endear Filmmaker to Beatle-Loving Throngs

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Schaefer at his film's Sundance premierelast night. Photo: Getty Images

When filmmaker Jarrett Schaefer took the stage at Park City's Prospector Theater this morning for a question-and-answer session after a screening of his debut film, Chapter 27, a glimpse into the deranged mind of Mark David Chapman — played by a plumped-up Jared Leto — during his days in New York prior to the murder of John Lennon, there was an obvious thing to ask. Where were you when John Lennon was shot? "I was 1," he said. "My dad said I was watching football." The audience laughed. It was the first laughter heard in the last 90 minutes.

Chapter 27 is a serious and terrifying film. But Lennon fans have been skeptical of Schaefer's motives. Is he trying to show Chapman in a sympathetic light? Does he think Lennon's killer should finally be paroled? "Jarrett received some hostile questions at last night's screening," said Anthony Marinelli, the film's composer, just outside the auditorium doors. "They want to know what Yoko Ono thinks. I think this screening was warmer." Schaefer gets the Yoko question a lot. "I'm not going into that," he said, sitting in a snack bar later. Will some people always criticize him for showing Chapman as something other than entirely evil? Schaefer gave the shortest response of the festival. "Yes." —Steve Ramos

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