Kenneth Turan of The Los Angeles Times writes about the rocky road to distribution for "Once". "The "Once" experience worried me because it underlined how much the risk-averse studio mind-set of being indifferent to quality, of caring more about what can be sold than what will be cherished, is infecting an arena that has always prided itself on being impervious to those ways of thinking. Yet to be fair, it would be wrong to completely blame the specialty distributors for their lack of brio where acquiring "Once" was concerned. If they are timid, if they lack trust in the willingness of an audience to find and support something that lacks marketable elements, it's because experience has shown them that they have reason to be afraid."
The theater was half-full when I went to see this film yesterday at Market Street Cinema. That's not bad for a mid-day showing. Turan raises a bigger issue about audiences and their responsibility in small films like this struggling to get picked up. I've made a similar argument before. People have to make an effort to see these films. It won't completely solve the problem (after all, these distributors are all about the money), unforuntately.