BUZZ: American Movie Nabbed, Rogue Grabs Kill the Man, indieWIRE party and more
by Eugene Hernandez
>> “American Movie” Acquired by Sony
While Robert Redford and a big crowd gathered for last night’s screening of
“American Movie” at the Prospector Square theater, filmmakers Chris Smith & Sarah Price,
producers Jim McKay and Michael Stipe, reps John Sloss, Micah Green and
Joy Newhouse, and others gathered in the men’s room at the theater to sip
champagne and toast to their acquisitions deal with Sony Pictures Classics —
unfazed, festival patrons went about their business in the facility.
The pact came after a long day of negotiations and numerous cell phone calls.
McKay, Stipe, Sloss and Green were working their mobile phones outside
the doors to Shadow Ridge late yesterday afternoon as the deal was closing.
Following the screening, the group headed over to Lakota for a late-night
celebration. McKay, Stipe, Sloss, Newhouse, Green, Smith, and Price, along
with “Coven” filmmaker/doc subject Mark Borchardt and a host of other
friends staked out a large table adjacent to the bar and toasted well beyond
closing. Producers rep Jeff Dowd dropped by to pay his respects, and the group
thinned out towards 2 a.m. As the remainder of folks polished off the champagne
and made their way out the door, Borchardt and friends were still inside taking
pictures and chatting with staff and stragglers.
“American Movie” will screen once more in Park City this morning, and another
screening of Borchardt’s “Coven” is reportedly in the works.
>> Rogue Grabs “Kill the Man”
Variety reports today that October Film’s genre division — Rogue Pictures — has
acquired the North American rights to Tom Booker and Jon Kean’s “Kill the Man.”
>> indieWIRE’d at 7000 feet…and More Music
KA-BLAM! Boy was I beat up by a week’s worth of no sleep before I dragged
myself up to Steeps for the indieWIRE fiesta. When I got there, all sleepy thoughts
were BLASTED out of my body by the onslaught of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
Holy shit. With a gentle snowfall as a backdrop, this power trio decked out in glam
gold, cobalt blue sequins and glimmering black, blew the hair-do’s off of all. “I want
to make it alright” screamed Jon Spencer, and with shiatsu-like precision all tension
in this boy’s body was blown by the wayside. With endless stamina, the band paused
nary a second between songs, keeping the energy at a fever pitch throughout the
tight, 50-minute set. The NYC soundman must have been hired from the engineering
school of the deaf. Huh? Some video cat was two-fisting with a pair of DV cameras.
And finally, a Sundance party where we could mingle, move, dance, throw our arms
out in glee; room my brothers; indieWIRE does not fence me in. With an endless coda
on their last song, the band gave way to a talkfest that could have gone on until
sunrise had the venue not needed to close. Ah well. It was fun while it lasted.
John Hiatt greets the Elks “Is it a rock show? Is it a folk show? What are we?”,
pondered Mr. Hiatt. I got to the tropical BMG music fest already in great mood,
induced by “Happy, Texas.” I had heard a rumor that Hiatt had been ill but he was
all vim and verve Monday night, rocking his classic “Thing Called Love,” like he was
a testosterone-filled teen. Referring to the fans not two feet from the stage, Hiatt
quipped, “It’s so intimate, and it’s so hard to be intimate. So I’m struggling, I just
got to tell ya.” By the time Hiatt and brilliant sidemen David Immergluck (mandolin,
slide guitar) and Davey Faragher (bass, foot stomping) blasted through “Cry Love,”
there was no doubt that this was a rock show.
Dill Scallion party @ Cicero’s: Wow, these doormen need a vacation. The packed
room, including Christine Fugate and her Slamdance girl-next-door, Stacy Valentine,
was in spirited anticipation of Sheryl Crow’s set. Warming us up was Epic’s Gordon,
renamed for the evening as “The Dillionaires.” Their first song, “I’m Alright,” hooked
me immediately with its sparse, warbly guitar and super keyboards. The set went
downhill from there, except for the lyric “45 drips from a lemon tree tastes better
than animosity.” I like it but I don’t know what the hell it means.
Zipped over to BR-549’s set at the “Happy, Texas” wig-out where director Mark Illsley
assured me the distribution deal would be finalized by the party’s end. BR-549 is a
quintet of country gentleman from Nashville with more strings twanging than a tennis
tournament. Y’all-ternative? Rockabilly? Son’s of early Elvis? You bet.
Plowed back to Sheryl Crow but she only played two songs and I missed it. Whoops.
Word from Immergluck was Crow gave it the ol’ college try but her back-up band
(excepting surprise guest drummer Stewart Copeland) wasn’t quite ready for the
big time. [Peter Byck]
>> “King” at Trimark?
Buzz has learned that “Joe the King” is in play with an offer on the table from Trimark.
The film, directed by Frank Whaley, is produced by Scott Macaulay and Robin O’Hara
and features Ethan Hawke,Val Kilmer, and John Leguizamo. Whaley starred in
George Huang’s “Swimming with Sharks” which was also released by Trimark.
>> No Dogs Allowed
What souned like the ideal publicity stunt for a movie, nearly got promoters in trouble
with the law. It seems that the folks from the American Spectrum film, “Corndog Man”
were handing out corndogs on Main St. when a Park City resident called the police to
complain. The police responded with the question: “Let me get this straight….someone
called us because you were giving away corndogs? After some discussion with the
assembled crowd and the film’s representatives, the police took no action and left
with some corndogs. Sheesh! What’s next?
>> Fine Line Takes it “Like a Man”
Variety reported yesterday that Fox Searchlight has acquired Kimberly Peirce’s
“Take It Like A Man” from Killer Films. The deal was made after attorney/rep John
Sloss screened a 20-minute reel for distributors. The film, based on the Brandon
Teena story, features Hilary Swank, Peter Sarsgaard, Bredan Sexton III and Chloe
>> Slamdance Surprise
The Slamdance Film Festival has announced a surprise closing night screening of
“Madadayo” (Not Yet) by the late Akira Kurosawa. The film was made in 1993,
but has not been released commercially in the United States. It will screen
tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. at the Treasure Mountain Inn.
>> Hampered by Variety?
A high-profile competition film had garnered significant interest from major
distributors this week following early screenings. However, after a negative
review in the Hollywood bible, Daily Variety, some of said distributors are no
longer returning phone calls.