DAILY NEWS: Sloss Teams With Pop.com; Figgis Bows "Time Code"; Lynch To Animate For Web With Shockwave
By Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
(indieWIRE/3.23.2000) — Hollywood converged on the first Yahoo! Internet
Life Online Film Festival yesterday and event organizers are still reeling.
Festival venues were overrun with eager, cell-phone wielding industry folks
anxious to participate. While some crowded into seminars, others trafficked
the Standard and Chateau Marmont hotels meeting reps from numerous sites and still others hung out and networked by the pool.
It may take indieWIRE some time to sift through the piles of press releases
issued by attending companies that took the opportunity to announce new
alliances and partnerships. A few highlights from day one:
>> Sloss and Pop.com Team for POPFEST
(indieWIRE/3.23.2000) — New York-based attorney and executive producer
John Sloss made a surprise appearance at the Yahoo! Festival here in
Los Angeles yesterday, joining POP.com exec Dan Sullivan at the jammed
afternoon seminar entitled “Bringing Hollywood to the Web.” Before a
standing-room only audience packed into the Future Bar at the Standard
Hotel, Sullivan and Sloss announced that Sloss is joining POP.com
principles Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen to form POPFEST, a user-generated section of the
soon-to-launch site that will showcase independently produced shorts,
animation, games and other digital content.
As part of the pact, Sloss will create an entity separate from his
law practice to produce original online programming — dubbed “pops”–
and oversee the acquisition and exhibition of all POPFEST content.
Given Sloss’ relationships with leading indie filmmakers (Kevin Smith,
Richard Linklater, Errol Morris, Christine Vachon‘s Killer Films), the
deal will surely give off-Hollywood filmmakers a high-profile platform
for creating and exhibiting made-for-the-web work.
Shortly after the announcement, indieWIRE sat down with POP.com’s
Dan Sullivan at the site’s colorful and crowded bungalow at the Chateau
Marmont. “We wanted to find a partner who is as prolific in his world
as Steven, Ron, Brian, Jeffrey and David are in theirs,” Sullivan told
indieWIRE, “No one has roots as deep in independent film as John Sloss.”
POPFEST will launch along with the POP.com site later this Spring and
include to other partnerships that were announced yesterday. Amazon.com
is on board to create a special co-branded section that will give filmmakers
the opportunity to sell shorts on VHS and DVD via the Amazon Advantage
program and POPFEST will work with Whatshotnow.com on merchandising.
The site is now accepting submissions.
POP.com’s Chateau cottage will undoubtedly be a hot spot again today,
indieWIRE has learned that POP founders Ron Howard, Brian Grazer and
Jeffrey Katzenberg will be on hand this afternoon to meet and greet
>> Figgis’ Digital Feature, “Timecode,” Unveiled
(indieWIRE/3.23.2000) — Huge crowds and extended applause greeted
the world premiere of Mike Figgis‘ bold digital feature experiment,
“Time Code” last night at the DGA. A cadre of Hollywood notables,
including Dustin Hoffman, Quentin Tarantino, Nicholas Cage and members
of the cast were on hand for the first showing and the post-screening
soiree atop the Hyatt on Sunset — festival organizers added additional
screenings last night to accommodate the large crowds.
Shot entirely on digital video, the movie is a striking project.
Figgis’ digital cameras follow four storylines as they intersect at
a venue on Sunset Blvd. in Los Angeles. Each storyline is shot in
real-time, without cuts and presented on screen in a unique four-screen
image. Viewers see each story play out next to the other, while the
sound of a particular segment is raised and lowered to focus audience
attention on an individual strand of the narrative.
Figgis worked with a high-profile cast of actors (Holly Hunter, Stellan
Skaarsgard, Saffron Burrows, Salma Hayek, Kyle MacLachlan, Julian Sands and others) who shunned the trappings of stardom (catering, and beauty staff) and improvised each scene in the movie. There was no script, only a
storyline by Figgis and marks that each actor had to meet in order to
move the action forward. The film was shot in its entirety more than
a dozen times.
Cage introduced Figgis before an enthusiastic crowd saying, “He’s
about going further, he’s about exploring.” The filmmaker admitted
that it was with “stark terror and real anticipation” that he offered
his new film, calling this “probably the most interesting period in
filmmaking in the last 50 years.” Continuing, he added, “studios will
have to reinvent themsleves” — the remark elicited cheers from
attendees. Capping his pre-screening remarks, Figgis noted, “I
think that this is the future, so enjoy it.”
>> David Lynch Going Online with Shockwave
(indieWIRE/3.23.2000) — David Lynch made a surprise appearance at
the Yahoo! Festival yesterday to announce that he is teaming with
Shockwave to create original animated content for the Internet.
Dubbed “Dumb Land,” Lynch quipped that the series is “very dumb
and it’s very bad quality.” Continuing he offered, “It’s going
to be very crude, but sophisticatedly crude.”
Lynch said that he hopes to deliver a new three-minute installment
every two weeks beginning in June. He intends to master Shockwave
and create the installments himself.
The news marks the latest in a series of deals that Shockwave.com
has inked with key Hollywood creatives. Recently, the site announced
pacts with “South Park” creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, Spiderman creator Stan Lee, Tim Burton and producer James L. Brooks.