DAILY NEWS: Yahoo! Fest Death; "Aberdeen" Deal; Comedy Fest
by Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Yahoo! Fest is Latest Dotcom Casualty
(indieWIRE/02.28.01) — If Hollywood needed yet another sign that the online
entertainment sector is suffering, it got the message loud and clear
yesterday as Yahoo! Internet Life essentially shut down its second annual
Online Film Festival. The event was to have opened three weeks from today
in Los Angeles. Organizers will maintain the online portion of its event,
but have canceled the high-profile Festival which was to have included film
screenings, panel discussions, keynote speeches and parties.
Organizers attributed the cancellation to a number of factors yesterday.
In a prepared statement sent to indieWIRE, the representatives cited “the
recent downturn in the economy, an impending writers’ and actors’ strike,
and the limited availability of sponsorship dollars.” Yahoo! Internet
Life did not respond to a request seeking additional clarification on the
reasons for the cancellation of the Festival.
The event, sponsored by the Ziff Davis Media publication, Yahoo! Internet
Life, was a rousing success last year and was, for many, an entry into the
online entertainment business. Panels, parties, and booths were jammed
during the two-day event which included a sold-out screening of Mike Figgis‘
“Time Code.” Pop.com was among the big-spending dotcoms that rented spacious bungalows at the Chateau Marmont to tout their existence, even though the only thing they had to show off were high profile founders Jeffrey
Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg. Many of the very executives and companies
that were showcased over the course of the event would see their companies
close during the next few months, while others refocused their businesses,
laid off employees or merged with other companies.
“The cancellation of the Yahoo! Internet Life Online Film Festival
notwithstanding, I am extremely optimistic about the future of online
entertainment,” commented Jesse Jacobs who served as Festival Director in
year one and now serves as IFILM‘s Director of Programming. “As with any
nascent industry, many trailblazing companies and individuals aren’t able
to see their missions through. But, the ones that are able to persevere
will be that much stronger and more powerful.”
The Festival is currently showcasing short films in three categories on the
Yahoo! Movies website (http://movies.yahoo.com/onlinefilmfest/) —
animation, live action and documentary. Organizers have announced that
viewer voting will be extended through March 15th and Festival winners will
be announced on March 22nd. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> “Aberdeen” Finds a Home at First Run
(indieWIRE/02.28.01) — First Run Features has acquired Hans Petter Moland‘s “Aberdeen” for North American distribution. The film, which stars Stellan
Skarsgard, Lena Headey, Ian Hart and Charlotte Rampling, was written by Moland and Kristin Amundsen.
“Aberdeen” opened the 2000 Karlovy Vary Film Festival and also screened at
the 2000 Hamptons International Film Festival, where it won the Audience
Award for Best Feature Film.
The company intends to release the movie in June after it closes the
company’s retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. First Run has
sold cable television rights to Sundance Channel according to an
announcement yesterday. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> USCAF Cackles to “Troopers” and “One Night”
(indieWIRE/02.28.01) — Jay Chandrasekhar‘s “Super Troopers” will open the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival today in Aspen, Colorado. Included in the roster
are twenty features and twenty-five shorts, which will screen through March
4th. Highlight events include the world premiere of USA Films‘ “One Night
at McCool’s” directed by Harald Zwart, starring Liv Tyler, Matt Dillon, Paul Reiser, Michael Douglas and John Goodman. Prior to the screening, actor Billy Crystal will present the Jury awards at the Wheeler Opera House for best feature, best director, best screenplay as well as acting awards.
The award for best feature will receive admission to the Maui Film Festival
next June in addition to airfare and accommodations. This year’s seminar,
“The Global Marketing of Comedy” will include producer’s rep John Sloss in
addition to representatives from Miramax, Paramount Classics, USA Films, Fox Searchlight, First Look/Overseas, Variety and Tokuma/Daiei.
“It’s been exciting to watch the forum grow,” commented Film Program
Director, Kevin Haasarud in a prepared statement, “The convergence between
film screenings, filmmakers and the live performance element of the festival
generates a creative environment that is extraordinary.” [Brian Brooks]
[For more on the Festival, visit their web site at www.hbocomedyfestival.com]