DAILY NEWS: SF Queer Fest Closes; SAG Chief; Nantucket Winners; Hypnotic & Sundance; Letter about Shooting Gallery
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> SF Lesbian & Gay Fest Closes with 84,000 Tickets Sold; Awards Presented as Event Closes 25th Year
(indieWIRE/06.26.01) — Branding itself the largest film festival in
California, with ticket sales topping 84,000, the 25th San Francisco
International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival came to a close over the weekend.
The event’s Audience Award for Best Feature went to Yongyooth Thongkonthun‘s
“Iron Ladies” (Satreelex), the true story of a Thai volleyball team made up
of transvestites, transsexuals, drag queens and gay players. While Tom
Shepard‘s “Scout’s Honor,” a look at the anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts
of America, won the Audience Award for Best Documentary. The Audience Award
for Best Short went to Melissa Regan‘s “No Dumb Questions.”
Finally, the juried Dockers First Feature Award went to John Cameron
Mitchell for his acclaimed upcoming film, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” His
film is set to open in theaters next month. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> SAG Names Cooke to Film CEO and National Exec Slot
(indieWIRE/06.26.01) — John F. Cooke has been named to the new position of
Chief Executive Officer and National Executive Director of the Screen Actors
Guild (SAG), the organization announced yesterday (Monday).
Cooke served as Exec. VP of external affairs at the J. Paul Getty Trust as
well as a top exec at the Walt Disney Company, where he served as President
of The Disney Channel for ten years.
“The selection of John promises to usher in a new and exciting era for the
Screen Actors Guild,” SAG President William Daniels said in a prepared
statement, “I think we all believe that a new chapter is being written in
the history of the Guild today.” [Eugene Hernandez]
>> “Rhapsody” and “Together” Triumph in Nantucket
(indieWIRE/06.26.01) — “An American Rhapsody” by Eva Gardos and Lukas Moodysson‘s “Together” won top prizes at the 6th Annual Nantucket Film Festival. “Rhapsody,” which won the Audience Award for Best Feature, is
centered on an Hungarian family that leaves their home in the ’50s for
America. The film also earned the Perrier Bubbling Under Award
nomination for most promising first time feature film director.
Moodysson’s “Together,” about a ’60s commune in Sweden, garnered the
Other highlights of the event included a tribute to Oscar-nominated
screenwriter Walter Bernstein hosted by MSNBC‘s, Brian Williams.
Mr. Bernstein was blacklisted in the 1950s for being a member of the
Communist Party but went on to earn an Academy Award nomination for
“The Front.” Arthur Penn presented the award to Bernstein who wrote
the screenplay for “Magnificent Seven” which Penn directed. The
Festival closed on the Massachusetts resort island on Sunday.
[CORRECTION: John Sturges directed “The Magnificent Seven,” we apologize for the error]
>> Sundance and Hypnotic Team for Short Film Series; Sundance Also Acquires Three Hynotic Movies
(indieWIRE/06.26.01) — Sundance Channel and Hypnotic have announced a deal to produce a series of short film programs. The one-hour shows will be
themed programs that will be jointly produced and sold to ancillary outlets
including airlines, broadband channels, television networks, video-on-demand
and pay-per-view services, as well hotels, according to yesterday’s
announcement. The programs will be dubbed, “Sundance Channel and Hypnotic
Present Shorts Stop.”
“This program with Hypnotic gives us a unique opportunity to extend the
Sundance Channel brand to new audiences and expand the scope of
opportunities for short filmmakers,” commented Sundance Channel President
and CEO Larry Aidem in a prepared statement. While Hypnotic President and
COO Jeremy Bernard added, “We are excited about working with Sundance
Channel in this venture and in support of independent films and filmmakers.”
Tapping the Hypnotic library of shorts, the programs will include such
topics as women, student filmmakers, animation, relationships, and urban
films, according to the announcement. Behind-the-scenes footage and a look
into the creative process will be included in the new series.
Separately, Sundance Channel also announced that it has acquired the pay TV
rights to three Hynotic shorts, Anthony Dominici‘s “Peter Rabbit and the
Crucifix,” Greg Durbin‘s “Boundaries,” and Ari Gold‘s “Culture.” [Eugene Hernandez]
>> LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: in Response to “What’s Next For The Shooting Gallery? Questions Linger After Emotional Friday at TSG”
Like many of my colleagues in the independent film community, I have been
shocked by the announcements regarding THE SHOOTING GALLERY. Here is one of
the most (seemingly) successful and innovative companies in our sphere,
whose daring gamble of a series of foreign and indie films has reinvigorated
the industry and the audience for specialty cinema.
What happened? Is it a falling domino effect from the dot-gone collapse?
Didn’t the Series produce enough income to be a sustaining entity? Didn’t
international sales of the company’s self-produced films provide an added
Is there a lesson here? Maybe indie companies that are willing to compromise
their independence for an infusion of venture capital are playing Russian
roulette with their own fate and future.
Film, from its very start, has been an uneasy alliance between passionate
fervor and business sensibility. But when corporate America tries to mold it
into just another business, and not respect its uniqueness and
unpredictability, we see that the corporate “support” is very thin indeed.
Just look at Winstar. Now look at Shooting Gallery.
There could be a reversal in the final reel, and I certainly hope so. Not
just for the hard working staffers and creative execs (kudos to Eammon
Bowles and company), but for the indie and foreign sector as a whole.
Through its production arm and its championing of “lost” films that would
have fallen between the cracks, The Shooting Gallery has been a leader. In
this time of uncertainty, when even our national leaders look so tentative,
we cannot afford to lose such gifted and farsighted people.
But hey, the ultimate lesson here may be…..being independent is a choice
(a personal, business and philosophical one) not a chic label or trendy fad.
Accept those corporate gifts with a grain of salt and know that whoever you
are, even the best get tempted. And violated.
President, International Media Resources
[RESPONSES can be sent to email@example.com ]
(letters may be published and are subject to the terms
of the legal page linked at the end of this issue)
>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: What’s Next For The Shooting Gallery? Questions Linger After Emotional Friday at TSG
(indieWIRE/06.25.01) — Venerable indie company, The Shooting Gallery,
faces a critical stage as employees are told they’re essentially laid off.”
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