New in Theaters; "Fluffer" Deal; RESFEST Plans
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman
>> NEW THIS WEEK: “Deep End,” “Session,” “Guy,” “Rhapsody” Turn Up the Heat
(indieWIRE/08.08.01) — As a heat wave continues across most of the U.S.
this week, a flood of specialty film releases will once again fill the
air-conditioned arthouse screens of New York and L.A.
Fox Searchlight tries to get a jump on the weekend competition with a
Wednesday opening for “The Deep End,” David Siegel and Scott McGehee‘s Lake
Tahoe noir, starring Tilda Swinton as a mother hell belt on protecting her
gay son from being outed and charged with murder. The Sundance 2001 thriller
— which some have called “absorbing” and others “shallow” — nevertheless
received universal praise for Swinton’s performance and a Best
Cinematography award for the glassy compositions of Giles Nuttgens
(“Battlefield Earth,” Deepa Mehta’s “Earth,” “Fire” and “Water”).
“The Deep End” also emerged from Sundance with one of the highest price
tags. Fox reportedly forked over about $4 million, a profit of 500 grand for
the producer-director-writing team — the filmmakers revealed the film’s
budget to be about $3.5 million in an interview with indieWIRE today. Fox
Searchlight’s success with another neo-noir, “Sexy Beast,” currently
approaching $6 million at the box office, should bode well for the “Suture”
duo’s sophomore outing — and the distributor’s bottom line. “The Deep End”
will expand to six additional cities next week.
Glossy cinematography of a different sort can be found in Academy Award
winning director Allan Miller‘s “The Turandot Project,” a documenting of
esteemed Chinese auteur Zhang Yimou‘s (“Raise the Red Lantern,” “Not One
Less”) staging of Giacomo Puccini’s opera, ‘Turandot.’ This meeting of east
and west, shot by acclaimed director of photography Tom Hurwitz (“Wild Man
Blues,” “Endurance,” “My Generation”), premiered to much critical support at
last year’s Toronto Film Festival. Soon after, Zeitgeist Films acquired the
movie. “The Turandot Project” will open exclusively in New York on Friday.
Also opening Friday are a trio of Indiewood releases, Lions Gate‘s “All Over
the Guy,” from indie’s newest prolific romantic comedy director Julie Davis
(“Amy’s Orgasm”), first-timer Eva Gardos‘ semi-autobiographical “An American
Rhapsody” (Paramount Classics’ second tale of Hungarian melodrama after
Istvan Szabo’s “Sunshine”), and “Next Stop Wonderland” director Brad
Anderson‘s horror film “Session 9,” shot on Hi-Def 24p digital video, to be
released by USA Films.
In an interview to be published on Friday in indieWIRE, Brad Anderson talks
frankly about everything from the crazed 21-day production schedule of
“Session 9,” his troubles with Paramount Classics when they pulled out of a
deal to distribute his third film “Happy Accidents” (ironically coming out
at the end of the month after his new film “Session 9”), and his continued
troubles with Miramax.
While it’s hardly a specialty release, Miramax‘s “The Others” also opens
this weekend. A vestige of the now defunct Nicole Kidman/Tom Cruise power
couple, the film stars Kidman and is produced by Cruise-Wagner Productions,
but is most notable for its director. Chilean-born Spanish talent Alejandro
Amenabar makes his first foray into English language production with “The
Others.” Cruise-Wagner is also adapting Amenabar’s 1997 cult favorite “Open
Your Eyes” into Paramount’s “Vanilla Sky.” Amenabar, though, may have
suffered the same fate of many of Miramax’s imports; it’s doubtful that
either of these upcoming titles reflects the gritty, disconcerting qualities
of his 1996 thriller, “Tesis” (“Thesis”).
Miramax will also be busy expanding “Apocalypse Now Redux” in additional
theaters after its formidable $32,331 opening screen average last week in
three venues. In other box office number-crunching news, Variety reports
that “Ghost World,” which opened 17 days ago, continues to perform well for
United Artists, with a per screen average of close to $15,000 in 23
theaters, while Fine Line’s “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” which came out the
same day, has had less momentum, expanding to 46 screens with an average of
$6,221. Hed Heads, where are you? [Anthony Kaufman]
>> “First Run and TLA Get “The Fluffer”
(indieWIRE/08.08.01) — First Run Features and TLA Releasing have announced
their acquisition of Richard Glatzer and Wash West‘s new film, “The
Fluffer.” The movie, which will have its North American premiere at the
Toronto International Film Festival, also screened earlier this year in
Berlin. The companies plan to release the movie theatrically in November.
Set within the gay porn world, the film features Scott Gurney, Michael
Cunio, Roxanne Day, Deborah Harry, Guinevere Turner, and Mickey Cottrell.
Wash West is a director of gay adult films, while Richard Glatzer is known
for his 1994 film, “Grief.” [Eugene Hernandez]
>> RESFEST in Focus for Year Five
(indieWIRE/08.08.01) — RESFEST has announced initial plans for its 5th
annual touring festival. Joining the event this year are two features and
five new shorts programs.
Features this year include Doug Pray‘s documentary about turntablism,
“Scratch,” and the all digital animated movie, “Blood: The Last Vampire.”
The festival tour, which will being on September 6th in San Francisco, has
created 5 shorts programs, to accommodate movies culled from the more than
1,500 entries. Programs this year include: Openers O1: The State of the Art
of Film Titles, Shorts I: Altered States, Shorts II: Human Nature, Shorts
III: Don’t Try This at Home, Shorts IV: By Design, and Shorts V: Directors
Club. Also on tap is the annual Cinema Electronica program. The complete
program for the festival has yet to be announced.
This year’s tour will also hit Seattle and Chicago in September, then London,
New York, Los Angeles, Seoul and Bristol in October, and Tokyo in November.
The festival will also make its way to Cape Town, Osaka, Rio De Janeiro and
Sao Paulo. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: Lions Gate The Next Generation;
“Lift” Wins at Urbanworld; Lot 47 Gets “Some Body”
(indieWIRE/08.6.01) — Today in indieWIRE, Lions Gate President Tom
Ortenberg talks about the new direction the company is taking. Also,
a report from the Urbanworld Film Festival and a Lot 47 acquisition.
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