Early “Fahrenheit”; MoMA’s Brazilian Series; THINKFilm Shooting “Lie With Me”; Participant Productions Plans; Canadian News & More
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Richard P. Crudo has been re-elected president of the American Society of Cinematographers for the second year. Other officers are VP Owen Roizman, Daryn Okada, and Curtis Clark; treasurer Russ Alsobrook; secretary Roy Wagner; and Sergeant at Arms Nancy Schreiber. The new ASC board of governors will also include Stephen Burum, Russell Carpenter, Roger Deakins, William A. Fraker, Victor J. Kemper, Laszlo Kovacs, Robert Primes, John Toll, and Vilmos Zsigmond. Alternate members include Bobby Byrne, George Spiro Dibie, John Hora, Francis Kenny, and Stephen Lighthill.
The Los Angeles Film Critics Association has elected officers for the 2004-2005 term: Henry Sheehan (KPCC, HenrySheehan.com) was elected president; Lael Lowenstein (Variety, KPCC) was elected VP; Len Klady (Movie City News) was elected secretary; and Alonso Duralde (The Advocate) was reelected as treasurer. Jean Oppenheimer (Screen International, KPCC), the immediate past president, joined the group’s board of directors, along with the current officers.
EARLY ‘FAHRENHEIT’: Michael Moore‘s “Fahrenheit 9/11” will debut two days earlier than planned at two New York City theaters. The movie will open for business on Wednesday (June 23rd) at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas on the Upper West Side and at Loews Cineplex Village VII downtown. Lions Gate Films head Tom Ortenberg said Thursday in a statement that the decision was aimed at meeting demand for the film. The movie is expected to open in at least 500 theaters on June 25th, as of last week Lions Gate was predicting an opening on about 750 screens.
VIVA BRAZIL: The Museum of Modern Art will host its second-annual contemporary Brazilian cinema series, Premiere Brazil!, from June 23-29. The 11-film exhibition will include narratives and docs; it will open with the world premiere of Joel Zito Araujo‘s “Filhas do Vento” (Daughters of the Wind) and will close with the 1962 Cannes winner “O Pagador de Promessas” (The Given Word), by director Anselmo Duarte. Two features in the program will get one-week runs: “Daughters of the Wind,” with the largest cast of black actors ever seen in a Brazilian film, and “A Pessoa é para o que Nasce” (Born to Be Blind), a documentary about three blind sisters, directed by Roberto Berliner. Other films include “Fala Tu” (Lives of Rhyme), a doc about three amateur musicians in Rio; “O Prisioneiro da Grade de Ferro (auto-retratos)” (The Prisoner of the Iron Bars [Self-Portraits]), about inmates in the infamous Carandiru Detention Center who started recording their daily lives with video cameras; and domestic box-office hit “Deus é Brasileiro” (God Is Brazilian), Carlos Diegues‘ story of an eclectic trio on a road trip in northeast Brazil. Shorts in Premiere Brazil! 2004 are “Um Caffé com Miécio” (A Caffé with Miécio) about portraitist and cartoonist Caffé; and “Quimera,” directed by Eryk Rocha and Tunga, an homage to surrealism. The series will be held at Film Forum, as MoMA waits for the renovation of its museum in midtown Manhattan. For more on the program, visit moma.org or filmforum.com.
CANADIAN LAB: In addition to its new Canada First! and Short Cuts Canada programs, the Toronto International film Festival will be presenting the fifth-annual Telefilm Canada Pitch This! Competition and will also introduce a new program, Talent Lab Toronto. The Lab will be an intense three-day workshop (September 10-12) for 20 emerging Canadian filmmakers. Applications are due July 12 for Pitch This! and July 19 for Talent Lab. For details, visit www.tiffg.ca/industry.
STARTING “LIE WITH ME”: Clement Virgo has started principal photography in Toronto on “Lie with Me,” THINKFilm announced. The film, which Virgo co-wrote with Tamara Faith Berger based on Berger’s novel of the same name, is about two attractive young people who rebel from middle class conformity through casual and daring sex. Eric Balfour (“The O.C.,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre”) and Lauren Lee Smith (“The L Word”) will star. Damon D’Oliveira and Virgo are producing through Conquering Lion Pictures. THINKFilm plans a 2005 release. “Clement and Tamara’s script explores human sexuality with a bravery and honesty not seen on screen since Bertolucci‘s ‘Last Tango in Paris,’” said THINKFilm’s Mark Urman. “We are thrilled to be in bed with such a provocative filmmaker and fully expect Clement, Tamara and their terrific actors to create the most, honest, erotic, and intimate film about sex ever made in North America.”
A NEW PARTICIPANT: Philanthropist Jeff Skoll has formed Participant Productions, an L.A.-based production shingle focused on “socially relevant, commercially viable feature films.” The company has financing in place to create four to six films per year with budgets from under $5 million to $40 million. The team at Participant will include EVP of business affairs and operations Michael Roban (formerly of ContentFilm), EVP of creative affairs and production Chris Salvaterra (formerly of Casey Silver Productions), SVP of business development Chris Adams (formerly of Lycos and Amazon.com), and CFO Jeff Ivers (formerly of MGM). Nate Moore, formerly of Columbia Pictures, will serve as creative executive.
The company’s first project, in pre-production, is “American Gun” (working title), a co-production with IFC to be distributed by IFC Films. Aric Avelino will make his writing and directing debut with this film of interwoven stories about gun proliferation in America. Offers are out to actors including Donald Sutherland, Forest Whitaker, and Linda Cardellini.
MAVERICK’S HORROR: Florida-based Maverick Entertainment Group announced that it will release a slate of horror films under the new label Creep FX. The first release for the home-video label will be “Dark Hunters,” due in September.
CINEQUEST QUALIFIES: Cinequest has been added to the Academy’s list of qualifying festivals for short films. Recipients of Cinequest’s best short narrative and best short animation prizes will qualify for Oscar consideration, if they comply with other Academy rules.
DIVERSITY WINNERS: The National Film Board of Canada has announced the five winners of its Reel Diversity Competition, which promotes emerging filmmakers of color from across Canada. The winners and their documentaries are Barbara K. Lee for “In Between the Laughter,” Arinze Eze for “Born with a Silver Spoon,” Sanjay Talreja for “Cricket and the Meaning of Life,” Olivier Tsai for “Hybrid,” and Sobaz Benjamin for “The Oreo and the Wigga.”