A “Florida” Deal; Herzog’s Next Films; Sunn Pictures Returns & More
by Wendy Mitchell
BYE, BYE BUZZY: Dear readers, this is my final week writing indieWIRE’s BUZZ column. Where am I going, you ask? To rehab after all those years of open-bar film parties? To hell for all my snarky comments? No, just to the world of freelance…where I will still be writing for indieWIRE, rest assured (and probably still crashing those parties). The BUZZ column is going on a hiatus for now; watch for BUZZ-y items to appear on indieWIRE’s Insider Blog and the column will re-appear next month.
FLORIDA GOES NATIONAL: Seventh Art Releasing has signed a production and distribution deal for Matt Kohn‘s doc “Everywhere But Florida,” about voting controversies. The film has been endorsed by Rock the Vote and will play at more than 100 college campuses before the November election. The filmmakers described the project as “one part personal journey, one part deconstruction of the most controversial election in U.S. History.”
WERNER THE WORKAHOLIC: BUZZ recently caught up with Werner Herzog, who was at home in L.A. for a few days promoting an intriguing next project “Incident at Loch Ness” (a “doc” starring Herzog directed by Zack Penn). We’ll have much more about that film in indieWIRE before its mid-September release, but for now we wanted to catch you up on Herzog’s many other activities. “There are a couple of films that I’m working on right now,” this busy almost-62-year-old tells us. “I just finished a film in Guyana, in South America, in the jungle. And just two days ago I returned from Alaska doing pre-production for a film in Alaska, which will begin early in September. There’s another film that I have started editing. I’ve struggle with how to cope with all the projects I’m amassing behind me, pushing me.” As if that’s not enough, he’s got a prose book coming out this month in Germany. So don’t worry about Herzog slowing down yet, if anything he’s speeding up — “I wish I could work faster,” he says.
SEA CHANGE: Talk about a restless sea. Fine Line Features‘ release of “Mar Adentro” has changed its English title for the third time in mere weeks. The new title is “The Sea Inside,” which replaces “The Sea Within,” which replaced “Out to Sea.” And be sure not to get this one confused with Kevin Spacey‘s Bobby Darin flick “Beyond the Sea.” “Mar Adentro,” directed by Alejandro Amenábar and starring Javier Bardem, will open in December 17. Still almost four months to keep changing the name…
SUNN RISES: Sunn Classic Pictures, famous in the 1970s for family fare such as “The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams,” has been revived. The new Sunn Classic, which will be based in Palm Springs, Calif., instead of Salt Lake City, will produce and distribute films and TV shows. The outfit’s first acquisition is “Master of the Game,” a WWII drama about a death camp survivor who outwits his Nazi captors. The film will open in New York in mid-November. Former TriStar Pictures founder Lang Elliott will serve as SCP’s chairman, president and CEO, and Raylan Jense, the head of the former incarnation, will serve as the new company’s president of worldwide distribution. Actor Tim Conway will carry the grandiose title of “Corporate Consulate of Literary Content” for Sunn, and he will also star in one of the company’s forthcoming feature films, “Dorf: U.S.M.C.“
SAVING GREATS: The Film Foundation and the National Film Preservation Foundation have announced the recipients of its 2004 Avant-Garde Masters grants, which archives and preserves work by influential American experimental filmmakrs. Three New York organizations won the grants: Anthology Film Archives will preserve Jonas Mekas‘ “Lost Lost Lost” (1976), MoMA will work on Hollis Frampton‘s “Nostalgia” (1971), and The New York Public Library’s Donnell Media Center will work on four films by Larry Gottheim, “Blues” (1969), “Doorway” (1970), “Bar Rushes” (1971), and “Horizons.” (1971-1973). Our friends at the NFPF also wanted to update us about what’s progressed for some fo the works in last year’s inaugural grants: New 16mm prints of 8mm films of George and Mike Kuchar, preserved by Anthology, are slated to be presented at the Walter Reade Theater’s Views from the Avant-Garde program in October and at a November program of Kuchar films at Anthology.
CRITICAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: The New York Film Critics Circle said that it will vote on and announce its annual awards on December 13. As usual, results will be posted on their website, www.nyfcc.com, as they are decided. New York Post critic Jonathan Foreman, the group’s chairman, has already singled out one of his faves: “Though it has not been an especially good year for film so far — with some obvious exceptions like ‘Eternal Sunshine [of the Spotless Mind]‘ — I have high hopes for many of the fall releases.” NYFCC will host its awards dinner on January 9.
SHOOTING IN CHICAGO: Tonight, the IFP/Chicago will celebrate the work of students in a unique summer work program. The IFP and Chicago Public Schools’ Education to Careers program has worked with 15 Curie Metropolitan High School students for six weeks. The students have crated two public service announcements to promote theatre in Chicago, as well as making a doc about their filmmaking experience — “Remix N Six.” The PSAs and doc will screen tonight at a premiere party at the Chicago Cultural Center. The program was sponsored by the Illinois Film Office.