by Eugene Hernandez
>> New Officers and Board Members at the IFP/M
The Chicago-based Independent Feature Project/Midwest has elected new
members to its executive board. Andrea J. Diamond of the Oasis
Independent Film Center is set to take over as President, with Dennis
Neal Vaughn of the Chicago Alt.film Fest serving as VP. Secretary is
Joan Richman of Baker & McKenzi and Treasurer is Noel Olken of Waiter
Gone Bad Productions. New directors elected are: Zoe Iltsopoulos, Paul
Marcus, Mary Ann Naas, Rob Pileckis, Johnny White, and Matthew
Wilkinson. Continuing as directors are: Ken Betts, Nadine Karavidas,
Dan Moore, David Sikich, Christina Varotsis, Ron Ver Kuilen, and Kit
[For more information on the IFP/Midwest, contact 773/281-5177]
>> Miramax Deals with Schwartz
Miramax recently announced another "multi-year, first look development
deal," this time with writer director Stefan Schwartz. Schwartz, who
made "Shooting Fish," will develop movies through his London-based
company, Hotfoot Films Ltd., according to Miramax.
>> More Miramax "Talk"
Following up on a story we ran in July..."Talk," the new magazine from
the new Miramax Division, Talk Media, is set to debut in August. Edited
by Tina Brown, formerly of The New Yorker, the publication will now be a
joint venture between the film distributor and Hearst Magazines -- each
will own 50% of the magazine. Beyond the mag, Tina Brown and Ron
Galotti's Talk Media is set-up to produce TV programs and publish books.
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>> Fox Lorber Secures Theatrical Deal for Workman's "Source"
Chuck Workman's Beat Generation documentary, "The Source," which premiered at
the Sundance Film Festival and screened at the Berlin Festival, has been
acquired for theatrical distribution by WinStar Media's Fox Lorber Associates.
Company SR VP of Acquisitions Krysanne Katsoolis made the announcement
yesterday and a company statement indicated that the film, which will air on
PBS' American Masters program next year, will debut in theaters this Spring.
Described as "a comprehensive portrait of the counterculture of the past fifty
years and its enormous effect on art, politics, gay and women's rights,
minority rights, increased awareness, popular culture, and everyday life," the
film was repped by Jonathan Dana.
>> Palm Set to Produce New Norrington Film
Palm Pictures, the entertainment company from Chris Blackwell, will produce
Stephen Norrington's "The Last Minute." Norrington, who directed the 1998
New Line film, "Blade," will begin shooting the new project in April.
>> New Films by Women Mark 25th Women's Festival
The 25th Annual International Women's Film Festival is set for the weekend of
March 19 - 21 at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY. Nancy Savoca's
"The 24-Hour Woman" will screen at the event along with Liv Ullmann's "Private
Confessions," Joan Chen's Chinese/U.S. film, "Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl,"
Samira Makhmalbaf's Iranian film, "The Apple," and Wu Tianming's Chinese film,
"King of Masks." Nearly two dozen movies will be showcased at the festival
which will also include panel discussions and attending filmmakers.
[The Cinema Arts Center is located at 423 Park Avenue in Huntington, NY]
>> Atom Films and ifilm Unveil New Film Distribution Outlets Anchored on the
Last week, indie distributor Trimark announced a licensing deal with
Broadcast.com to stream its films over the Internet. And now, two other
outlets for distributing films over the internet have emerged -- Atom Films and ifilm.
Set to be unveiled at today's Jupiter Consumer Online Forum, Atom Films will
stream a catalog of short films on the web, including the 1999 Academy Award
nominee, "Holiday Romance." The company also plans to distribute short films
on TV, broadband services, and airlines -- among its partners are HBO, @Home,
Go Network/Infoseek, Sundance Channel, Warner Bros. Online, Continental
Airlines, Air Canada, RealNetworks, Reel.com, Mr. Showbiz, Broadcast DVD,
Film.com, College Broadcast Network, Air New Zealand, and SonicNet.
Atom Founder & CEO Mika Salmi was at Sundance this year scouting for movies
and getting the word out about the new venture. Commenting on the launch in a
prepared statement Salmi explained, "Atom is redefining entertainment on the
internet by providing quality content that consumers can't get anywhere else.
Our strong relationships with innovative talent around the world puts us in a
unique position to find tomorrow's hits."
Last week, Rodger Raderman announced the launch of ifilm.net, the Internet
Film Network -- a distribution channel for independent films. ifilm is set to
handle films of any length according to a company announcement -- the site
also offers filmmaker information and feedback forums. Among the movies
currently available on the site are Edward Vilga's "Peephole," Nisha Ganatra's
"Junky Punky Girlz," and Bryan Barnes' "Access." Commenting on the site in a
prepared statement, Raderman said, "ifilm.net is a next generation site that
really captures a lot of what makes the Web exciting as a content medium."
Atom Films and ifilm are accepting film submissions via their respective
>> Castle Hill Acquires' Blakes' "Five Wives" Doc
Tessa Blake's documentary, "Five Wives, Three Secretaries and Me," which
premiered at last year's South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin, TX has
been acquired for distribution by Castle Hill -- the company that released "A
Great Day in Harlem" and re-released of Orson Welles' "Othello." According to
representative for the film, Castle Hill is planning to release the movie in
September, starting with dates in New York and Texas.
Financed by first-time filmmaker Blake's million-dollar trust fund, "Five
Wives" is described as "the story of her 88-year-old father and the Texas high
society from which he springs."
[The film's website is set to debut this month.
>> 2000 Seen By Films Set for NYC Debut
Seven movies by seven filmmakers exploring the year 2000 in seven countries
will premiere next week in New York City -- the films are being released by
Fox Lorber. Four programs, running as double bills from March 12th -
25th at Manhattan's Cinema Village, will offer the entire "2000 Seen By"
series, which was initially created for French television.
Tsai Ming Ling's "The Hole" from Taiwan opens the series as program one,
alongside a double feature of Belgian director Alain Berliner's "The Wall" and
the Spanish film, "The First Night of My Life" by Miguel Albaladejo. Hal
Hartley's digitally shot movie, "The Book of Life," which is screening at a
sold out AIVF event in NYC tonight, will screen during week two at the Cinema
Village, along with French director Laurent Cantet's "The Sanguinaires." The
final program includes Abderrahmane Sissako's "Life on Earth" from Mali and
Ildiko Enyedi's Hungarian film, "Tamas et Juli."
>> Sundance Cinema Center Set for Boston
Sundance Channel is set to play ball in Boston by building a new Sundance
Cinema Center across the street from the city's famed Fenway Park. As Redford
indicated during a conversation with the press at the Sundance Festival in
January, the new Centers, developed with General Cinema, will be year round
theatrical venues for exhibiting indie films, including documentaries. The
Boston site will have 11 screens and 1,800 seats, a restaurant & bar, and a
film, video, & book library/bookstore. The Center is expected to open in
early 2001. Other Sundance Cinema Centers are scheduled to be built in
Philadelphia, PA and Portland, OR.
>> Dimension Acquires Nelson's Teen Othello Film
Miramax' genre division, Dimension Films, has acquired the worldwide rights to
a teenage adaptation of Shakepeare's "Othello," entitled, "O." Directed by
Tim Blake Nelson ("Eye of God") from a script by Brad Kaaya, the film is set
in a high school and begins shooting next week. It stars Mekhi Phifer, Josh
Hartnett, Julia Stiles, Elden Henson, and Rain Phoenix, Andrew Keegan and
>> Sundance Channel Launching Weekly News Program
In their monthly letter to colleagues and press, Sundance Channel Execs Tom
Harbeck and Liz Manne confirmed the debut of The Channel's new weekly news
program, "24 Frame News" -- named after Jean Luc Godard's comment that "Film
is Truth 24 Frames per second." Harbeck and Manne indicate that the six-minute
program will launch on March 12th at 8 p.m. and present "a fast and furious
six-minute wrap-up of the people, places, pundits and peculiarities of the
independent film community. The first edition offers look at a new James
Toback film in production, a profile of "School of Flesh" director Benoit
Jacquot, and a report on the DGA Awards. On tap for "24 Frame News" this
month are coverage of this month's Spirit Awards and South by Southwest, and
interviews with "SLC Punk" director James Merendino, and Austin filmmaker
>> Win A Plot to Bury Mom!?
A new contest on the Stratosphere Entertainment website offers site visitors
the opportunity to win a "virtual" burial plot for their Mom -- in promotion
of the new Stratosphere release, "Six Ways to Sunday." The company is asking
participants to send in a list of six reasons why they deserve a plot for mom.
The film, which opens on Friday, is described as "a perversely comic tale of
harry, a young mob enforcer and his entanglements with the law, his girlfriend
and his lounge-singer mother -- played by Blondie lead singer Deborah Harry.
[Check out the official website.]