Milestone's Milestone; also, New Animation Site and B2B Bucks
by Eugene Hernandez /indieWIRE
>> Milestone Marks 10 Year Milestone
(indieWIRE/ 8.9.00) -- Over the past 10 years, many have fallen
in the risky world of small theatrical distribution, but a few
dedicated outfits have survived -- even flourished. Zeitgeist Films,
Strand Releasing, and First Run Features -- little companies with
big hearts and discriminating tastes that have carved a small niche
in the marketplace and stuck to it.
Milestone Film and Video, run by husband and wife team Amy
Heller and Dennis Doros, is another such company, now celebrating
its 10th anniversary with a retrospective at New York's Walter Reader
Theater, running today through the 24th. "I'm always a little surprised
how far we've come," says Doros. Their catalogue of films ranges from
hip foreign-language titles like Hirokazu Kore-Eda's "Maborosi" (1995)
and their biggest theatrical money winner Takeshi Kitano's "Fireworks"
(1997), to rediscovered classics like Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's
"It Happened Here" (1966) and Roy Boulting's "Pastor Hall" (1940). Also, included are early epics such as Frank Hurley's "South: Ernest Shackleton
and the Endurance Expedition" (1919) and F.W. Murnau and Robert
Flaherty's surprising collaboration "Tabu: A Story of the South Seas"
(1929-31) -- all of which will be showing in New York, along with
not-to-miss titles such as Mikhail Kalatozov's "I am Cuba" (1964)
and a new restoration of Rolando Klein's "Chac: the Rain God" (1974).
How has Milestone stayed financially afloat this last decade?
"We devoted ourselves to doing everything high quality, spending
the money wisely and being perfectionists -- the prints are done
at the best labs, we spend months on the posters, and somehow it worked,"
says Doros. As for the future of the company, Doros and Heller remain
confident that their titles will always be in demand. "When we choose
these films, we really choose them because they're still going to be good
in ten years," says Doros. "All the things that we thought made these
films have enduring value will continue to make them have enduring
value." The company has several new films on the horizon, Henri-George
Clouzet's "The Mystery of Picasso" (1955) about the famous painter,
Gilles Pontecorvo's "La Grande Strada Azzura" (1957) and a program of
John Canemaker's animation. [Anthony Kaufman]
[For more information on Milestone Film and Video, contact, visit:
>> Stickyflicks.com Unveils Animation Site
(indieWIRE/ 8.9.00) --A new original animation site launched
last week, founded by David Burke and Eli Balser. Dubbed
Stickyflicks.com, the site has attracted a host of notable animators,
including artist Bill Schwab ("Beavis and Butthead"), animation
director Kelly Armstrong ("Ren & Stimpy"), and creator/storyboarder Greg Emison ("Cow & Chicken"). The new company intends to create up to
twenty-four new weekly episodic programs a year.
"People ask us how we're different," commented co-founded,
President and Creative Director David Burke, "For one, just about
all of our content is created in-house by our own writers and
animators who have found a place where they can express their character
designs, their story ideas, and whatever else they want to get off
their nasty little minds -- within certain legal limits of course.
Also, a lot of our content is irreverent, some downright tasteless,
but unlike some companies in this space, we draw the line at being
mean-spirited." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Creative Planet Secures $38M for B2B Efforts
(indieWIRE/ 8.9.00) -- Entertainment industry resource site
Creative Planet,Inc. announced yesterday that it has raised
$38 million in financing. The news comes on the heels of
competitor IFILM's announcement that it has acquired Film Finders.
The two sites are among a handful competing to be the "B2B" to beat
in Hollywood's film information and resource space. While each is
slightly different, the two are clearly competing with other sites
such as ShowbizData, FilmBazaar, and even Reelplay. Creative Planet's assets include MovieMagic Producer and Studio System.
"Creative Planet has always been committed to bringing to market
the applications and resources creative professionals require,"
commented Creative Planet Chairman and CEO Allen DeBevoise,
"With this new investment, it is exciting to see that leaders
within the investment community share our same vision." Creative
Planet board members include MPAA's Jack Valenti, former Viacom and Universal chief Frank Biondi, AOL's Ted Leonsis and Internet.com CEO Alan Meckler. Adding to DeBevoise's comments, Biondi stated in a prepared statement, "By marrying Internet technologies with its
industry-standard assets, the company is resolving basic inefficiencies
in the production process and providing unprecedented cost-saving
opportunities for networks and studios, producers, and creative
professionals." [Eugene Hernandez]