DAILY NEWS: Minahan Takes Film to USA; Tykwer at Sony; Also, Eveo Advisors and iCAST & Shortbuzz
by Eugene Hernandez /indieWIRE
>> Minahan Lands Seven-Figure First Look Deal at USA for "Contenders"
(indieWIRE/ 8.2.00) -- USA Films nabbed Dan Minahan's new feature film,
"Series 7: The Contenders," securing domestic rights and a first look
at the filmmaker's next project. The pact is a seven-figure deal
according to a source close to the proceedings. The news came
a week after the movie was first shown to the New York acquisitions
community at a private screening, it was screened the following
day in Los Angeles. According to a source involved with the deal,
USA beat out a number of other contenders. Lions Gate and Fine Line
were among the leading companies vying for the picture.
USA Films' Senior VP of Acquisitions and Co-Production Stephen Raphael
and VP Peter Kalmbach brought the movie to USA Films Chairman Scott
Greenstein after the showing and organized a follow-up screening
for the company's team, shortly thereafter a deal was sealed.
In a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, Stephen Raphael expressed
his enthusiasm for the movie and the relationship with Minahan.
"It is all about the relationship with the filmmaker," Raphael explained,
"If you are gonna take a risk on one, I want to do a deal for a second
picture, if not I am not that interested."
Talking with indieWIRE about the pact yesterday, Minahan sounded somewhat
wistful about finally handing the film over to a distributor, yet he
expresses excitement over working with USA Films.
"I think they are really daring and recognize the potential for the film
to reach a broader audience," Minahan said, "I always had hope for USA
because they have such a strong base in television as well."
Stephen Raphael indicated that USA is still discussing the release plan
for the movie. It would certainly make sense for USA to rush the release
this year, given the timeliness of the film's subject matter, but Raphael
indicated that the company could decide to focus on the film's Fall
festival appearances and release it later. The movie will screen in
Venice and also at a high-profile North America festival, yet to
"It is very timely, so you want to take advantage," Raphael explained,
"At the same time you need to nurture and live with a film a little bit
-- Fall is a tricky period -- whatever we decide it is going to be with
Dan Christine (Vachon) and Jason (Kliot) & Joana (Vicente)."
"Series 7: The Contenders," a sharp look at contemporary American culture
through the depiction of a reality TV show, was produced for well under a
million dollars by Blow Up Pictures ("Chuck and Buck") and Killer Films ("Boys Don't Cry," "Happiness"). The film is surprisingly insightful given that its script and production pre-date the current onslaught of reality
programs on American television screens.
"I think that Dan has tapped into the collective unconscious of America
and that's why a movie that he wrote before 'Big Brother' or 'Survivor'
were even produced in this country seems to resonate so strongly," offered
Blow Up Pictures Jason Kliot in a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday.
"That is the uncanny thing, it is as if he pre-figured these shows."
>> Tykwer Returns to Sony Classics with New Film
(indieWIRE/8.2.00) -- Sony Pictures Classics has acquired the new Tom
Tykwer film, "The Princess and the Warrior," Sony's Sr. VP of
acquisitions and production Dylan Leiner confirmed today. The movie
stars Franke Potente, known to audiences as "Lola" from Tykwer's 1999
hit, "Run Lola Run."
"The Princess and the Warrior" is Tykwer's fourth feature film, after
"Deadly Maria," "Winter Sleepers" (which was released earlier this year
by WinStar) and last year's "Lola." No release date has been set for
the new film, but it debut at the upcoming Venice Film Festival and
hit other festivals as well, according to Leiner.
Tykwer's next film will be "Heaven," from a script by Krzysztof
Kieslowski. The film is set to star Cate Blanchett and Giovanni
Ribisi. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> BRIEFLY: Eveo Announces Indie Advisory Board
(indieWIRE/8.2.00) -- Eveo has appointed a high-profile group of
filmmakers to its Creative Advisory Board, the company announced yesterday.
Joining the panel are Doug Block ("HomePage"), Lynn Hersman ("Conceiving Ada"), Bennett Miller ("The Cruise"), Rob Nilsson ("Northern Lights"), Jim Dwyer and Todd Verow (producer and director respectively, Bangor Films), and Haskell Wexler ("Medium Cool"). The group will offer input and mentor emerging film and video makers.
"We are thrilled that Eveo has attracted these renowned film and directorial
talents to our advisory board," commented Eveo founder and CEO Olivier
Zitoun, in a prepared statement. "Their involvement with Eveo reflects
their belief that entertainment is becoming an increasingly democratic
endeavor; that talented individuals the world over can now connect directly
with a global audience; and that Eveo is the leading talent incubator."
>> BRIEFLY: iCAST Acquires Shortbuzz Site
(indieWIRE/8.2.00) -- iCAST announced yesterday that it has acquired the
online film distributor Shortbuzz (www.shortbuzz.com). Co-founded by Robert and Dion Algeri, the site has a library of 400 shorts for which it has
acquired non-exclusive rights. The two are set to head iCAST's movie
channel as a part of the pact.
"iCAST and Shortbuzz share the very same vision for promoting and distributing
short film and empowering artists on the Web," commented Margaret Heffernan,
president and CEO of iCAST in a prepared statement. "The depth of superior
content that Robert and Dion have amassed at Shortbuzz reflects their
tremendous knowledge and understanding of the independent film community
and how the Web can serve today's aspiring filmmaker."