BUZZ for February 14, 2003: The Bachelor On Film; Stoner-Friendly Flicks; An Award for Altman, and More
by Wendy Mitchell and Brian Brooks
HIGH LIFE: Finally, "Harvard Man" is being lauded as high art. High Times magazine announced the nominees for its fifth-annual Stony Awards, with James Toback's collegiate comedy leading the pack with four nominations. Flicks with three nominations each are "The Banger Sisters," "Orange County," "Igby Goes Down," "Friday After Next," "24 Hour Party People," "Undercover Brother," and "Scarlet Diva." The awards purport to "honor the achievements of filmmakers and actors who celebrate the counterculture through their work" as well as saluting pot-friendly films and TV shows (that explains the categories of "best pot scene" and "best psychedelics scene.") indieWIRE would like to express our shock that "Jackass The Movie" only got one nod, for soundtrack. At least Frank Serpico will be at the awards show on March 5 to accept an award for the 1973 classic flick "Serpico."
BACHELOR ON TAPE: BUZZ has a soft spot for these ridiculous "reality" TV dating shows (maybe that's why we are still lacking a Valentine's Day date). So we were happy to hear that the original single guy, Alex Michel from ABC's "The Bachelor" series, is making his acting debut in Amy Talkington's short film "Our Very First Sex Tape." The film follows a yuppie couple that tries to make a sex tape at a sleazy motel. Michel stars alongside actress Elaine Hendrix, although we at indieWIRE would like to suggest teaming him with that bondage chick recently axed from "Joe Millionaire" in future films. AtomFilms premiered the short this week, and it will also play at the Santa Monica Film Festival tomorrow. "Our Very First Sex Tape" has also been accepted by the Florida Film Festival and the Dallas Video Festival.
ALTMAN AWARD: The San Francisco Film Society announced that Robert Altman will be presented with its award for lifetime achievement in directing at the 46th San Francisco International Film Festival. Altman will be on hand at a gala fundraiser and awards presentation from Lily Tomlin on April 23. Dustin Hoffman will receive the Peter J. Owens award for brilliance, independence, and integrity by an actor. Robin and Marsha Williams are serving as awards night honorary chairs. This award replaces the Akira Kurosawa award, which has been given to Warren Beatty, Im Kwon-Taek, Robert Bresson, Kurosawa, and others. The fest will run April 17-May 1, with Michel Ciment of French film journal Positif as a guest programmer.
SOUTH PARK MEETS HOPPER: In other awards news, the Santa Monica Film Festival will present Dennis Hopper with its Lifetime Achievement award for persistence of vision tomorrow night. The fest will present a screening of Hopper's "The Last Movie," followed by an after-party. Santa Monica also honored Matt Stone and Trey Parker ("South Park").
BIRTHING: Director Jonathan Glazer of "Sexy Beast" fame has started principal photography on his next project, "Birth," in New York. The film, described by Fine Line as "a dramatic mystery" stars Nicole Kidman, Danny Huston, and Anne Heche. Newcomer Cameron Bright plays a 10-year-old boy who tells Kidman he is the reincarnation of her dead husband. Glazer co-wrote the script with Jean-Claude Carriere ("Belle de Jour," "The Unbearable Lightness of Being"), and Milo Addica ("Monster's Ball"). Jean Louis Piel for Lou-Yi and Nick Morris and Lizie Gower for Academy are producing, with Kerry Orent and Xavier Marchand executive producing. Ileen Maisel is overseeing for Fine Line; the New Line release will hit theaters in 2004.
X IS COMING: In more production news, ContentFilm and DMX's Bloodline Films will begin production on their joint effort, "Never Die Alone," a new thriller by Ernest Dickerson starring hip hop artist and actor DMX, David Arquette, and Michael Ealy. The film, based on a novel by African American cult novelist Donald Goines, is about a gangster (DMX) who's murder is witnessed by a journalist (Arquette). Financed by ContentFilm, "Never Die Alone" is the first motion picture to be produced by Bloodline Films, a division of Dark Man X. The cinematographer is Matthew Libatique ("Pi," "Requiem for a Dream").
PARTY CIRCUIT: While BUZZ was too exhausted to party hard this week, there were plenty of indie film events. Monday's bash for "All the Real Girls" was packed with the usual film and Nerve.com crowd, although director David Gordon Green had to hop a flight to Berlin after the screening and couldn't make the party. On Wednesday the Goethe Institute was home to a bash celebrating the Fassbinder retrospective. On Thursday, Artisan and HBO/Cinemax hosted a reception for "Amandla!" at the South African Consulate, followed by a screening.
QUOTABLE: "The first thing I am going to do is call the Academy and remind them that I have a big family and will need a lot of Oscar tickets." -- Nia Vardalos in Variety