BUZZ for January 10, 2003: Partying and Prepping for Sundance, Plus George Romero Speaks
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Kahli Small has joined Focus Features as VP of production, based in Focus' West Coast offices. Small most recently served as an independent producer on "London Calling" and she previously worked for Key Entertainment and MGM.
PRE-SUNDANCE PARTYING: Trying to keep the party spirit alive during the January doldrums, GenArt held its annual pre-Sundance bash on Tuesday at Pressure. Co-presenters of the Heineken-sponsored party were Withoutabox.com, the Woodstock Film Festival, and Film Festival Today. Attendees included Gen Art's Mary Kerr and Jeffrey Abramson, Tom Quinn from IDP/Samuel Goldwyn, Ryan Werner from Palm Pictures (also a Woodstock programmer), Woodstock's Meira Blaustein, UA's Mary Ann Hult, IFP's Patricia Finneran, famed animator Bill Plympton, and Jeff Reichert from Magnolia Pictures. Despite the usual intimidatingly good-looking Gen Art crowd, eyes were also glued on the intimidatingly hot Jake Gyllenhaal/Jared Leto film "Highway" being shown.
On Wednesday, Cowboy Pictures had a party for "The Slaughter Rule," at Piano's downtown. At that bash, Sundance diehards were already talking about who's going to be drinking mimosas on Delta's 7.a.m. flights next Wednesday and Thursday from JFK to Utah. Mingling with director Andrew Smith was Cowboy's John Vanco (sporting a new look for 2003), Greg Williams of Lot 47, director Lucy Walker, Marie-Therese Guirgis of Wellspring, Gary Hustwit of Plexifilm, Weiman Seid of Miramax, and Katie Lanergan of the Sundance Channel. Also Wednesday, Slamdance held a party at Don Hill's, where the crowd included filmmaker Michael Galinsky, whose doc with Suki Hawley, "Horns and Halos" was one of indieWIRE's picks of the best undistributed films of 2002, will be shown at Slamdance.
DAY OF THE LIVING ROMERO: The American Museum of the Moving Image kicks off its retrospective of horror master George A. Romero with an appearance by the man himself. The program, which runs through January 26, kicks off tomorrow with a Pinewood Dialogue with Romero at the 3:30 screening of "Night of the Living Dead." He will also introduce the 6:30 film, one of his faves, "The Tales of Hoffman." The retrospective also includes new 35mm prints of "Martin," "Dawn of the Dead," and "The Crazies." For details, visit www.movingimage.us.
PARK CITY PREPARATIONS: Matt Dillon, headed to Sundance with his directorial debut "City of Ghosts" has never been to the Sundance Film Festival before, and he's rightly guessing that he won't have much time to be skiing and drinking hot toddies by the fire. So he's planning some before-fest and after-fest downtime, starting with a few days skiing at Squaw Valley, and maybe even trying to finish the trip with a jaunt to the Grand Canyon with Cambodian actor, Serevyuth Kem, who he befriended during the shooting of "Ghosts." One guy who probably has more partying in mind for the festival is music video and commercial wiz Jonas Akerlund, coming to town with his frenetic black comedy "Spun," about a bunch of crazy speed freaks. Akerlund tells us, "I've only been to one festival in my life, and that was Toronto a few months ago, where we were drunk the whole time. And I hear Sundance is even better!"
GLUCK'S IN LUCK: Indie publicist Sophie Gluck has left behind her former company name of Wang & Gluck and has set up shop as Sophie Gluck & Associates. The name change reflects the fact that her former partner, Norman Wang, is now concentrating on production of Asian films, not publicity. She emphasizes that there "was no split -- we're still good friends," and that Wang has been living in Hong Kong for a while. Also working at Gluck & Associates is Sandra Ramani. Their current projects include "The Man Without a Past," "Chihwaseon," "The Cuckoo," and "Cet Amour La."
DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS: Those Texans evidently like their movies. The Angelika Film Centers say that the Dallas theater had more than 530,000 in attendance, 25 percent higher than the company's projections. As a result, the Angelika plans to open another Angelika Film Center at the Shops at Legacy in Plano, Texas, sometime in 2003. The company also has a branch in Houston.
QUOTABLE: "I'm still an outsider wanting to belong!...There's a psychological thing that you realize: Why do you want to belong? Just do your thing and that's all, the hell with it...The main thing is to just get the films made, and to try to combine the kind of film I want to make with what I hope could be interesting at the box office." - Martin Scorsese, Salon.com