BUZZ for March 14: Paris on the Hudson, A "Normal" Party, and IFC Job Changes
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: David Rooney is Variety's new New York-based film reporter and reviewer, covering specialty film companies and New York productions. Rooney was based in Rome for the past 11 years, where he was Variety's chief Italian correspondent and a senior film reviewer. Born in Australia, he lived in Sydney, London, and he traveled extensively in the U.S. before moving to Rome in 1989.
Matthew Rankel has been named VP of communications for all divisions of IFC. He had been director of media relations since October 2001 for IFC's parent company, Rainbow Media Holdings.
In other IFC news, Caroline Kaplan has expanded her role as IFC Entertainment's Senior VP of productions and development to include overseeing the company's theatrical acquisitions. Sarah Lash, director of acquisitions, will now report to Kaplan.
Caroline Bock has been named Senior VP of marketing for IFC Companies, expanding her previous role with the company to include IFC Television and IFC Films.
Greg Forston has been promoted to VP of sales and distribution for IFC Entertainment; he had been VP of sales for IFC.
Judy Silverman has been promoted to VP of film business operations for IFC Entertainment; she had been director of finance for Bravo/IFC.
Finally, Svetla Sands has been named director of film operations for IFC Entertainment; she had been manager of booking, sales and operations.
FRANCOPHILES: France's opulent consulate on Fifth Avenue was the scene Monday night for a party for the "Rendez-Vous with French Cinema" series currently underway at Lincoln Center. French wine and champagne flowed as the smartly dressed crowd had hors d'oeuvres (no freedom fries here) and chatted with a large contingent of French filmmakers and actors. Among those present were the legendary Jeanne Moreau, star of "Cet Amour-la" who gave a moving impromptu speech for peace and her love of New York. Also joining the party, organized by New York's French Film Office, were Anouk Aimée, star of "A Birch Tree Meadow," François Berleand, star of "My Idol, The Adversary," Guillaume Canet, director and star, "My Idol," Richard Debuisne, actor and co-writer of "C'est le bouquet!," Nicole Garcia, director of "The Adversary," Benoit Jacquot, director of "Adolphe," Jeanne Labrune, director of "C'est le bouquet!," Marina de Van, director of "In My Skin," Josee Dayan, director of "Cet Amour-la," and Alain Attal, producer of "My Idol." One sign of the times at this year's annual party for the "Rendez-Vous" at the Consulate: party-goers filed through metal detectors before heading upstairs for the soiree.
"NORMAL" IN NEW YORK: HBO Films celebrated the New York premiere of Jane Anderson's "Normal" with a screening and party in Manhattan on Wednesday night. After a premiere at the Loews Lincoln Square theaters, guests made their way over to hot restaurant Compass for the buffet supper. "Normal" star Jessica Lange, who plays a devoted wife dealing with her husband's decision to become the woman he feels is meant to be, welcomed warm-wishers at the party. Among her fans was filmmaker Todd Solondz who didn't want to miss the opportunity to commend her on a stellar performance. The film is based on Anderson's acclaimed play, "Looking for Normal." The mixture of humor and drama is hardly a surprise coming from Anderson. She also wrote the acclaimed, "The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom." Guests on Wednesday night included Anderson, Lange, actors Sylvia Miles and Amy Irving, "Sex & the City"'s Kim Cattrall, "Normal" executive producer Cary Brokaw, and Stanley Tucci.
COKE AND SOME CASH: Jordan Ross, an NYU graduate student, captured the $10,000 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker's Award at the end of the ShoWest convention earlier this month. His film, "Mafia Movie Madness" is about moviegoers facing obstacles at a family-owned movie theater. Ten finalists had been selected for the competition last fall, and each received $5,000 to produce their film within eight weeks. First-year film student Ross now claims the top prize, along with the $10,000 purse and the opportunity to screen his film as pre-feature entertainment on 19,000 movie theater screens across the country.
BLOWING MORE HORNS: With war looming, more and more eyes are of course on President Bush, and even more of those eyes should be on Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky's documentary film "Horns and Halos." Their film follows the underground publisher Soft Skull Press as they try to publish a controversial biography of George W. Bush. The doc, a festival fave last year, has attracted even more attention after its theatrical debut at the Cinema Village in New York. Last week, artists Art Spiegelman, Francoise Mouly, film fest organizer Gene D'Onofrio, filmmaker Theresa Kereakes and others bought out afternoon screenings of the film and donated tickets to students involved in the Not In Our Name protest against the war.
HUSTLING: Networking group Brunch in the City is continuing its five-part "Hollywood Hustling" series with a panel called "The Adaptation - Producing Your Indie Film" on March 23 at Zitoune restaurant. The panelists will include Franc. Reyes (director of this year's "Empire"), the Angelika's Barney Oldfield, Manifesto Films' Rob Feld and others. The series will contineu in April, May and June For details, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SXSW ON THE ROAD: "The Journey," recently honored by the South by Southwest Film Conference and Festival as one of the top 10 most memorable films in SXSW history, will be hitting the road on a college tour. Sprite and Journey Productions will launch the tour in April. Eric Saperston's flick, about four young people on a bus seeking wisdom, premiered at SXSW in 2001.
[Brian Brooks and Eugene Hernandez contributed to this report.]