BUZZ for March 21: Oscar Diversions, Aaron Stanford's Latest Roles, Wellspring Docs and More
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Barry Diller on Wednesday resigned from his posts as CEO and chairman of the U.S. entertainment unit of Vivendi Universal to focus on USA Interactive.
ContentFilm promoted Jasmine Stodel to Manager of Business Affairs; she had been assistant to the company's Head of Business Affairs, Michael Roban, and she will continue to report to him.
WELLSPRING BUYS: Wellspring announced that it has acquired international rights to two docs, Billy Corben's "Raw Deal" and Suki Hawley and Michael Galinsky's "Horns and Halos." Wellspring secured international rights outside of North America for "Raw Deal," about an alleged rape at a fraternity house in Gainesville, Florida. Wellspring got international rights exclusive of North and South America and Australia for "Horns and Halos," about a small publisher's fight to publish a controversial biography of George W. Bush.
GEN ART PREVIEW: indieWIRE co-hosted a party with Gen Art on Wednesday night at Mission in advance of Gen Art's film festival, to be held April 2-8. In addition to staffers from Gen Art and indieWIRE, attendees included the casts of "West Bank Brooklyn" and "Five Years," Austin Chick, director of "XX/XY," animator Bill Plympton, "Nine Good Teeth" producer Madeleine Leskin, "Speedo" director Jesse Moss, Filmmaker Magazine's Matthew Ross, Palm Pictures' Ryan Werner and Nicolette Aizenberg, and "The Chateau" director Jesse Peretz, among others. Though the typically fashionable Gen Art crowd was sipping Skyy vodka and listening to the DJ spin AC/DC, the crowd definitely sobered up as word of the war starting spread while the party was winding down.
TADPOLE NO MORE: indieWIRE caught up with "Tadpole" star Aaron Stanford on the set of his next film, "Rick," in which he plays the arrogant wunderkind boss to Bill Pullman. The role is a return to indie land (note the generic sodas at the craft-service table) after he finished playing a fire-tossing mutant named Pyro in "X-Men 2." Stanford says the fictional company in "Rick," an outfit called Image, is one of those brand-building companies, or as he calls it, "the most bullshit business they could think of." The ContentFilm production is directed by Curtiss Clayton, a longtime film editor who worked on several Gus Van Sant films.
A SWEET DIVERSION: With war starting, you can either freak out and watch CNN all day or try to find a brief escape with simpler pleasures. With the latter in mind, indieWIRE decided to host a little pre-Oscars ice cream social with our new office-mates. (Luckily we have no Joan Rivers critiques in our future, so we weren't afraid of a few extra calories.) The good folks at Cold Stone Creamery provided us with samples their five flavors tied to the best picture Oscar nominees: Chicagodough (vanilla ice cream with cookie dough, chocolate chips, fudge and caramel), Gangs of New York Cheesecake (cheesecake ice cream with chocolate chips, cherries, and fudge), The Cake Hours (cake batter ice cream with brownies, fudge, and rainbow sprinkles), Lord of the Oreos: The Two Cookies (sweet cream ice cream with double Oreos, chocolate chips, and fudge), and The Pecanist (sweet cream ice cream with pecans, fudge, and caramel). With our investigative journalism skills and sweet teeth engaged, we enlisted about two-dozen people for a taste test based on ice cream alone, not film preference. The winner was The Pecanist, with a runner-up nod to The Cake Hours. A sweet victory indeed.