Chris Gore's TV Trivia; Metallica Rocks; New Canadian Prize; Telluride News; Fest for Girls & More
by Wendy Mitchell and Brian Brooks
INDUSTRY MOVES: Publicist Jeanne Berney has exited her partnership with P&F Communications and is taking a hiatus this summer while planning a move to a new position. Last summer, Berney formed a new PR company and partnered with P&F to create The Berney Group/P&F Communications.
William "Bill" Evans has been named the executive director of programming at the Whistler Film Festival in Canada. Evans had been the director of showcases at the National Screen Institute of Canada.
David Novek has been named director of communications for the Montreal World Film Festival. He has worked with the festival since 1977.
TRIVIA TALK: Tonight on IFC, the sort of geeky film knowledge that usually only gets you admiration in the line at Film Forum will put regular film lovers in the national spotlight. IFC's "Ultimate Film Fanatic" is an eight-part series, kicking off tonight, that seeks to find the country's greatest film trivia expert. Chris Gore of Film Threat fame is the show's host, and tells indieWIRE he's qualified to host a film trivia TV show because "I can read at a 6th grade level and I can deliver lines from cue cards really well. Also, I have mastered the art of walking to a piece of tape on the floor and stopping precisely where the tape is placed."
Gore also doesn't mind hanging out with the show's esteemed panelists, including former porn star Traci Lords and Kevin Smith sidekick Jason Mewes. ("Jason Mewes began passing dirty notes and horribly obscene drawings during breaks in the show," Gore tells indieWIRE. All I could think to myself, as any film geek might, is what they would fetch if they were sold on eBay.")
Gore, the proud owner of a George Lucas action figure, says he's been a film trivia geek himself for years. "There's an entire part of my brain reserved just for that kind of useless knowledge and I'm not proud of it. To point to his own arcane knowledge, Gore says, "I can tell you this, I know who Glen Milstead really is. (And the first person to send me the correct answer, I promise to send them a FREE Ultimate Film Fanatic t-shirt)." You can go to chrisgore.com to answer via email, or to visit ifctv.com to find out more about the show.
METALLICA PARTY: Chris Gore was among the partiers who gathered in Manhattan Wednesday night to toast the new IFC Films release, "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster." The film and music worlds converged at the premiere screening of Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky's doc. Invitees and onlookers braved the nasty humidity and threats of thunderstorms (none transpired) for a glimpse of the band, who walked the red carpet before the movie. IFC's Jonathan Sehring introduced the filmmakers, who brought out their friends and family for the event, thanking them profusely for allowing them to devote so much time to the project, which took years to make. Berlinger and Sinofsky then introduced Metallica's James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo who walked up to the microphone as everyone applauded. Ulrich, the band's drummer and part-time patriarch, admitted that some of the scenes from the film were difficult to watch. The movie chronicles the tumultuous lead-up to the mega-metal band's latest release, "St. Anger," which was marred by internal strife, rehab and the fallout from one member leaving, prompting the band (and their management, Q Prime) to seek the help of a $40,000 per month group therapist. Hetfield, the band's lead singer, gave an emotional 'thank you' to his wife Francesca, who was seated in the audience, for helping him to overcome his drinking and drug problems. The audience seemed to enjoy the film, which of course features a good dose of Metallica's music.
Following the screening, invitees headed over to the Gramercy Park Hotel's High Bar for the party. A DJ played rockin' good tunes, while guests including Sean Penn, Robin Wright, David Blaine, Traci Lords, the Smashing Pumpkins' James Iha, director/artist Julian Schnabel, David Spade, Eva Mendes and Terry Kinney ate, drank, and were merry. Although there was a VIP area, most of the band mingled intermittently with the rest of the party as well as the directors. Even the normally reclusive Sean Penn held court amidst the main party for a good deal of the time, but was barraged by photographers as he eventually made his way to the VIP area. The party was still going at 1:30am when indieWIRE left, but was winding down, although we overheard in the elevator about some after-party elsewhere. (Due to our nagging Protestant work ethic, however, we went home.) "Metallica: Some Kind of Monster" is getting a wide release throughout Europe, in coordination with an extensive Metallica tour. Films Transit International is the film's foreign sales agent, and screenings have taken place to promote the film internationally at festivals, including IFDA Amsterdam, as well as the nights prior to the band's concerts. The film's trailer has also played prior to the shows. Paramount will release the film on DVD worldwide in March, 2005.
As for Berlinger and Sinofsky, they told indieWIRE that they have started work on a third installment of the doc "Paradise Lost," picking up on the latest developments in the dramatic story of Damian Wayne Echols and the murders at Robin Hood Hills.
CASH FOR CANUCKS: The Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia has announced a new award for Canadian filmmakers. The new Phillip Borsos Award for best Canadian feature film will be given at the fourth-annual Whistler festival, to be held December 2-5 in the town of the same name. The prize will carry a $10,000 and will be judged by international film professionals. Only films having their international premieres at the Whistler Film Festival will be eligible; docs and narratives will both be eligible. The late Borsos is best known for the 1982 film "The Grey Fox."
TELLURIDE NEWS: The Telluride Film Festival, which will host its 31st annual event from September 3-6 in Colorado, announced that it has selected Buck Henry as this year's guest director. Henry will help curate and present select Telluride programs, which, as always, will be kept under wraps until the festival starts. Writer/actor/director Henry ("Get Smart," "The Graduate," "Heaven Can Wait," "Saturday Night Live") is also a former programmer for the Los Angeles Film Exhibition. Previous Telluride guest directors include Errol Morris, Salman Rushdie, Peter Sellars, and Peter Bogdanovich.
REEL GIRLS FEST: Gen Art and YM Magazine have partnered to create a new festival for New York, "Reel Girls - Filmmakers on the Verge." The event, set for November 4-6 in Manhattan, will highlight the work of young, emerging female filmmakers with short film screenings. Film industry role models will also be honored during the event. Entries are currently being accepted, for more information, visit: www.genart.org/reelgirls/.
HAMPTONS SUMMER SERIES: A screening of Sony Classics' surf doc "Riding Giants," directed by Stacy Peralta, kicked off a series of summer screenings, hosted by the Hamptons International Film Festival, on the east end of Long Island. In East Hampton last Friday, guests gathered to watch the movie and then toasted Peralta and surfer Greg Noll at an after-party at nearby Ristorante Capri. Partiers sipped local Peconika vodka and Corey Creek wines (along with Stella Artois) and bought raffle tickets hoping to win an autographed, Hamptons-fest logo surfboard. Next up for the series, a screening of Sony Classics' "Touch of Pink" tomorrow night in Sag Harbor with an appearance by film star Kyle MacLachlan.
In other Hamptons fest news, organizers announced this week that they will partner with IFC on this year's event (October 20-24). The network has signed on as a presenting sponsor of the event and will celebrate its 10th anniversary with a bash during the weekend fest. The IFC Film "Z Channel: A Magnificent Obsession," by Xan Cassavetes, will screen during the event.
EMPIRE DVDS: New York City based Empire Pictures will launch a home entertainment division this fall to handle the releases of numerous titles. First up for the unit, headed by EVP Steve Pennie, will be the collection of shorts, "September 11" (11'09"01), Olivier Dahan's "La Vie Promise," and Yoji Yamada's "The Twilight Samurai."
HAITIAN CELEBRATION: In honor of the bicentennial of Haitian independence, the country will host the first Film Festival Jakmel, in Jakmel, Haiti, running July 9-18. The Fondation Sant D'A Jakmel, founded by artist Patrick Boucard and American expat director David Belle, will host the event. About 50 films, including Haitian and foreign narratives and docs of various lengths, will screen. For more information, visit http://www.jakmelfilm.ht.
[Eugene Hernandez contributed to this article.]