by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE, with a report from Leslie Weishaar
>> "La Ciudad" Lands Riker Taos Festival Prize
David Riker is the winner of the annual Land Grant Award from the
Taos Talking Picture Festival. "La Ciudad," the filmmaker's acclaimed narrative
portrait of Latino immigrants in New York City, was the top prize winner at the
1999 installment of the Southwestern film festival -- giving the director five
acres of land on Taos Mesa in New Mexico (previous winners include Chris Eyre,
Gary Walkow, and Constance Marks).
The festival's George Melies award -- recognizing outstanding cinematography
in short and medium-length works -- went to Gil Cope, for "Pain Angel." The
prize carries a production package valued at $18,000.
>> New York's Avignon Festival of French and American Indies Launches
The 5th Annual Avignon/NY Film Festival: a Crossroads of French and American
Independent Cinema, kicked off April 22 with a press conference at New York's
Hotel Roger Smith, followed by a fund raising screening of Paul Mazursky's
"Winchell" and a dinner at Maxim's. The festival runs through May 2 at the
French Institute in New York, with over 90 events, including 22 New York
premieres, panels, guest speakers and a 30-year retrospective honoring the
work of Paul Mazursky.
Friday night opened with Max Mayer's film, "Better Living," starring Olympia
Dukakis and Roy Scheider. It was followed by Irene Jouannet's French debut,
"I Command You to Sleep," and a late screening of "Brown's Requiem," by
Jason Freeland. Saturday night confirmed that the festival is as famous for
its social events as its movies. At the Club Mistral, the festival's official
meeting spot, guests mingled with Paul Mazursky and Norman Mailer, who
came to see "The Money Shot," written and directed by his son, Matthew
Mailer. "Money Shot" was followed by the U.S. premiere of Daphna Kastner's
second film, "Spanish Fly," an often hilarious look at Spanish machismo. While
Miramax is still contracted to release "Fly" in Europe, due to their recalcitrance
and abandonment, the film is rumored to be in negotiations with a new U.S.
Industry insiders can be heard every morning at 11 a.m. at roundtable
discussions led by omnipresent Festival Director Jerry Rudes. This weekend
featured Paul Mazursky and David Brown, while the upcoming week will
feature Ben Gazzara, Peter Bogdanovich, Annie Nocenti (editor of Scenario
Magazine), David Schwartz (Chief Curator, American Musuem of the Moving
Image), Open City producers Joana Vicente and Jason Kliot, James Ivory and
Francis Veber (writer/director of "The Dinner Game"). Panel topics so far have
included: film restoration and pitching your screenplay while topics still to
come include: visual effects for indies; Euro-American co-producing; pixeled
narrative and video art, film festivals on the eve of the millenium;
cinematography; and aesthetics of music and cinema.
All 22 films are in competition for the 21st Century Filmmaker Awards,
worth over $70,000 in products and services donated to help filmmakers
continue their work. The four winners, chosen by audience ballot, will be
announced on Sunday night. [Leslie Weishaar]
[For more information, contact the French Alliance on 59th Street and Madisonp>
Avenue at (212) 355-6160.]<
>> AMPAS Names Student Finalists for International Prize
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced the five
finalists for its 19th Honorary Foreign Film Award, a part of the annual
Student Academy Awards. According to the Academy, the finalists were
selected from 28 entries representing 21 countries.
Competing in the category are Boele Weemhoff's "Blanche & Marie" (The
Netherlands), Tomas Barina's "End of the Season," (Czech Republic), Fernando
Mainguyague Munoz's "Endora" (Spain), Gaud Jean-Philippe's "Mabrouk
Moussa" (France), and Marc-Andreas Bochert's "Small Change" (Germany).
[Student Academy Awards will be presented in Los Angeles on June 13th.p>
To request up to four free tickets to the event, call (310) 247-3000, ext. 129.]<