by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> Weinstein's Screen "Dogma" for Distributors Ahead of Cannes Debut
While executives and members of the press were settling into suites in Cannes last week, Harvey and Bob Weinstein were screening Kevin Smith's new film, "Dogma," for a select group of acquisitions folks, executives, and others in New York and Los Angeles, in advance of what will be the film's world premiere out of competition on Friday in France. Miramax recently announced that it would not distribute the film because of its potentially controversial content involving the Roman Catholic church -- the Weinsteins are currently seeking a distributor for the movie.
On Wednesday night the Weinsteins, along with Smith and producer Scott Mosier, attended a screening of the film in downtown Manhattan. While one insider clearly labeled the showing a "distributor screening," another called it a "research screening without the research." The showing was hardly a private affair, an audience was recruited in New York at sites including Columbia University, however unlike many such screenings, attendees were not polled with research surveys. The film screened the following night in Los Angeles.
Advance reviews from fans who attended the screenings began showing up late last week on Internet sites including Harry Knowles' "Ain't it Cool News" and the "NewsAskew" site. The NewsAskew site is offering links to a handful of the reviews http://www.newsaskew.com.
>> Shooting Gallery Pursuing "Judy Berlin"
indieWIRE has confirmed that The Shooting Gallery is pursuing Eric Mendelsohn's first feature, "Judy Berlin," which is screening in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. The film, which debuted at Sundance where Mendelsohn won the DGA directing award, also screened at the New Directors/New Films Series in New York. It is being repped by Sloss Law.
A source involved with the deal indicated that both sides are close to a deal. Reached late Friday before heading to Cannes, The Shooting Gallery's Eamonn Bowles would neither confirm a deal nor speculate on the timing of a sealed pact, offering only that "there are a lot of things to consider."
>> Seventh Art Grabs "Karussell"
Seventh Art Releasing's Oren Bitan confirmed Friday that the distributor has acquired the North American rights to new German documentary "Karussell." The film, by Ilona Ziok, captures the life of Jewish entertainer Kurt Geron who, while held at Thereseinstadt, was forced to perform in order to stay alive. He founded the "Karussell" cabaret at the camp and was later assigned to shoot the propaganda film, "The Furhrer gives the Jews a City," before being killed in a gas chamber in 1944.
Commenting on the acquisition by email on Friday, Bitan indicated that Seventh Art first saw the film in the Panorama section at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival. He indicated that they intend to release the movie in September.
>> Indian Officials Cancel Ray's "Kanchenjuga"
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported Friday that Satyajit Ray's "Kanchenjuga" will not screen at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival. Representatives from Films Sans Frontieres told AFP that "The Indian administration's failure to make a decision coupled with its disinterest in helping keep alive Satyajit Ray's work are behind this situation." The company added that they are concerned about the acclaimed filmmaker's work disappearing from movie screens.
This weekend's screening of Werner Herzog's "Mein Liebster Feind" (My Best Enemy) was reportedly scheduled to compensate for the loss of the Ray film.