DAILY NEWS: "American Psycho" Returns; Miramax' Takes "Pinero"; Sundance's Films by Women; and an HD Festival
by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Morgan J. Freeman Directing "American Psycho II" for Lions Gate
(indieWIRE/04.12.01) -- How's this for an unlikely franchise? Lions Gate has
announced that it is producing a sequel to "American Psycho." The film,
"American Psycho II," will be directed by Morgan J. Freeman ("Hurricane
Streets," "Desert Blue") and will star actress Mila Kunis ("That 70's
Show"). The movie will begin production in Toronto next month, according to
an announcement from Lions Gate's President of Production, Michael Paseornek.
In an announcement yesterday, Lions Gate said that the next installment of
"Psycho" takes place on a college campus and is set in the present day with
Mila Kunis portraying a freshman who survived serial killer Patrick Bateman.
"Having formed a darkly comedic obsession to be a certain Professor's
teaching assistant," the Lions Gate announcement reads, "Kunis' character
does away with anything that gets in her way."
"'American Psycho II' is a darkly satirical script in the spirit of the
original American Psycho," commented Paseornek in a prepared statement.
"Morgan J. Freeman is a talented director who we are convinced will make a
film that will appeal to audiences from the late teens on up." The film's
script was written by Karen Craig and Alex Sanger. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> GreeneStreet Films Sells "Pinero" to Miramax
(indieWIRE/04.12.01) -- Miramax has acquired another GreeneStreet film,
nabbing the worldwide rights to Leon Ichaso's "Pinero." The deal follows
Miramax' recent acquisition of Todd Field's "In The Bedroom," a GreeneStreet co-production with Good Machine.
"Pinero," which stars Benjamin Bratt, tells the story of Latino poet,
playwright and actor Miguel Pinero.
"We're ecstatic that Miramax has embraced the project as strongly as they
have," commented GreeneStreet's John Penotti in a prepared statement.
"Benjamin Bratt gives a tour-de-force performance in a magical film."
GreeneStreet Films is a leading New York City production company that was
founded five years ago. Among recent productions are Fisher Stevens' "Just a
Kiss" which will open the Gen Art Film Festival in New York. [Eugene
>> Sundance Channel's She Said Cinema Premieres
(indieWIRE/04.12.01) -- This Friday, Adrienne Shelly's "I'll Take You
There," a favorite on last year's film festival circuit, will have its
premiere, not in theaters, but on television. Shelly's film is one of four
broadcast world premieres (Shirley Cheechoo's "Backroads," Zeinabu Irene Davis' "Compensation," and Irena Salina's "Ghost Bird") airing on the Sundance Channel this month, as part of the channel's third annual She Said Cinema series. The quartet is the latest group of indies to forgo theatrical
release in favor of a broadcast premiere. Last month, Allison Anders
announced that her latest film, "Things Behind the Sun," would bow on
Showtime instead of theater screens.
"It was a hard decision to make," Adrienne Shelly told indieWIRE via e-mail,
commenting on her deal that combined the Sundance broadcast with a
Blockbuster video release, and also included money upfront. "We had offers
for distribution with no money paid up front," she noted, "and my producer
Jim Stark especially didn't want to take them." Despite frustrations that
"I'll Take You There" did not receive theatrical distribution, Shelly says
she has now gotten over her initial disappointment "with the realization
that a lot of people might actually get to see the film on the Sundance
Channel," she stated. "I figure more people will get to see it this way than
if FILMZ-R-US backed up the truck and tossed out the print to three movie
theaters across the U.S." She continued, "That and the fact that between
Sundance and Blockbuster, I am going to get some nice buckereenios."
In her monthly letter, Sundance Channel's Executive Vice President Liz Manne
highlighted the problem for women filmmakers seeking access to the market.
"It's no secret that if a woman's film doesn't do boffo box office, she
probably won't get the chance to make another movie; whereas if a male
director doesn't succeed, he is often enabled to try, try again.
Unfortunately, this double standard applies as much in the independent world
as it does in Hollywood."
To support women filmmaker's viability in the theatrical marketplace, Manne
notes Allison Anders' own efforts with 50/50's First Weekenders Group,
"which supports and attends films directed by women during their first
crucial weekend of release." More info can be found at
http://www.5050summit.com. And in the mean time, there's cable and Blockbuster. [Anthony Kaufman]
>> HD Gets its First Festival
(indieWIRE/04.12.01) -- High-Definition gets a boost this spring in Los
Angeles when the world's only film festival dedicated to the medium unspools
May 25th and 26th. HDFEST will showcase independent features, shorts,
documentaries, television shows, and music videos using HD technology
including the world premieres of "Robbers" by Michael Smith and Bonnie Smith's "Grandmother." Additionally, the Festival will offer comprehensive educational seminars related to the medium. A panel of judges will honor HD filmmaking during an awards ceremony that will take place on Saturday, May 26th.
"The finest high-definition productions from all over the world will be
brought together for the first time under one roof," said Issac Alexander,
co founder of HDFEST in a prepared statement, "Participants will have the
extraordinary opportunity of being the first to witness the best works and
innovations in HD." [Brian Brooks]