DAILY NEWS: Artisan/BET Deal; Sony Pictures acquires Kitano film; Ebert to host IFC show
by Eugene Hernandez & Maya Churi
>> Artisan Signs Pact with BET
(indieWIRE/2.9.2000) -- Artisan Entertainment President Amir Malin and BET Pictures Chairman & CEO Bob Johnson have announced a deal that will bring 6 - 8 BET films to theaters over two years. The pact, hatched
during the 1999 Allen & Co. retreat in Sun Valley, will involve BET
putting up the prints and advertising (P & A) money, along with a
presence on the new BET.com site, while Artisan will leverage its
"BET is a very strong entity in the cable arena and we look forward to
bringing their efforts in feature film to theaters and then eventually
into the home video marketplace," explained Malin, in a prepared
Johnson commented in a prepared statement, "I look forward to working
with Amir Malin in creating a viable Black studio that will truly open
doors for black filmmakers through BET Pictures."
>> Sony Pictures Classics Acquires Kitano's "Brother"
(indieWIRE/2.9.2000) -- Sony Pictures Classics has announced that they have
acquired North American rights to Takeshi's Kitano's ("Fireworks," "Sonatine") first English Language film "Brother." The film, which is currently in
production, stars Kitano and Omar Epps and is being produced by Jeremy
Thomas who won an Academy Award for Bertolucci's film"The Last Emporer." In
the film Kitano plays a Yakuza officer who goes to Los Angeles to find his
young brother, and the two of them get involved in the LA drug trade and
with local gangs.
The deal was negotiated by Sony Pictures Classics' co-Presidents Michael
Barker, Tom Bernard and Marcie Bloom, and Dylan Leiner, Senior VP of Acquisitions and Production. On behalf of the filmmakers, Peter Watson
of Recorded Picture Company and Stephan Mallmann of HanWay.
>> Roger Ebert to host the first "Independent Spirit Awards Nomination Show"
(indieWIRE/2.9.2000) -- The Independent Film Channel announced that Roger
Ebert will host the first "Independent Spirit Awards Nomination Show."
The show will be a preview of Spirit Award categories and nominees. The
show will present film and interview clips of the nominees as well as
(according to a prepared statement) "wax cinematic and give viewers
the lowdown on all of the contenders in five major categories,
including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and
Best First Feature." The show will air on March 10th at 7:35 pm/ET
and will air several times through out March on the network. The
presentation is a companion to the actual Spirit Awards
with will air live on IFC on Saturday, March 25th at 4:30pm/ET.
[For more information on the show visit the Independent Film Channel
website at http://www.ifctv.com/.]