DAILY NEWS: Atlanta Fest Wrap, the Cleveland Film Society Names New Artistic Director and the Five Finalists for the "Perrier Across America" Contest
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE with an article by Karl Beck
>> ON THE SCENE: Southern Jewel, the 26th Atlanta Film Festival
(indieWIRE: 06.13.02) -- Now in its 26th year, the Atlanta Film Festival is
an important Southern stop on the June film festival circuit. Last year in
fact, Ray Ray McKinnon and Lisa Blount's short film "The Accountant" debuted at the fest, qualifying it for Academy Awards consideration, and it went on to win the golden statue on Oscar night.
The Festival, which ended Sunday night, kicked off on May 30 with the second
annual IMAGE Awards (prizes named for the Image Film and Video Center,
Atlanta's media arts center that runs the event). Filmmaker Victor Nunez
("Ulee's Gold") and C-Hundred Film Corp's Jim McKay and Michael Stipe were among the film community honorees on hand for the gala at Turner Studios.
McKay and Stipe's collaboration, dating back to 1987, has served as a bridge
between the South and New York's film community. Along the way, the company
has not only supported the efforts of McKay (director of "Our Song," "Girls
Town," and the R.E.M. doc, "Tourfilm") but it has produced work ranging from docs such as Chris Smith and Sarah Price's "American Movie," Jem Cohen and
Pete Sillen's "Benjamin Smoke," and Hannah Weyer's "La Boda" and "Escuela,"
to the "Direct Effect" public service campaign. Narrative projects include
last year's "Stranger Inside," directed by Cheryl Dunye, Tom Gilroy's
"Spring Forward," and this year's "The Sleepy Time Gal," by Chris Munch.
Munch and Athens, Ga.-based painter, filmmaker, and instructor Jim Herbert
were among the friends of C-Hundred on hand for the tribute at the Atlanta
Festival. As an influential figure in Stipe's life, Herbert presented the
prize to the C-Hundred pair. Reflecting on his role as a film producer,
Stipe commented on the "vicarious thrill" that comes from proximity to
creative people and filmmakers. Continuing, he added, "Proximity
crystallizes inspiration." Business partner McKay considered his 15-year
collaboration with Stipe, adding, "We make the kind of work that we want to
Film and videomaker Peter Care, who has worked with Stipe and R.E.M. on a
number of music videos ("What's the Frequency, Kenneth," "Man on the Moon")
was in town on Saturday night for a sold-out screening of his upcoming
ThinkFilm release, "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys." For his first
feature, Care has collaborated with comic book maven Todd McFarlane to
create animated scenes that take the audience inside the mind of one of the
teenaged characters (the film stars Kieran Culkin, Jena Malone, and Emile Hirsch).
Calling the portrait, originally a novel, "deeper than that of your average
sitcom kids," Care added that the animation as an element only after a few
drafts of the adaptation. As powerful as the end result is, the device would
ultimately complicate the filmmaking process though, according to Care. The
film was to debut at the Sundance Film Festival in 2001, but after technical
glitches with the animation, the movie was held for a premiere in Utah this
Care's "Altar Boys," with a suggestive title that seems torn from the
headlines surrounding the current crisis in the Catholic Church, is in fact
a morality story. Perhaps too moral, wondered Care in a post-screening
coversation with indieWIRE. "I am not attacking faith," Care explained, "I
certainly never wanted to mock faith."
Lower profile films also struck a chord in Atlanta. Lucia Small's "My
Father, The Genius" won the festival's doc grand jury prize, while also
taking the best doc award at the Newport festival this weekend. A look at
the filmmaker's father, the movie was praised in indieWIRE earlier this week
by Anthony Kaufman, who reported on the movie from Newport. Calling the doc
"wry and penetrating," Kaufman wrote that the film "focuses on the
filmmaker's arrogant father -- a once celebrated, now struggling visionary
architect who abandoned multiple wives and children to pursue his dreams of
building a biomorphic biosphere."
The audience award at this year's festival went to Matthew Buzzell's "Jimmy
Scott: If You Only Knew." The award for best narrative short went to local
Karl Hortsmann's "Cliche," while the animated short prize was awarded to Lev
Yimaz's "Hierarchy," the doc short award went to Roger Weisberg and Murray
Nossel's "Why Can't We Be a Family Again," and the experimental short film
prize went to Mitchell Rose's "Modern Daydreams." John Krokidas won the
student film award for "Slo-Mo." Kristen McGary and Amy McGary won the
southeastern media award at the Festival.
The Atlanta Film Festival, with an attendance estimated to have been up by
15 percent over last year, was headed by new festival director Paul Marchant
this year. Marchant joined IMAGE from AIVF in New York where he headed
membership for the organization. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Cleveland Film Society Names Alissa Simon New Artistic Director
(indieWIRE: 06.13.02) -- Alissa Simon has been named the new artistic
director of the Cleveland Film Society, the organization which hosts the
annual Cleveland International Film Festival. Simon will begin her new
position on July 15. As artistic director, she will pursue diverse films for
CIFF as well as other exhibition programs for CFS's year-round events in
addition to representing the organization to local, national, and
international film communities.
Simon holds a B.A. in British studies from Yale University as well as an
M.A. in film history and criticism from the University of Iowa and an M.A.
in arts administration from the Graduate School of Business, University of
Wisconsin-Madison. She has worked for nearly 20 years as a film curator
serving at notable arts centers including the Walker Art Center in
Minneapolis and George Eastman House in Rochester in addition to working as
a programmer for the Seattle, Women In Cinema, and Palm Springs film festivals. Currently, she is a program advisor to the Vancouver and
Karlovy Vary festivals and serves on the advisory committee of the Rogers
Industry Centre at the Toronto International Film Festival.
"Alissa, who brings an international reputation as a highly regarded, highly
respected film programmer with her, will certainly be a wonderful addition
to our organization," said Marcie Goodman, CFS executive director, in a
release. "Her consummate knowledge about cinema and her artistic integrity
will be an excellent match for the high expectations of Cleveland's
sophisticated film-going community." The Cleveland Film Society is a
non-profit arts and educational group that promotes awareness of the art of
film with the Cleveland International Film Festival as its flagship event.
CIFF will be held March 20 to 30, 2003. [Brian Brooks]
>> Perrier/Palm Announce Road Trip Short Film Finalists
(indieWIRE: 06.13.02) -- Perrier and Palm Pictures along with RES announced
the five finalists for the independent filmmaker contest "Perrier Across
America." The five were selected from several hundred submissions of
treatments for potential short films celebrating America. The shorts, running