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DAILY NEWS: Berlinale Opening Night; and Cowboy's Janus Pact

DAILY NEWS: Berlinale Opening Night; and Cowboy's Janus Pact



by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE



>> BERLINALE 2002: Blue Skies and Tight Security as Berlinale Looks to Tykwer's "Heaven"


(indieWIRE: 02.07.02) -- As with most festivals, opening night exists as a
prelude to the event that is to come. One film is singled out for the
festival showcase. Here in Berlin for the 52nd Berlinale, all eyes yesterday
were on Tom Tykwer and his adaptation of Krzysztof Kieslowski and Krzysztof Piesiewicz's would-be first in a trilogy story, "Heaven."


Tykwer gave Piesiewicz a stong embrace Wednesday afternoon at the Grand
Hyatt as a standing room only press conference wrapped-up. The director
recently showed the film to the writer in Poland and on this day, Piesiewicz
praised the adaptation and hailed Tykwer and producer Anthony Minghella
(director of "The Talented Mr. Ripley") for sticking close to the
screenplay. The enthusiastic bear-hug by Tykwer is hardly surprising given
such warm words, and Tykwer told attendees that there is preliminary talk of
tackling two subsequent installments, "Purgatory" and "Hell."


Tykwer described "Heaven" as "the spiritual journey of someone who has
committed a terrorist act," while actress Cate Blanchett who played the
part, characterized the role as a "journey to a state of grace and
innocence." The story resonated with those who saw it in early screenings --
even if some felt that it didn't quite work -- evoking memories and
commentary on current events. In fact, all day yesterday it was hard to
ignore the impact of what happened on September 11th. Organizers openly
acknowledged 9/11 as the reason behind the extremely tight security at this
year's Festival -- all entering the Berlinale Palast for screenings or to
access press facilities must go through a white tent filled with metal
detectors and attendants with hand-held scanning wands. At last night's
opening night gala party, a sizable gathering of several hundred people held
at the Paul-Luebe Haus adjacent to the Reichstag, each guest was asked for a
photo I.D. which was matched with the hand-written name on the invitation
and again detectors and scanners were used strictly. The attendance of
German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on opening night added to security
concerns.


Other than organizer's decision to move press conferences and media check-in
& ticket facilities to the aforementioned Grand Hyatt, the Festival is laid
out the same way as last year. The heart of the fest is in Potsdamer Platz,
while the Zoo Palast and the Delphi-filmpalast continue to anchor the fest
in the west.


The European Film Market, situated just down the street from the
Berlinale-Palast in Potsdamer Platz, kicked-off in earnest today with a full
roster of screenings. Participants were putting the final touches on booth
displays late yesterday.


A major difference on opening day this year seemed to be the weather.
Regular attendees were beaming over the warmer-than-usual temperatures and
sunshine. However, cloudy skies returned early today here in the German
capital. [Eugene Hernandez in Berlin]


>> Cowboy Unveils Plans for Janus Library


(indieWIRE: 02.07.02) -- Cowboy Pictures is staking its claim in classic
cinema. The indie distributor has struck a deal with Janus Films to handle
all theatrical and non-theatrical rights for Janus' film library. It will
re-release six films per year as part of the deal and films will be packaged
at specialty houses for special weekend screenings.


The pact gives Cowboy a catalog that was once handled by Kit Parker and
Kino
, as well as other out of circulation titles, according to yesterday's
announcement.


In April, Cowboy will open the restored version of Jean Cocteau's "The
Beauty and the Beast
" at New York's Paris Theater, before taking the movie
out nationally. Other titles to be released this year include: Ingmar
Bergman
's "Smiles of a Summer" in August, Henri-Georges Clouzot's "Wages of Fear" in October, and Ermanno Olmi's "It Posto" in December.


Under the "Janus Weekend Classics" brand, Cowboy will screen new prints of
classic international films at Saturday and Sunday screenings. Cowboy is
planning to announce the lineup and its theatrical partners and spnsors
soon.


Cowboy Pictures has hired former Shooting Gallery staffer Jeff Reichert to work with Janes to rebuild the 35mm and 16mm catalog. Janus' library and
history involves the works of such filmmakers as Bergman, Kurosawa, Renoir, Truffaut, Fellini, Hitchcock, and Welles, among others. [Eugene Hernandez
in Berlin]


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