DAILY NEWS: Code Red Deal; San Sebastian Films and New This Week
by Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Code Red Dives Into Imamura's "Warm Water"
(indieWIRE/08.23.01) -- Code Red, the joint venture between Cowboy Booking
International and Antidote Films, has acquired North American rights to "The Eel" director Shohei Imamura's latest film, "Warm Water Under A Red Bridge," which premiered in competition at Cannes 2001. Code Red nabbed the film from Flach Pyramide International, their fourth acquisition from the sales
company, following Catherine Breillat's forthcoming "Fat Girl," Tony
Gatlif's soon to be released "Vengo," and Ziad Doueiri's "West Beirut."
"We cannot wait to begin the marketing campaign for this film," commented
Code Red partner John Vanco. "'Warm Water Under a Red Bridge' will speak not
only to faithful Imamura fans, but also to new audiences with a penchant for
gangster intrigue and surreal sex."
Before Cowboy's Spring 2002 release, "Warm Water Under a Red Bridge" will
play at both the Toronto and New York Film Festivals, marking Code Red's third film at the NYFF (other accepted selections are "Fat Girl" and
Lucrecia Martel's "La Cienaga"). The only other distributor with as many
films at the New York Film Festival is Miramax. [Anthony Kaufman]
>> Mega Pesetas for New Directors in San Sebastian
(indieWIRE/ 08.23.01) -- Twenty-one films will vie for the biggest cash prize
in all Festivaldom, 25 million pesetas (approx. $137,000) during the upcoming
San Sebastian Film Festival. Known as the New Directors Award, the prize is open to first or second films and this year's theme is described by the
Festival as "contemporary portraits of people trying to get by in urban
environments." The selection also includes a broad array of genre
movies including epic adventures, science fiction, fantasy and legend as well
as experimental work. Spain is represented in the section with three films
and Australia, the Netherlands and Mexico each have two. The Festival will
take place in the Spanish city September 20 - 29.
The movies competing for the award are: "Lantana" by Ray Lawrence (Australia);
"Magnolia" by Ineke Smits (Holland); "The Warrior" by Asif Kapadia (U.K.);
"Absolute Hundred" by Srdan Golubovic (Yugoslavia); "Adrift" by Michael Van Jaarsveld (Holland); "Asuddelsole" by Pasquale Marrazzo (Italy); "L'Attente Des Femmes" by Naguel Belouad (France/Algeria); "Autrement" by Christophe Otzenberger (France); "The Bank" by Robert Connolly (Australia); "De La Calle" by Gerardo Tort (Mexico); "Elling" (Me Myself and I) by Peter Naess (Norway); "Last Ball" by Peter Callahan (U.S.A.); "Paralelni Svety"
(Parallel Worlds) by Petr Vaclav (Czech Republic); "Point of View" (P.O.V.)
by Tomas Gislason (Denmark); "Le Prix du Pardon" by Mansour Sora Wade
(France/Senegal); "Salvajes" by Carlos Molinero (Spain); "Stiller Sturm"
(Silent Storm) by Tomasz Thomson (Germany); "Stranded-Naufragos" by Luna
(Spain); "El Sueno Del Caiman" by Beto Gomez (Mexico/Spain); "Un Perro
Llamado Dolor" by Luis Eduardo Aute (Spain); "Vidas Privadas" by Fito
Paez (Argentina/Spain). [Brian Brooks]
>> New This Week: IFC and IDP Make Weekend Splash
(indieWIRE/08.23.01) -- This week's new indie releases represent a step-up
to the plate for new distributors. While Fine Line will increase the number
of theaters for "Hedwig and the Angry Inch," USA Films will put out Brit
comedy "Maybe Baby" in New York, and Fox Searchlight and MGM/UA will continue to ride on the successes of "The Deep End" and "Ghost World," respectively. Newer players will be swinging for success this Friday.
After rescheduling their summer release slate several times, fledgling
distrib IFC Films has decided this is its big weekend in the sun, with two
movies, Lukas Moodysson's "Together" and Brad Anderson's "Happy Accidents," both opening in New York. Moodysson's "Together" has been a favorite among festival audiences since its Venice 2000 premiere, going on to win numerous awards from Seattle to Stockholm (the director even won an acre of land from
Taos Talking Pictures). A witty look at the contradictions of a 1970s
Swedish commune, the film's touching characters (especially the children)
follows through from Moodysson's 1999 U.S. charmer "Show Me Love." (An
interview with Moodysson will appear in Friday's indieWIRE.)
Anderson's third film, "Happy Accidents" -- a sort of "La Jetee" meets "Next
Stop Wonderland" -- premiered at Sundance 2000 and has been waiting in the
distribution wings for quite some time, before financier IFC decided to
distribute the film themselves (see indieWIRE's interview with Anderson for
more). According to IFC Films, the simultaneous releases of "Together" and
"Happy Accidents" should not conflict with each other, the former targeting
more arthouse audiences at New York's Lincoln Center and Angelika venues and the latter tackling the date crowd at a UA multiplex.
And what about this weekend's largest opening among specialty films? Over
200 screens? In 20 markets? Sounds like a release fit for a bankrolled
mini-major, right? On the contrary, these numbers belong to IDP's release of
"Tortilla Soup." Who? What?
That's right, IDP, the roughly one-year-old joint distribution company of
Samuel Goldwyn, Stratosphere Entertainment and Fireworks Pictures, will release the Latino accented "Tortilla Soup" in over 200 theaters this Friday
(New York's debut follows next week). An adaptation of Ang Lee's "Eat Drink
Man Woman," which Samuel Goldwyn released in 1994, the film transplants the
action from Taipei to Los Angeles, and focuses on a Mexican American chef
(Hector Elizondo), his three daughters and his love for an older woman
(Racquel Welch). Samuel Goldwyn owned the remake rights and partnered
recently with the Starz cable network to produce the movie from a script by
"Woman on Top" scribe Vera Blasi. It is directed by Maria Ripoll ("Twice Upon a Yesterday").
With its ambitious opening, IDP undoubtedly hopes to capitalize on the large
Latino market in North America, which historically has been somewhat fickle
about its arthouse diet. While recent success stories like "Amores Perros"
and "Woman on Top" bode well for Latin American cinema, several attempts at
courting the U.S. Latino audience have failed. Not long ago, Variety
reported on the demise of distribution venture Latin Universe, which closed
after the paltry box office of its first release, "Santitos."
Despite past difficulties, U.S. census figures show a Latino population of
about 35 million, about the same as African Americans. Now it's up to IDP to
attract the audience to the theaters. The non-indie style, sizable opening
for "Tortilla Soup" will be one to watch for those filmmakers, production
companies and distributors looking to reach this large and very diverse
niche. (IDP is also currently releasing Australian director Paul Cox's
"Innocence" -- a love story between an elderly man and woman -- another
market normally overlooked by the majority of distributors.)
Also opening in New York this week are Amir Bar-Lev's documentary favorite
from First Run, "Fighter" (see indieWIRE's review today), which won top
awards at the Hamptons, Karlovy Vary and Newport Film Festivals, and Griffin Dunne's mockumentary on struggling New York actors, "Lisa Picard is Famous" from First Look (see our interview with Dunne at indieWIRE.com).