DAILY NEWS: Content and Open City Pact; DoubleTake Festival Set; and Artisan Signs Motown Doc
with articles by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> ContentFilm to Finance Open City-produced 9/11 Story, "The Guys"
(indieWIRE: 04.04.02) -- ContentFilm has announced a pact with Open City
Films to finance and distribute "The Guys," a film based on Anne Nelson's one-act play commissioned by the Flea Theater in downtown Manhattan after
the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Starring Sigourney Weaver and Anthony LaPaglia, who appeared in the play, the movie will be directed by Jim Simpson who directed the play and is the
Artistic Director of the Flea (and also Weaver's husband). The movie will be
shot on location in NYC and is set to go into production next week.
The film will be executive produced by ContentFilm's chairman Ed Pressman
and president John Schmidt, along with Bonnie Timmerman. The movie is being produced by Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente of Open City, who have a deal with ContentFilm through their digital film production company, Blow-Up Pictures. This pact falls outside of that arrangement.
In an announcement yesterday, the movie is described as the story of "a fire
captain who lost eight men in the collapse of the World Trade Center towers
and the editor who helps him put together the eulogies he must deliver."
>> DoubleTake Five Kicks Off in Durham Today
(indieWIRE/04.04.02) -- With this year's theme "Score! Music and Documentary,"
the fifth DoubleTake Documentary Film Festival begins today at the historic
Carolina Theatre in downtown Durham, North Carolina featuring panels, 67 films
in competition, and 40 additional docs in DDFF's special curated series.
Produced in association with the Center for Documentary Studies, this year's
four-day event will pay tribute to music and its role in documentary
storytelling with filmmaker D.A. Pennebaker ("Monterey Pop," "Down from the Mountain") serving as guest curator. Opening night festivities include a
"Party Under the Stars," and screenings of Alexandra Pelosi's "Journeys with
George," and the "Score! Music and Documentary" series opening featuring
"Yo La Tengo" and the films of Painlev.
DDFF is presenting various themed sidebars including one focusing on
September 11 with work featuring both known and unknown filmmakers who
created films about the tragedy. The festival is also sponsoring its
traditional Southern sidebar as well as hosting a screening of Martin
Scorsese's "Il Mio Viaggio In Italia" and will pay tribute to filmmaker
Frederick Wiseman ("Titicut Follies," "High School") who will receive this year's career award. DDFF is also presenting its 2002 industry award
to Eastman Kodak in recognition of what the event's executive director,
Nancy Buirski describes as "the incredible breadth of support they have
given to filmmakers over the years." [Brian Brooks]
>> Artisan Acquires Music Doc, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown"
(indieWIRE: 04.04.02) -- Artisan has announced its acquisition of the
music-themed doc, "Standing in the Shadows of Motown." The company plans to
release the picture in August, according to an announcement yesterday.
According to the announcement, the movie captures the reunion of the Funk
Brothers, a group of unheralded Motown musicians. The group, according to
the announcement, "holds the distinction of having played on more number one
hit songs than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and the Beatles combined."
Included alongside interviews and archival footage is a classic Motown
soundtrack, as well as a dozen new live performance of Motown hits featuring
Chaka Kahn, Joan Osborne, Ben Harper, Meshell Ndegeocello, Gerald Levert, Bootsy Collins, and Montel Jordan, with the Funk Brothers backing the tracks.
"We are very pleased to add such an entertaining and skillfully constructed
film to the Artisan slate," commented Artisan Entertainment CEO Amir Malin
in a prepared statement. "The manner in which the film brings to life the
rousing sounds of Motown through the lives of the men who helped define the
music of the era makes this an enjoyable film for any audience."
The movie was directed by Paul Justman, and is based on Allan Slutsky's book of the same name. The deal gives Artisan another music-themed doc to sing
its teeth into. It also released Wim Wenders' "The Buena Vista Social Club,"
a film that received an Oscar nomination. [Eugene Hernandez]