DAILY NEWS: Dealmaking in Park City; Irked Filmmakers
by Eugene Hernandez and Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> Think "Gerry"; Other Films Also Acquired
(indieWIRE: 01.17.01) -- Gus Van Zant's "Gerry," has been acquired by
ThinkFilm, "The Dancer Upstairs" was nabbed by Fox Searchlight and late yesterday, Lions Gate nabbed Juan Carlos Fresnadillo's Spanish entry, "Intacto." While today, Variety's Charles Lyons is reporting that Fine Line has acquired Finn Taylor's "Cherish."
The "Gerry" pact for North American rights, the worldwide "Intacto" pact
and the other signings continue a week of deals for Sundance 2002 films,
following Sony Classic's pact for "Love Liza," Fox Searchlight's "The Good Girl" deal, Miramax' acquisitions of "Tadpole" and "Blue Car," and Lions Gate's deal for "May." Other films remain in play as the festival
continues -- Palm Pictures is said to be after "Sex and Lucia."
ThinkFilm head of distribution Mark Urman was beaming as he discussed the
"Gerry" pact yesterday. Reacting to some who have labeled the film too small
or too experimental, Urman said, "Its big in its ideas and in its imagery
and in its ambitions." Urman indicated the company will open the movie in
the Fall. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Filmmakers Irked at Solicitation Policy
(indieWIRE: 01.17.01) -- Pamela Corkey, the director of Slamdance entry "Easy Listening," is accusing Park City officials of entrapment. Corkey, two fellow
Slamdancers and two Sundance filmmakers have all received verbal warnings
for illegal solicitation, i.e. passing out fliers on the street.
Park City has a long-standing ban on distributing fliers and other items in
public places, and both Sundance and Slamdance inform their filmmakers of
local laws before they arrive. The general rule in past years has been that
handing a flier to somebody who asked for it was acceptable, but papering a
street corner was not. At the Slamdance opening ceremonies, festival
co-founders Peter Baxter and Dan Mirvish have been known to demonstrate examples of correct and incorrect behavior to the filmmakers in attendance.
According to Corkey, she and producer Paul Tritter were placing postcards in
a legally acceptable location when a woman approached them and asked if she
could have a flier. After accepting the flier, the woman informed Corkey
that she was a Park City official and that Corkey was receiving a warning
for soliciting. "It was essentially entrapment," Corkey told indieWIRE
Park City special events manager Alison Butz would neither confirm nor deny
Corkey's version of these events. "I haven't been able to find out who
actually spoke to the filmmaker," said Butz. "I've made it very clear to
everybody that the filmmakers have to be giving them out [in order to
receive a warning]. If we were to do [what Corkey claims], that would be
Every January, as the annual flock of festivals converge on Park City, the
city sends out extra officials in plain clothes to watch out for violations
of city ordinances. "We have an escalating process that's designed to let
people know what the local laws are," said Butz. "After verbal warnings, we
give out written warnings, and then citations." Last year, Park City filed
several written warnings but they have not yet filed a citation against any
of the festivals.
Ultimately, a misdemeanor criminal citation for soliciting is given not to
the offending filmmaker(s) but to the individual whose signature is on the
festival's business license. In the case of Sundance, charges would have to
be filed against co-director Nicole Guillemet; at Slamdance, Baxter would
end up answering to the charges. "At this moment, Peter is a free man,"
laughed Butz. "We certainly don't have any plans to put anybody in jail."
"The city has been very supportive of us," said Baxter. "We've even got a
bus that stops at the Silvermine this year. But if they follow through with
the code, I could have a criminal record." Slamdance is encouraging their
filmmakers to distribute promotional material only at official Slamdance
locations, and has started a bail fund for Peter Baxter. "Oddly," said
Mirvish, "it hasn't gotten many donations."
For more on relevant Park City laws log on to ParkCity2002.org.