DAILY NEWS: Deutchman's Digital Plans; Nantucket Winners and a Report from Maui
by Matthew Ross, Brian Brooks/indieWIRE with an article by Christian Gaines
>> Deutchman Emerges with New Digital Outfit
(indieWIRE: 06.25.02) -- Ira Deutchman, one of the American independent film
scene's most accomplished veterans, has a new gig. For the past ten months,
the co-founder of Cinecom and Fine Line (and current partner in Redeemable Features as well as faculty member at Columbia University) has been quietly assembling Emerging Pictures, a digital production and exhibition outfit based in New York.
Deutchman's business model, however, is not to offer Gotham and other major
market audiences yet another art movie venue, but to spread the word to
territories that may not be quite so familiar with the world of specialized
films. "The idea behind Emerging Pictures is to become a complete vertically
integrated digital film company," said Deutchman from his office in midtown
Manhattan. "We want to put together a network of non-traditional theaters
linked by satellite. We've identified over 5,000 under-utilized auditoriums
or theaters in performing arts centers and other venues around the country,
and we want to bring movies to them."
Emerging Pictures will book each film on a calendar basis, playing for
one-week stints only. If a film performs well enough to warrant another
booking, it will return to the theater for another week-long booking at a
later date. Deutchman says he plans to exhibit other distributors' films as
well as acquiring other titles that "fall under the radar" and working with
some original productions.
"The example that I like to use for people is Scranton, PA," Deutchman told
indieWIRE. "Scranton has traditionally been a C or a D market as far as far
as art films are concerned. By the time the films get there, it's been six
or eight months since the film has been released in major markets. Our
philosophy is that if you have a concurrent release with the major markets
sent via satellite, then Scranton immediately becomes a B market based on
Deutchman hopes to outfit 200 theaters within the next three years. The
first three theaters, in Scranton, New Brunswick, NJ, and one other
location, will open within the next three months. [Matthew Ross]
[For more information, visit:
>> Nantucket Awards Top Prizes To "Bang, Bang" and "Revolution #9"
(indieWIRE: 06.25.02) -- The Nantucket Film Festival announced the winners
of its seventh edition, which closed over the weekend. Taking the audience
award in the feature category was the Showtime Original Picture, "Bang, Bang
You're Dead," directed by Guy Ferland and written by William Mastrosimone. The festival described the film as "a story of an at-risk high school
student whose predilection toward revenge and violence teeters frighteningly
on the edge." "Bang, Bang" will debut on Showtime in October. The annual
writer/director award went to Tim McCann for his psychological thriller
about a schizophrenic living in New York City, "Revolution #9." Bestowing
that prize, now in its third year, were a panel of guest jurors including
Rozie Perez, producer Ted Hope, and Madstone president Paul Speaker.
NFF created two new honors this year to recognize screenwriting and budding
high school filmmakers. Two films received the screenwriting award with
Paramount Classics' "Mostly Martha" by Sandra Nettlebeck taking the prize in the feature category and "Tower of Babble," written by Beau Bauman and Matt Stuecken (Jeffrey Wadlow directing), awarded the honor in the shorts category.
The Teen Eye on NFF award was presented to "Slo Mo," which also screened
the night of the closing night presentation of "The Good Girl." Sponsored
by Eyebeam Atelier, Teen Eye was a seven-day event for Nantucket High
School students who learned to write, direct and produce their own short
films. Local teens also served as special jurors and observed deliberations
of other juried prizes. In other honors, as previously announced,
writer-producer James Schamus received the annual NBC Screenwriter's Tribute for his life's work and Debra Granik was awarded Showtime's sixth annual
Tony Cox award for her unproduced screenplay, "Down to the Bone."
>> Maui Takes It To the Next Level, With Stars In The Sky and On the Ground
(indieWIRE: 06.25.02) -- Now in its third year, the Maui Film Festival is,
quite simply, like no other film festival on earth. Beyond the sheer perfection
of the location, the Maui Film Festival has carved out a serious niche in the
clogged film festival calendar. The brainchild of filmmaker and Maui resident
Barry Rivers and with enhancements by his beautiful artist wife Stella Rivers, the Maui Film Festival's spectacular success in such a short time has not come
about easily. Rivers has worked feverishly to create an event that satisfies
the needs not just of his film-going public and of attending filmmakers but,
crucially, the lynchpin visitor industry.
The Maui Film Festival began over five years ago as the working title for a
regular Wednesday night series of specialty films at the 1,200-seat Maui
Arts & Cultural Center for the film-starved residents of the island.
Thoughtful programming, food, entertainment, and creative no-stone-unturned
marketing have transformed the ongoing series into a must-attend weekly
event on Maui. (The First Light series of Oscar-nominated films during the
holiday season has also attracted much buzz).
Although these events generate interest and enthusiasm throughout the year,
Rivers core passion is for this unique and beautiful boutique festival in
June -- an event that works in concert with the international film
community, Maui residents, and the island's visitor industry. This year, the
Maui Film Festival went "to the next level" -- a comment overheard
frequently at the five-day event.
It is appropriate that this resort-based film festival would have outdoor
screenings, but the Maui Film Festival quite probably boasts the most
spectacular outdoor screening venue on earth. The Celestial Cinema features
a 50-foot wide viewing experience featuring crisp 35mm projection, and Dolby
Digital sound, all perched in a grassy bowl overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Flawless picture and sound, a heavenly location, and even a "Festival
Astronomer" (listed in the program guide's staff masthead) who provides a
pre-screening guided tour of the night sky for the gathered crowd lounging
on blankets or low-backed lawn chairs, make this quite literally a
film-going event remembered for a lifetime. (In addition to this crown-jewel
venue and two indoor screens, the fest boasts two more outdoor theaters.)
The Maui Film Festival opened with a Celestial Cinema screening of
festival-favorite "Tadpole," from director Gary Winick. Fresh from Cannes, the U.S. premiere of Rosanna Arquette's "Searching for Debra Winger" featured the director in attendance, and served a dose of Hollywood angst to
a mellow Maui audience. Other favorites fresh from the festival circuit
included Miguel Arteta's "The Good Girl," Jesse Peretz's "The Chateau," Sherman Alexie's "The Business of Fancydancing," and Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein's "The Kid Stays in the Picture," which documents the life and career of uber-producer Robert Evans, and the Timothy Bui's "Green Dragon." Kieran Culkin made an appearance in two Maui Film Festival selections: Burr Steers' "Igby Goes Down," and the deeply entertaining "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys," also starring Jodie Foster. Also notable was "Resin," a fiercely critical look at California's infamous "three strikes" law, which was represented in Maui by producer Steve Sobel.
Rivers is astute in listening to his audience, and understands that carving
out a niche in specialty programming is crucial to filling seats. To that
end, he has put together an impressive collection of documentaries dealing
with music, eastern spiritualism, and sports -- topics of great interest to
the Maui populace. Films playing under the stars included the rockin'
"Pleasure and Pain" documentary featuring roots rock icon Ben Harper on
tour, Mark Kidel's documentary "Ravi Shankar: Between Two Worlds" and, so very appropriately, "Laird," featuring spellbinding footage of surfing
legend Laird Hamilton.
The celebrity quotient -- often crucial to bolster enthusiasm among press,
sponsors and audiences at any regional festival -- was extremely high this
year in Maui. The festival presented its Silversword Tribute to Clint
Eastwood. This sold-out event at the Grand Wailea Resort featured an
introduction and engaging Q&A by ABC's Joel Siegel as well as an impressive montage spanning Eastwood's career. The next night, Eastwood could be seen
strolling up the hill with his deck chair to join around 2,000 other
festival-goers at the Celestial Cinema for a screening of "My Big Fat Greek
Wedding," introduced by lead John Corbett. Other notables kicking around
Maui during that weekend included Bo Derek, Mike Myers, Alice Cooper, Larry King, Rosanna Arquette, Adrien Brody, and Miguel Arteta -- enough interesting characters to keep festival-goers excited and abuzz throughout the event. [Christian Gaines]