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March 13, 2001 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: "Downtown 81" Deal; Beech Hill's "Face"

DAILY NEWS: "Downtown 81" Deal; Beech Hill's "Face"



by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE


>> Long Lost Basquiat Film, "Downtown 81," Acquired by Zeitgeist


(indieWIRE/03.13.01) -- Zeitgeist Films has acquired Edo Bertoglio's
"Downtown 81," a film that has languished since it was shot back in 1980.
The movie screened in the Director's Fortnight sidebar at Cannes last year.
It stars a young Jean-Michel Basquiat and includes the music of Kid Creole
and the Coconuts, Tuxedo Moon, The Plastics and DNA.


"'Downtown 81' is a fascinating portrait of a time long gone," wrote
indieWIRE Senior Editor Anthony Kaufman in a report published by indieWIRE
during 2000 Cannes. "A Lower Eastside New York of underground energy, porn
houses, poetic graffiti and late night live music as seen through the
travels of the legendary artist and musician Jean-Michel Basquiat." In
December, the film was named as an honorable mention on indieWIRE's annual
list of favorite films without U.S. theatrical distribution.


The movie came together after writer Glenn O'Brien and the producers secured
the lost film footage from Italian financiers, determined to create an
alternate portrait of Basquiat following Julian Schnabel's film version.
Zeitgeist saw the film in Cannes and later made a deal to release the movie.
It will hit theaters in July, Zeitgeist Co-President Nancy Gerstman told
indieWIRE yesterday.


"For twenty-somethings who never lived the period, the document is a
fantastic, whimsical look into the music and spirit of a period now out of
their grasp; for those who lived it, it's a nostalgic and emotional
homecoming," continued indieWIRE's Kaufman in his Cannes report on the film.
"New Yorkers, now and then, demand a screening wherever you are today."
[Eugene Hernandez]


>> Production Begins on "Face" in New York


(indieWIRE/03.13.01) -- Shooting began yesterday in New York on "Face" by
Bertha Bay-Sa Pan starring award winning actress Bai Ling and hip hop artist and actor Treach. "Face" takes place during the late '70s and '90s focusing
on three generations of Chinese women who must attempt to reconcile the
cultural chasm between their traditional heritage and the everyday influence
posed by life in America. The screenplay is by Pan and Oren Moverman
("Jesus' Son"). Alexa L. Fogel and Joseph Infantolino of Beech Hill Films are co-producing along with Shoemaker and Derrick Tseng of Centre Street. Shooting is scheduled for approximately five weeks.


Bai Ling has numerous credits including her work in "Anna and the King,"
"Red Corner," "Nixon," as well as "The Wedding Banquet" by Ang Lee. Among her other honors, she received the National Board of Review's Breakthrough Award in 1997. Treach is the front-man for multi-platinum group Naughty by Nature as well as the CEO of Illtown Films. He also has a recurring role in HBO's "Oz."


Beech Hill Films is a New York based film and television production company
that most recently produced Jim McKay's "Our Song" which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival and will be released by IFC Films this May. [Brian Brooks]

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