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September 25, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: Fest News from Slamdance, Woodstock and High Falls

Fest News from Slamdance, Woodstock and High Falls



by Eugene Hernandez, Wendy Mitchell and Erin Torneo/indieWIRE



>> Chachere Takes the Reins at Slamdance

(indieWIRE: 09.25.02) -- Slamdance Film Festival screenplay competition director,
Gianna Chachere, has been appointed festival director effective immediately,
co-founder/president Peter Baxter revealed yesterday. Gianna replaces
co-directors Brent Clackson and Kristy Byrd, both of whom will continue to
be involved with Slamdance, while Baxter's role will remain unchanged. As
festival director, Chachere will oversee Slamdance's operations including
the annual screenplay competition, "On the Road" screenings, Slamdance.com,
and the organization's expansion in Los Angeles and New York. Additionally,
she will work for sponsorship development, programming, marketing, and the
"artistic direction for the first-time filmmaker based festival." Chachere
received a degree in philosophy from Simmons College in Boston and worked as
a fundraiser for seven years at both The New School and New York University
in addition to film institutions in New York.

"Slamdance is extremely fortunate to have Gianna as its new festival
director," said Baxter in a release. "Gianna's skill and tenacity will
strengthen existing elements of the festival and also serve to develop new
ways of supporting emerging filmmakers. I should also add there is no doubt
Slamdance's ever-increasing and dysfunctional family will blossom under
Gianna's direction."

Founded in 1995 by a group of writers, directors, and producers, Slamdance
is a year-round organization that culminates in its annual festival, which
takes place simultaneously with the Sundance Film Festival outside Park
City, Utah in January. [Brian Brooks]

[Further information on Slamdance can be found at www.slamdance.com]


>> "Assassin" and "Spellbound" Win Top Woodstock Prizes


(indieWIRE: 09.25.02) -- Topping the list of award-winners at the third
Woodstock Film Festival were a pair of festival favorites. Neil Burger's
"Interview with the Assassin" and Jeff Blitz's "Spellbound" nabbed top
dramatic and doc awards in their respective categories. "Assassin" will be
released later this year by Magnolia, while "Spellbound" appears to be close
to closing a theatrical deal.

Patrick Downs won the award for best short film for "Broken," while the
prize for best short doc went to Till Passow for "Howrah, Howrah." The best
student film award went to Catherine Tingey's "A Girl's Guide to the
Galaxy
."

Haskell Wexler awarded the cinematography prize to Luc Montpellier for
"Khaled," and 2002 festival poster designer and juror Bill Plympton awarded
the best animation award to David Russo for "Populi."

Tim Robbins delivered what could be considered the awards ceremony's keynote
as he received the honorary maverick award on Sunday night. Picking up on
the socially-conscious aspect of the prize, Robbins was quick to sound off
on current events. "We have to find a way to oppose this war, or this
impending war," he said, eliciting a rousing applause from the local
Woodstock crowd. [Eugene Hernandez]

[A wrap-up of the 2002 Woodstock Film Festival is published today in
indieWIRE.]


>> Women In the Spotlight At High Falls Film Fest


(indieWIRE: 09.25.02) -- Hollywood may still be male dominated, but
Rochester, NY, certainly isn't. From October 30 to November 3, Rochester
will host the second annual High Falls Film Festival, which highlights work
by female directors, producers, and screenwriters. This year's event will
include 34 feature films and documentaries from 23 countries (the shorts
program will be announced later.)

Screenings include Julie Taymor's "Frida," Coline Serreau's "Chaos," Todd
Louiso
's "Love Liza," Karen Moncrieff's "Blue Car," Rebecca Miller's
"Personal Velocity," Rose Troche's "The Safety of Objects," Lynne Ramsay's
"Morvern Callar," and Samira Makhmalbaf's "Blackboards."

Highlights from the documentary offerings include Kristi Jacobson's
"American Standoff," Judith Helfand and Daniel B. Gold's "Blue Vinyl," Leah
Purcell
and Brendan Fletcher's "Black Chicks Talking," Keith Fulton and
Louis Pepe's "Lost in La Mancha," and Liz Garbus' "The Execution of Wanda
Jean
."

"I'm very pleased that in our second year, the festival is able to attract
such high profile films and filmmakers from around the world," said
Catherine Wyler, filmmaker and fest artistic director, in a prepared
statement.

For details, including info about panels and workshops, visit
www.highfallsfilmfestival.com. [Wendy Mitchell]

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