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July 10, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: FilmFour's Fate and IFP/NY's Open Palm Nominees

DAILY NEWS: FilmFour's Fate and IFP/NY's Open Palm Nominees



by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE



>> The End or a New Beginning? FilmFour Being Redefined

(indieWIRE: 07.10.02) -- An announcement by Britain's Channel 4 yesterday
affirmed trade reports about the fate of FilmFour Ltd., the channel's
stand-alone film production and distribution subsidiary. The Channel 4 board
met on Monday and approved a proposal to close FilmFour's U.K. distribution
and international sales activities, while the company will, according to an
announcement, "restructure and re-integrate its production division into
Channel 4."


"It is a very sad day for all of us at FilmFour," wrote a member of the
FilmFour staff in an email sent to industry colleagues yesterday. The
message was from a group that included FilmFour Ltd.'s Chief Executive, Paul
Webster
, who has announced that he will not lead the new FilmFour entity.
The email from the FilmFour group added that Channel 4 plans to "restructure
production to bring it in-house to produce only smaller, lower budget
British films." FilmFour's past high-profile projects include "Sexy Beast,"
"Croupier," "Crush," and "Charlotte Gray."


In its statement to the press this week, Channel 4 indicated that its
board's proposal will be presented to the FilmFour staff "as part of a
statutory 30-day consultation period." Whatever form the new entity takes,
the company did acknowledge, "The proposed closure of FilmFour Distributors
and FilmFour International and the restructure of FilmFour Productions will
lead to significant job losses." The outfit has a total of 59 employees.


In the note to colleagues, the FilmFour staffer reinforced that the entity
would "continue to trade and, of course, honour its contractual
obligations." FilmFour Ltd. is comprised of FilmFour Productions; FilmFour
Lab; the worldwide sales and marketing arm, FilmFour International; and the
U.K. theatrical and video distributor, FilmFour Distributors.


Among the films on the current FilmFour slate are: Shane Meadow's "Once Upon A Time in the Midlands" with Robert Carlyle and Rhys Ifans; Conor McPherson's "The Actors" with Michael Caine, Miranda Richardson, and Lena Headey; and Thomas Vinterberg's "It's All About Love" with Claire Danes and Joaquin Phoenix. The latter two are still in post-production. The outfit is set to begin production this fall on Damien O'Donnell's "Edgardo Mortara" with Javier Bardem and Anthony Hopkins, and Walter Salles' "Motorcycle Diaries" with Gael Garcia Bernal. [Eugene Hernandez]


>> IFP/New York and Fondazione Prada Announce Open Palm Award Nominees

(indieWIRE: 07.10.02) -- Nominations for the 2002 Open Palm Award, one of
the honors presented during the year's annual Gotham Awards, were announced
last night at Prada Broadway in New York's SoHo by Michelle Byrd, executive
director of IFP/New York. The six nominees are Bertha Bay-Sa Pan
("Face"), Eric Eason ("Manito"), Ethan Hawke ("Chelsea Walls"), Moises Kaufman ("The Laramie Project"), Peter Mattei ("Love in the Time of Money"), and Fisher Stevens ("Just a Kiss"). The award is given to honor first-time directors for outstanding achievement and includes a cash prize.


"This year we are thrilled that a cash prize of $10,000 will accompany this
award, providing assistance on the winner's next project," commented Byrd in
a prepared statement. "The core mission of the IFP is to encourage and
champion new artistic voices in the filmmaking community, and the Gotham
Awards help fulfill this mission." Announcement of the nominees is the
first of a series of programs IFP/New York is collaborating in conjunction
with Fondazione Prada, a non-profit organization that promotes contemporary
art and culture.


Past recipients of the award are Henry Bean ("The Believer"); John Cameron Mitchell ("Hedwig and the Angry Inch"); Karyn Kusama ("Girlfight"); Darren Aronofsky ("Pi"); and Jennie Livingston ("Paris is Burning"). The 12th annual Gotham Awards, which celebrates achievements by New York's film community, is scheduled for Thursday, September 26 at Pier Sixty at New York's Chelsea Piers. As previously announced by IFP/New York, director Ang Lee will receive the Bravo Lifetime Achievement award, and U.A. president Bingham Ray will receive the Industry Lifetime Achievement award while Julianne Moore will be honored with the IFP Gotham Actor award.


The Gothams kick off the IFP Market, an annual film event, which showcases
new independent films to New York filmmaking community. [Brian Brooks]

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