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DAILY NEWS: Fine Line Deal Sours; WGA Nominees; Sony acquires "Tao of Steve"

DAILY NEWS: Fine Line Deal Sours; WGA Nominees; Sony acquires
"Tao of Steve"

by Eugene Hernandez & Maya Churi


>> Fine Line Deal for "But I'm A Cheerleader" Sours; Ignite Pursuing New Distribution Pact


(indieWIRE/2.10.2000) -- The acquisitions deal between Fine Line Features
and Ignite Entertainment, producers of Jamie Babbit's debut feature
"But I'm a Cheerleader," has collapsed, leaving the film without a
distribution pact just two months before it was scheduled for release.
Fine Line reached a deal for the movie a few days after its world premiere
at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival and took the film to
last month's Sundance Film Festival for its U.S. premiere -- but a pact
remained unsigned. The distributor subsequently set an April 7th release
date for the movie.


"Unfortunately we were not able to come to an agreement on one of the
material deal points and we were not able to make a deal," Fine Line's
Marian Koltai-Levine told indieWIRE yesterday. Continuing she stated,
"The film reverts back to the production company, Ignite."


A source close to the situation told indieWIRE yesterday that the collapse
involved the video portion of the intended agreement. Ignite hoped
to hammer out the pact as they moveed towards a release, indieWIRE has
learned, but apparently walked away unhappy with the terms.


While William Morris rep Cassian Elwes made the initial agreement with
Fine Line on behalf of the film, Executive Producer Michael Burns of Ignite
Entertainment has taken over representation of the film and is pursuing
new distribution offers. Burns was traveling by airplane late yesterday
as we investigated and finished this story -- he was unavailable
for comment.


"But I'm A Cheerleader" is a comedy that stars Natasha Lyonne and
Clea Duvall as two young women who fall for each other at a camp
where they are sent to cure their homosexuality.


"Fine Line has done a great job so far," director Jamie Babbit told
indieWIRE last night, "I wish it would have worked it out."


While aware that her distributor and her production company had not
finalized their deal -- as is sometimes the case until shortly before
an acquired film is released -- Babbitt clearly didn't expect that the
deal would collapse. She was told Monday that it in fact it had
collapsed.


"At a certain point I am powerless in the situation," Babbit continued,
adding, "I hope the movie finds a home." [Eugene Hernandez]





>> Writers Guild of America announces nominations for screenwriting for WGA Awards


(indieWIRE/2.10.2000) -- The WGA has announced it's nominations in
screenwriting for 1999. The nominations are to honor "outstanding
achievement in writing for the screen." The winners will be announced
on Sunday, March 5th at the 52nd Annual Writers Guild Awards ceremonies
on both coasts. The nominees are:


Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen:


-- "American Beauty" by Alan Ball
-- "Being John Malkovich" by Charlie Kaufman
-- "Magnolia" by Paul Thomas Anderson
-- "The Sixth Sense" by M. Night Shyamalan
-- "Three Kings," Screenplay by David O. Russell,
Story by John Ridley


Best Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published:


-- "The Cider House Rules" by John Irving
-- "Election" by Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor. Based on the novel by
Tom Perrotta
-- "The Insider" by Eric Roth & Michael Mann. Based on the article
"The Man Who Knew Too Much" by Marie Brenner
-- "October Sky" by Lewis Colick. Based on the book "Rocket Boys"
by Homer H. Hickam, Jr.
-- "The Talented Mr. Ripley" by Anthony Minghella, Based
on the novel by Patricia Highsmith. [Maya Churi]





>> Sony Pictures Classics acquires "Tao of Steve"


(indieWIRE/2.10.2000) -- Just as the Sundance acquisitions have started
to subside, Sony Pictures Classics has announced the acquisition of
Jenniphr Goodman's "The Tao of Steve." Sony has picked-up North American
distribution rights to the film from New York's Good Machine. The film,
which is a romantic comedy about a group of friends living in Santa Fe,
New Mexico, was a awarded a special prize at this year's Sundance Film
Festival for the lead actor Donal Logue (he plays an overweight slacker
who becomes a serial seducer). The film has already done business
overseas through Good Machine International who is securing separate
domestic and international pacts.


The acquisition is the third for Sony Classics related to Sundance, where
they also picked-up "Groove" and "Shadow Magic."
[Maya Churi]




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