DAILY NEWS: Hamptons Fest Winners, and a Busy Indie Box-Office
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Hamptons Closes 10th Annual Event with Golden Starfish Awards
(indieWIRE: 10.22.02) -- The Hamptons International Film Festival presented
its awards over the weekend, honoring filmmakers who participated
in the 10th annual event which took place on Long Island's famous
playground for the well-heeled and well-known. In a ceremony held at Guild
Hall in East Hampton, executive director Denise Kasell, board chairman Stuart Match Suna, and new director of programming Rajendra Roy were on hand to present the winners with some of the most lucrative festival prizes in the
Vanessa Parise's "Kiss the Bride," which tells the story of four sisters who
come together in order to reconcile their differences, took home the Golden
Starfish Feature award, which includes over $180,000 in goods and in-kind
services to be used toward the director's next feature. Angela Christlieb
and Stephen Kijak's hilarious look at a group of New York film fanatics,
"Cinemania," took home the Golden Starfish Documentary prize, which includes
$10,000 in cash and services, while the Golden Starfish Shorts award ($5,000
cash prize) went to Andrew Mudge's "The Perfect Gooseys." The film is about an elite east-coast school that has difficulty accepting some of its unconventional students.
For the third straight year, the HIFF and the Nobel Peace Laureates
Foundation co-hosted the "Conflict and Resolution" sidebar screening
issue-oriented material that focuses on conflict in the world. This year,
Canadians Peter Wintonick and Katerina Cizek's doc "Seeing is Believing: Handicams, Human Rights and the News" took the festival's $25,000 Dan & Ewa Abraham and Tammy Abraham Award. Their film documents the rise in use of personal video recorders and their effects on the events they capture. The
festival also hosted a tribute to Dan Abraham, which was highlighted by a
speech (recorded earlier on video) by former president Bill Clinton.
Other award-winners included Lynn Hershman Leeson's "Teknolust," which took the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Film Prize in Science and Technology award
and Greg Pak's "Robot Stories" which won the Zicherman Family Foundation Award for Best Screenplay ($5,000). Myra Paci's "Searching for Paradise" won the Kodak Award for Cinematography, while Aviva Slesin's "Secret Lives: Hidden Children and their Rescuers During WW II" was presented the inaugural Brizzolara Family Inspirational Film Award ($5,000).
On Sunday night, the fest concluded its 5-day event with the presentation of
its audience awards. Caroline Link's "Nowhere in Africa" took home the best feature prize, while the popular doc award went to Steven Silver's "The Last Just Man" from the Conflict & Resolution section. Allan Steele's "The
Syndicate" won the Audience Award for Best Short. [Brian Brooks]
[EDITORS NOTE: indieWIRE will also publish a wrap-up story on the 10th Hamptons
International Film Festival.]
>> A Busy Weekend for Specialty Releases: "Real Women," "Auto Focus," "Columbine," and Others, with More to Come this Weekend
(indieWIRE: 10.22.02) -- Among the indie releases in the spotlight over the
weekend was the debut of Patricia Cardoso's Sundance hit, "Real Women Have Curves," the first release by Newmarket Films and new chief Bob Berney. The Latina story, also from HBO Films, earned $183,772 in its first three days at the box office, nabbing a seemingly soft $3,341 per screen on 55 screens
in New York and L.A.
But Berney told indieWIRE yesterday that the mediocre per screen average can be attributed to the fact that while the film opened well in arthouses in NYC, it
was distributed broadly in LA, hitting both specialty screens and multiplexes
aimed at a crossover Latino audience. He remains confident that as word-of-mouth
in the Latino community grows, so too will the grosses.
"This is a film that needs word-of-mouth to build," Berney said yesterday,
"That will happen." Continuing, he added, "You can feel it in the room, people
come out smiling -- "Greek Wedding" was a movie that actually started slow,"
Berney said, referring to his success with launching the film this spring.
"It was a builder."
Berney indicated that he intends to expand "Real Women" to 140 theaters this
weekend, including debuts in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio, TX, runs
in the Bay Area and San Jose, CA, and an opening in Chicago, IL. The picture
will debut early next month in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA in exclusive limited
release art-house slots.
Sony Pictures Classics' release of "Auto Focus" earned $123,761 on 11 screens in its first weekend in release. The Paul Schrader pic, which explores the dark side of "Hogans Heroes" actor Bob Crane, earned a decent per screen of $11,251 in its debut.
United Artists' release of "Bowling for Columbine" earned $728,051 on 46 screens in its second weekend. The film passed the $1 million cume mark with a strong
per screen average of more than $15,000. It will expand to additional L.A.
theaters this coming weekend, while opening in Denver, CO, Ft. Lauderdale,
Miami Beach and West Palm Beach, FL, Atlanta, GA, Baltimore, MD, Cleveland, OH,
Dallas and Houston, TX and cities in Minnesota, Michigan, and Missouri.
Lions Gate opened "The Grey Zone" on 8 screens over the weekend. The film earned $24,526 for an average of $3,066 in its debut. The company continued its wide
release of "The Rules of Attraction" on 1430 screens, earning $1.2 million over
the weekend for a weak $831 per screen average and a new cume of just over
$3.5 million after its first two weekends. "Secretary" earned $332,496 on 149
screens for a new cume of $2.2 million.
Paramount Classics release of the acclaimed "Bloody Sunday" earned a soft
$94,178 in its third weekend on 44 screens for an average of $2,140. The picture
has earned a total of only $224,041 so far despite solid reviews and positive
Over at Fox Searchlight, the company's release of "Brown Sugar" made $5.2
million for a decent $3,548 per screen average and a new cume of $18.5 million
after two weekends.
First Run Features opened Estela Bravo's doc "Fidel" on two screens, earning $19,320 for the weekend for a $9,660 per screen average. Also in release from First Run is "The Trials of Henry Kissinger." The doc earned $11,921 on three sceens in its fifth weekend in release for a per screen of $3,974. Its new
cume is $110,559.
Miramax opened Godfrey Reggio's "Naqoyqatsi" on 2 screens, earning $17,154 for an average of $8,577, while the company's release of Tom Tykwer's "Heaven" earned $117,070, for an average of $5,090 and a new cume of $261,522. The company's release of the Jerry Seinfeld doc, "Comedian," earned $47,613 on 4 screens for an average of $11,903 and a new cume of $137,683.
Finally, keeping tabs on the indie record-breaking release of "My Big Fat
Greek Wedding": the IFC Films release of the Gold Circle film earned $7.1 million on more than 2,000 screens, for a solid $3,500 per screen average
and a new cume just shy of $170 million.
Coming this weekend in limited release are a number of anticipated specialty
films. "Roger Dodger," acclaimed first feature from Dylan Kidd will debut
from Artisan, while Mike Leigh's new film, "All or Nothing" is coming this weekend from United Artists. Also due out are Kirby Dick & Amy Ziering Kofman's doc "Derrida," Ventura Pons' "Food of Love" from TLA Releasing, and Miramax's release of the Frida Kahlo bio-pic, "Frida." [Eugene Hernandez]