DAILY NEWS:Icebox.com Layoffs; Dutch Fest; and "Greg" Goes to FOX
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> A Day After...Layoffs Hit Icebox.com
(indieWIRE/ 11.30.00) -- The road to profitability is not pretty these days,
as the online entertainment business faces tough times. Just one day after
announcing the sale of a series to the FOX television network and projecting
profitability for his company, Icebox.com CEO and Co-founder Steve Stanford confirmed the path to that stability -- layoffs. One half of Icebox.com's
staff was let go on Tuesday, 50 out of 100 employees according to a report
yesterday by AP.
In a press release yesterday touting the FOX deal, Stanford proclaimed that
the company would be profitable next year, leaving out the crucial fact that
the achievement would involve cuts.
"We're being forced by our investors to take a very rational look at the
business and do the things that were the right thing to do -- and we've
known were the right things to do -- for five months, but didn't want to,"
Steve Stanford told the AP Tuesday. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Going Dutch? Films from Holland Available for Sale
(indieWIRE/ 11.30.00) -- Starting this Friday, ten new feature films from
Holland without US distribution will arrive in New York as part of a
continuing initiative designed to give international filmmakers exposure to
the American marketplace. Opening the series "Dutch Treats 2000: New Films
from Holland" will be Karim Traidia's 2000 Rotterdam Competition entry, "Les Diseurs de Verite" about an Algerian journalist's political struggle,
followed by Jean van de Velde's police corruption tale "Leak," which swept
Holland's recent national film awards, winning prizes for best film, best
director, best writer and best actor. Also featured in the series is
Holland's 2000 Oscar entry and box office smash, "Little Crumb," a
children's fable directed by Maria Peters, Karim Traidia's 1999 Golden Globe Best Foreign Film Award-winner "Polish Bride," Heddy Honigman's acclaimed documentary on UN peacekeepers "Crazy," and local hits like Robert Jan Westdijk's stylish "Siberia" and Alex van Warmerdam minimalist comedy "Little Tony."
The program is organized by American Premieres, co-partnered by Sandy
Mandelberger of International Media Resources, and Wanda Bershem, of Red Diaper Productions, who brought the U.S. premiere of Best Foreign Film
Oscar-winner "Character" here in 1997 as part of the inaugural edition of
the series. Not simply a cultural event for public consumption, Mandelberger
told indieWIRE during a 1998 event to promote Belgian films, "the important
thing is trying to stimulate business interests and get distributors aware
of the films."
All distributors and local festival programmers receive all-access industry
passes, and special meetings have been arranged between attending filmmakers
and companies such as Sony Pictures Classics, USA Films, Winstar Cinema, Kino International and the Sundance Channel. Even a few prints will circulate from the public screenings at New York's Quad Cinema to private screening rooms at the companies. "It's a test market," Mandelberger
explained. "[Distributors] have to make this judgment as to how the films
will work with an American audience. And we're providing that." After New
York, the collection will travel to other sites, in hopes of generating more
interest in either theatrical distribution or in ancillary markets like home
video. [Anthony Kaufman]
[For general information on the series, call the festival hotline at
>> "Greg the Bunny" Heading to Network TV
(indieWIRE/ 11.30.00) -- A puppet bunny named Greg, familiar to fans of The
Independent Film Channel, is heading to network television after his
creators signed a pact with FOX. Producer Gill Holland confirmed the deal for indieWIRE yesterday.
According to Hollywood trade reports in Variety and the Hollywood Reporter, FOX has signed on for 13 episodes, which according to Holland are expected
to hit next Fall. Dan Milano and Spencer Chinoy created "Greg the Bunny" and worked with Kevin Chinoy and Holland. All are involved with the series. "Greg" first appeared on public access TV in New York. [Eugene Hernandez]