DAILY NEWS: IFP Winners and indieWIRE's Buzzin' Buzz
by Eugene Hernandez, Matthew Ross, and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE
>> A Kinder, Gentler IFP Market? Festivals in the Spotlight as Event Recognizes Winners
(indieWIRE: 10.04.02) -- Award winners were announced last night at the 2002
IFP Market in New York with more than $100,000 in cash and services awarded
during the ceremony at Coda on Madison Avenue in Manhattan.
Aion Velie's "Taft" won the work-in-progress completion award, earning an in-kind package valued at $65,000, while Greg Pak won the Pipedream
screenplay award which carries a $10,000 prize. The Gordon Parks awards for
an African-American director and screenwriter, including the $10,000 cash
prize, went to Caran Hartsfield (screenwriter) for "Bury Me Standing" and
Desha Dauchan (director) for the narrative short film "Whispers." Finally,
Jared Micah Herman won the $5,000 IFP Buzz Cuts Award from the Sundance
Channel for his narrative short "Empty."
Thursday's awards program concluded the week of screenings and seminars held
downtown at the Angelika Film Center and the Puck Building. It seems
symbolic that the Angelika, home of the annual IFP Market, would be
undergoing a facelight during the annual independent film community event.
Carpets were pulled up at the Angelika and remodeling was clearly underway.
Likewise, after spending a few moments at the screenings this week it became
clear that the IFP Market (the event formerly known as the Independent
Feature Film Market) had changed considerably in its 24th year. Gone was the
circus atmosphere that once characterized the annual event. Gone as well
were most of the feature-length narrative screenings, in favor of
Only a handful of specially selected narrative features screened at the IFP
Market as part of the IFP Market Rough Cut Showcase. Each encoded and
screened digitally using the new Microsoft Windows Media 9 technology, the
list of participants included Velie's "Taft," Tod Harrison's "The Big Bend,"
Elizabeth Dimon's "Private Property," and Ghazi Albuliwi's "West Bank Brooklyn."
Industry attendance was light within the Angelika, with most biz attendees
focusing instead on the concurrent No Borders sidebar or the film conference
and expo over at the Puck. Angelika screenings seemed to be more heavily
trafficed by the sizable group of festival programmers in town, including
organizers from the Los Angeles, Florida, Nashville, Gen Art, Woodstock,
USA and other fests.
In fact, festivals were on the minds of many registered filmmakers and other
attendees as well. On overflow crowd gathered on Wednesday afternoon in the
Puck Gallery for the "Festivals and Markets: More Important Than Ever"
seminar, moderated by indieWIRE contributing writer Anthony Kaufman.
Participants included consultants Bob Hawk and Sandy Mandelberger,
programmers Caroline Libresco (Sundance), Rachel Rosen (Los Angeles Film Festival), and Christophe Terhechte (Berlin International Film Festival Forum), as well as buyers John Vanco (Cowboy) and Kelly Devine (IFC).
One major topic of discussion at the festival roundtable was the role of
film festivals as an alternative, and for some films the only, theatrical
distribution network. Of course, if festivals are the only way into theaters
for some films, then what about the economics of it all? Festivals need,
according to Cowboy's Vanco, to build into their budgets money that can be
spent on compensating the filmmakers. "'Film rental' cannot be dirty words."
Rental fees are an emerging trend that organizers of smaller festivals have
privately indicated are challenging, with some programmers forced to pass on
films due to the fees.
Naturally, with the Sundance Film Festival deadline looming (today is the
cutoff for U.S. features, while international films are due by next Friday),
the Park City event was a major topic. Panelists countered the notion that
the festival favors films by certain filmmakers or those with powerful
agents or industry connections. Sundance festival programmer Caroline
Libresco countered that applicants should not underestimate her colleagues'
commitment to "the discovery of films that come from the outside."
And in the end, panelists also sought to soften filmmakers' impressions that
Sundance is the only path to success. "If you do not get into Sundance, it
is not the end of the world," warned vet Bob Hawk. "There is life after
Concluding he asked rhetorically, "Are you in independent film to make a
killing, or did you make your film because you had to, because you had a
passion?" [Eugene Hernadez]
[indieWIRE will publish more coverage of the 2002 IFP Market in Monday's
>> indieWIRE: Buzz for Friday, October 4
indieWIRE presents its weekly column focusing on recent items on the radar
in the indie film community.
Tom Quinn has been promoted to VP of acquisitions for Samuel Goldwyn Films. He will continue to oversee Goldwyn's acquisitions department. He has been
with the company since 1996 and was most recently served as manager of
acquisitions/production/development. His recent acquisitions include Peter
Sollett's "Raising Victor Vargas" and Carlos Carrera's controversial "The Crime of Father Amaro."
THE "STEVIE" PUSH: The folks at Lions Gate aren't letting any dust settle on
"Stevie," the acclaimed new documentary from Steve James ("Hoop Dreams") that the company acquired at the Toronto International Film Festival in mid-September. Lions Gate has already ensured Oscar qualifying status for
the doc by quickly arranging a qualifying run in Los Angeles that took
place from September 20 to September 26 at the Arclight on Sunset Boulevard.
(To qualify for Oscar nominations, a doc has to be publicly exhibited,
for paying audiences, in a commercial theater in Los Angeles County or
Manhattan for seven consecutive days this year. "Stevie," which chronicles
director Steve James reconnecting with a troubled man who James mentored
many years ago, drew raves in Toronto, but it could face stiff competition
in this year's doc race at the Academy Awards. Other likely nominees will
include the Robert Evans biopic "The Kid Stays in the Picture," a fave
among Hollywood insiders; plus the attention-grabbing Michael Moore doc
"Bowlling for Columbine"; and the historically important feature "Hitler's
Secretary." Lions Gate plans to open "Stevie" theatrically nationwide
in February or March 2003.
READY TO ROCK: The Sundance Channel is starting its October Sonic Cinema
series tonight at 11. The half-hour programs, hosted by music journalist and
musician Dimitri Ehrlich, will air every Friday night. Tonight's episode has
an impressive line-up: videos by the Snorri Brothers and Melodie McDaniels, a presentation by filmmaker Jim McKay, and a chat with music supervisor
extraordinaire Randall Poster.
BOWLING FOR A CAUSE: A group called Peaceful Tomorrows is hosting a benefit
sneak-preview screening of "Bowling for Columbine" on Monday at the Loews
42nd Street E-Walk Theatre in New York. Filmmaker Michael Moore has donated
several hundred tickets for the screening to benefit the group, which is
comprised of people who lost loved ones on September 11 and who are opposed
to war. Moore will be on hand for a Q & A and reception following the film.
For more info, visit http://www.peacefultomorrows.org/bowling/invite.html
A "DOMINANT" FEST: Anyone lamenting the demise of smut in the Disney-fied
Times Square will be happy to hear that New York is getting ready to host
its third annual S/M Film Festival. Presenters the Eulenspiegel Society, an
education and support group for dominants AND submissives, will offer "a
program of films and videos that explore various aspects of sadomasochism,
bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, roleplay, and fetishes."
In addition to screenings of films with such fetching titles as "Daddy and
the Muscle Academy" and "The Story of O: Untold Pleasures," the event will
include discussions, a brunch, a gala, and a "play party" for those who
dare. For more info, visit www.tes.org.
ROCKING AT THE IFP: It's been a musician-friendly year at the 24th annual
IFP Market. First, Mick Jagger made an appearance (at least in the VIP area)
at Sunday night's opening party following the screening of "The Man From
Elysian Fields." Jagger stars as an escort service owner in the film, but
according to our unofficial reviewers, the movie's not nearly as rocking as
the Stones. Mick, keep the day job.
The IFP' s award ceremony last night also included plenty of musical
entertainment. Bands performing included Kid Friendly, featuring actor and
director Adrian Grenier, and the Martinets, featuring Magnolia Pictures president Eamonn Bowles.
LET IT RAIN: London's 10th Raindance Film Festival will kick off October 23
with its opening night presentation of Gary Winick's "Tadpole." More than 70 features will screen, along with 200 shorts, representing 22 countries. The
closing night film on November 1 will be "Pumpkin," starring Christina
Ricci. This year's filmmaker in residence is Tony Kaye ("American History
ROCK ME, AMADEUS: Talk about some real director's commentary! Milos Forman was on hand in New York on Tuesday at a special screening of the director's
cut of "Amadeus," released on DVD and VHS this week. Warner Home Video and the Director's Guild of America hosted the reception and screening with
Forman and producer Saul Zaentz.
"One is Ava Gardner, the other is Charles Bronson."
New Yorker film critic Anthony Lane, in a speech at the New Yorker festival
about why sex and violence shouldn't be lumped together.
Next week in indieWIRE: An interview with MoMA's Larry Kardish and reviews from the New York Film Festival including "Auto Focus," "My Mother's Smile" and others. [Wendy Mitchell with reports from Eugene Hernandez]