DAILY NEWS: indieWIRE: BUZZ for Friday, November 15
by Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE
indieWIRE presents its weekly column focusing on recent items on the radar
in the indie film community.
Susan Wrubel, former VP of acquisitions for Madstone Films, has been hired as a consultant for Emerging Pictures. Wrubel will seek out films to
represent at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival. Ira Deutchman's Emerging
Pictures is a New York-based production, representation, and exhibition
ASSASINS AND STARS: The rainy Tuesday night didn't stop the film crowd from
making the scene in downtown Manhattan. First stop was the screening and
party for Magnolia's "Interview with the Assassin." Folks in attendance at
the Lotus party included director Neil Burger, Magnolia's Eamonn Bowles and Ryan Werner, Cowboy co-founders Noah Cowan and John Vanco, Elizabeth Carmody and Warren Skeels from the Reel Roundtable, actor Paul Schneider ("George Washington"), and producer George LaVoo ("Real Women Have Curves").
The Woodstock Film Festival, a co-sponsor of the party, was also well
represented by director Meira Blaustein. Magnolia's Werner (who also
programs Woodstock) even told BUZZ that we were welcome to sneak upstairs to
catch a glimpse of the O-Town record release bash, but we left the Orlando
crooners alone so we could head for the "Personal Velocity" premiere party.
Spotted in that crowd: director Rebecca Miller, her hubby Daniel Day-Lewis (who we like to call "DDL"), her dad Arthur Miller, stars Parker Posey and Kyra Sedgwick (with her hubby Kevin Bacon). Industry folks in attendance: Bingham Ray, Jack Turner, and others from United Artists, InDigEnt partners John Sloss, Gary Winick, Caroline Kaplan and Jonathan Sehring of IFC, Cinetic's John Sloss and Micah Green, Lot 47's Jared Abbott, Harris Dew of the Film Forum, Howard Gertler from Process Media, Jeb Brody from Magnet, actor Craig Chester ("Kiss Me Guido"), and of course, indieWIRE contributor, fest programmer, and party fixture Mark Rabinowitz. The "Personal Velocity" party proved to be one of the highlights of recent months (kudos to UA's publicist Mary Ann Hult) -- a fabulous space (the Lower East Side's Angel Orensanz Center), strong drinks, good music, and a good crowd that wasn't packed to the gills. Even the stars looked happy to be there -- Parker Posey, who was feeling a bit frisky it seems, used iW's camera to take a self-portrait. One complaint: enough with the duck burritos!
"AMARO" FIESTA: Earlier in the week, on Monday night, guests toasted the
New York premiere of "El Crimen del Padre Amaro," the controversial new
Spanish language film from Samuel Goldwyn Films and IDP. The film, which stars Gael Garcia Bernal ("Y Tu Mama Tambien"), is the Mexican entry for consideration at the Academy Awards. While Bernal was out of town
filming the new Walter Salles movie and director Carlos Carrera was also
out of town, co-star Anna Claudia Talancon enjoyed the soiree, greeting
well-wishers and celebrating at the Suba party, co-hosted by CinemaTropical
and the Mexican Cultural Institute.
LOSING THE FUNK: Keyboardist Johnny Griffith of Motown's Funk Brothers died on November 10 at the age of 66. Griffith and his bandmates are the subjects of the new documentary "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," which opens today. Just two days before his death, Griffith appeared on stage with the
Funk Brothers at their performance at Harlem's famed Apollo Theatre for the
launch of the film. Griffith, who was classically trained, can be heard on
classics like "Stop in the Name of Love" and "Heard it Through the
ABOUT PAYNE: MoMA at the Gramercy Theatre will offer a February 25 program honoring Alexander Payne, whose "About Schmidt" is a strong Oscar contender. Payne will be honored at "A Work in Progress" tribute evening benefit, including a screening of clips, a Q&A session, and an after-party. In other
2003 MoMA news, it will present a retrospective of the films of Director Gus
Van Sant from February 6 to 9. Van Sant is best known for the films
"Drugstore Cowboy" (1989), "My Own Private Idaho" (1991) and "Good Will Hunting" for which he was nominated for a Best Director Oscar in 1997. He
also directed the forthcoming "Gerry."
NIGHT MOVES FOR WELLSPRING: Wellspring has acquired the distribution rights to the doc "Into the Night: The Benny Mardones Story," chronicling '80s
crooner Benny Mardones' rise and fall after his mega-hit "Into The Night."
The film includes footage of Benny's long-time supporters Tommy Mottola,
Joel Diamond, and Roy Orbison. "'Into the Night'" has been played more than four million times and is still one of the Top 25 songs played in America,"
asserts Greg Ross, of independent music label Go-kart Records. Wellspring's Al Cattabiani was also bullish in a press release: "I think every teenager in 1980 harbored some achingly romantic fantasy around this song." With
Mardones' story safely set to reach the masses, indieWIRE will of course
keep our readers posted on any acquisition frenzy for "Out of Africa: The
"There is no cruelty in Christine for the sake of cruelty. And there is in
Harvey, believe me." Director Todd Haynes tells the New York Observer why there is no comparison between his producer Christine Vachon and Miramax's Harvey Weinstein.
Next week in indieWIRE, an interview with "Hell House" director George
Ratliff, a report from the AFI Festival, and reviews of "Personal Velocity," "The Quiet American," and "Talk to Her."
[Wendy Mitchell, with reports from Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks, and Caroline Wells]