DAILY NEWS: Luhrmann to Open Cannes; James Yee Obituary; and Taos Films
by Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> "Moulin Rouge" Does the Cannes Cannes On Opening Night
(indieWIRE/03.21.01) -- Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge" is the first confirmed new title to screen at the 54th Cannes Film Festival, it was announced on Tuesday. It will open the fest's competition section. 20th Century Fox
produced the movie, which marks a return to studio fare in the Cannes
line-up after a dismal showing in recent years. Gilles Jacob, President of
the Festival, declared in an official announcement: "I am especially pleased
to open the festivities at Cannes [with] a studio film that revisits the
best show traditions of entertainment."
"Moulin Rouge" takes place in the decadent cabaret world of 1890's Paris,
and is scheduled for release in the U.S. on May 18th. Ewan McGregor stars as
a young poet, who, according to the film's official website is "taken in by
the absinthe-soaked artist Toulouse-Lautrec [John Leguizamo], whose
party-hard life centers around the Moulin Rouge, a world of sex, drugs,
electricity and the shocking Can-Can." The film also stars Nicole Kidman,
Jim Broadbent and singer Kylie ("Do The Loco-Motion") Minogue.
Australian director Baz Luhrmann, who screened his film "Strictly Ballroom"
in Cannes in 1992, was more than pleased. "I still have wonderful memories
from when Cannes launched my first film, so this is indeed an exciting
announcement for me. I am particularly gratified that an American-financed
film almost completely created in Australia, and specific to French culture
and history, has been embraced this way by Cannes," said the director.
The 54th International Festival du Film will take place May 9 - 20. Also
confirmed to screen at the festival is a special director's cut of Francis
Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." [Anthony Kaufman]
>> James Yee, ITVS Executive Director and Public Television Advocate Loses Battle with Cancer
(indieWIRE/03.21.01) -- Former executive director of the Independent
Television Service (ITVS), James T. Yee died Saturday, March 17th, in
Piedmont, California following an 18-month battle with cancer. He was 53.
Joining an early group of fellow producers advocating ITVS' formation,
Yee is credited for leading the organization, eventually created by
Congress in 1991 to increase the diversity of public television and
funded through the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, through the
tumultuous period of changes in visual formats and congressional funding
cuts. Funding was later restored in no small measure through Yee's
efforts and the confidence placed in him by CPB.
Mr. Yee also served as the first executive director of the National
Asian American Telecommunications Association (NAATA) which he helped
found. Through his service at NAATA, Asian American exposure on the
small and large screen increased. NAATA produces Asian American
programming on public television and organizes the San Francisco
International Asian American Film Festival. Additionally, Mr. Yee
served on the boards of many public radio organizations and Bay Area
film commissions. He also was a member of President Clinton's Advisory
Committee on the Public Interest Obligations of Digital Television
Broadcasters, created to address the digital transition of television.
Aside from his distinguished presence in public television, Yee
produced many documentaries including "a.k.a. Don Bonus," co-directed
by Spencer Nakasako and Sokly Ny which received an Emmy in 1997. Additionally, he served as a VISTA volunteer in rural Nebraska
concentrating on tenant organizing and childcare and worked as a middle school teacher in Vermont.
Yee was born in the Bronx, New York and graduated from Fairleigh
Dickinson in addition to his masters degree in Early Childhood
Education from Antioch and was an Urban Studies Fellow at Massachusetts
Institute of Technology. He is survived by his wife, two children and
three siblings. [Brian Brooks]
>> Taos Unveils Slate; Land Grant Finalists Announced
(indieWIRE/03.21.01) -- The Taos Talking Picture Festival kicks off April 5
with the world premiere of "Face to Face," a comedy starring Dean Stockwell and Scott Baio, and directed by Ellie Kanner (the casting director behind
"Friends" and "Sex in the City") and runs through April 8.
Several awards will be given out at the fest, including the legendary Taos
Land Grant Award, which comes with five acres of land in Taos. This year's
finalists are James Fortier for "Alcatraz Is Not an Island," Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim for "Startup.com," Lukas Moodysson for "Together," Christopher M