DAILY NEWS: Magnolia Pictures Puckers Up for "Lips," Artisan Taps Rokos for "Billy Liar," and Showtime Picks 9 from NYU
with articles by Matthew Ross and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Magnolia Picks Up "Read My Lips"
(indieWIRE/03.20.02) -- Magnolia Pictures, the nascent New York-based
distributor run by Eamonn Bowles, has picked up all North American rights
(excluding French-speaking Canada) to director Jacque Audiard's thriller
"Read My Lips." Along with being selected as the opening night film for
the 2002 Rendezvous with French Cinema series at Lincoln Center, the film
recently picked up three prizes at France's Cesar Awards, including best
actress honors for star Emmanuelle Devos (beating Audrey Tautou of "Amelie"). The film premiered at the 2001 Toronto International Film Festival, and also screened in the Panorama section at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival.
"I'm incredibly excited about 'Read my Lips,'" said Bowles in a prepared
statement. "This is a fantastic thriller that really thrills. I think both
audiences and critics will flip for it." The deal was negotiated by Bowles
and Magnolia's vice president of acquisitions and distribution Ryan Werner,
along with Pathe's head of sales Pascal Diot on behalf of producers Phillipe Carcassonne and Jean-Louis Livi.
"Read My Lips" tells the story of the relationship between a downtrodden
secretary and an ex-con. When forced to work together, they begin looking
for ways to use each other to their own advantage while at the same time
being drawn further into each other's worlds and to each other. The film is
scheduled for a late summer release. [Matthew Ross]
>> Artisan Signs Oscar Nominee Rokos to Write "Billy Liar"
(indieWIRE/03.20.02) -- Artisan Pictures has signed 2002 Academy Award nominee Will Rokos to script "Billy Liar," it was announced today by Artisan Pictures CEO Bob Cooper. Rokos will write the script for the remake of John Schlesinger's 1963 classic film of the same title. Paul A. Kaufman, who
brought the project to Artisan Pictures, is set to produce the film. Rokos is
currently nominated for an Academy Award for "Monster's Ball," in the best
original screenplay category.
"Billy Liar" is the story of a man who escapes his dreary small-town life by
creating a rich fantasy life that he lies about to everyone, including the two
women who believe they are set to marry him. Ultimately, he re-connects with
a woman who makes him wonder if he can live without lying at all.
"Will is a screenwriter with the ability to create unique dialog and situations
that work to engage the audience and move them to feel for a film's characters,
commented Cooper in a prepared statement. "Remaking this film with Will's
writing continues Artisan Pictures mandate to engage strong writing in support
of good ideas, and we are excited to be working with him." [Brian Brooks]
>> Nine at NYU Selected for Showtime's September 11 Project
(indieWIRE/03.20.02) -- Nine filmmakers from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts have been selected by judges from Showtime Networks Inc. to produce films
related to the effects of September 11 for the network's "Visions From
Ground Zero" project. The films, documentaries and narratives up to 20
minutes long, will be broadcast on Showtime during the first anniversary of
the attacks in New York and Washington. Julie Corman, master teacher in
Tisch's Kanbar Institute, approached Showtime with the concept. All members
of Kanbar's graduate film program were eligible, as well as alumni who've
completed the program in the previous five years.
The finalists, who will receive production funding for their expenses, are:
Kelly Atkins ("Twice a Day"), Brad Barnes ("Engine Trouble"), Sergei Bassine ("From the 97th Floor), Bryan Gunner Cole ("Unfurled"), Janet McIntyre ("Behind the Veil"), Rachel Zabar ("One Life"), Deena Lombardi ("As We Sleep"), Moira Stephens ("Breaking Bread), and Gabriella Spierer ("Welcome to NY").
The Kanbar Institute of Film and Television recently shared first place in
U.S. News and World Report's ranking of the nation's film programs.