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September 20, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: Mill Valley Fest Sets its Silver year Slate; "Whale Rider" Pact and indieWIRE: BUZZ

DAILY NEWS: DAILY NEWS: Mill Valley Fest Sets its Silver year Slate; "Whale Rider" Pact and indieWIRE: BUZZ



by Wendy Mitchell and Erin Torneo/indieWIRE


>> Mill Valley Fest Announces Line-Up For 25th Anniversary Fest


(indieWIRE: 09.20.02) -- The Mill Valley Film Festival announced its 25th
anniversary program for the festival that will run October 3-13. The Marin
County, California, festival will open with two high-profile films: Peter
Kosminsky
's "White Oleander," which stars Festival tributee Robin Wright Penn along with Michelle Pfeiffer and Renee Zellwegger; and Julie Taymor's
"Frida" starring Salma Hayek as Mexican painter and politico Frida Kahlo.
Closing the festival are a Merchant Ivory world premiere, "Merci Docteur
Rey
," which stars Dianne Wiest (another Festival honoree), and Rebecca
Miller
's triptych drama "Personal Velocity."


The Festival, which began in 1978 as a 3-day festival of America independent
films, celebrates its roots with feature selections from U.S. cinema, such
as "The Slaughter Rule," "Welcome to Collinwood," "XX/XY," along with Valley
of the Docs titles "Bowling for Columbine," "Farang Ba" (Crazy White
Foreigner), "My Father the Genius," "Standing in the Shadows of Motown," and
"Welcome to the Club, The Women of Rockabilly."


Mill Valley will also offer a strong foreign contingent, such as the U.S
premieres of Mexican box office-breaker "The Crime of Father Amaro,"
(starring "Y Tu Mama Tambien" heart breaker Gael Garcia Bernal) and Iranian
entry "Gagooman" by Mohammad Rasoulof. Other selections include Brazil's
visual stunner "City of God," Mike Leigh's "All or Nothing," Paul
Greengrass
' "Bloody Sunday," "Autumn Spring" (Czech Republic), "Gangs from
Rosario
" (Argentina), "Ping Pong" (Japan), and Australia's "Rabbit Proof
Fence
."


In addition to the 20 premieres in American and international cinema and
video, the Mill Valley Film Fest's eclectic program includes the eight-year
old Children's FilmFest, the New Media/Vfest, special presentations of
classic films and past premieres (Baz Luhrman will attend for "Strictly
Ballroom
"), shorts program Five@Five, and seminars on the business and craft
of independent cinema. indieWIRE will be on the scene to report from the
festival next month. [Erin Torneo]



>> Newmarket Grabs "Whale Rider"


(indieWIRE: 09.20.02) -- The Toronto International Film Festival may be
over, but Newmarket's Toronto buying spree continues. The company announced
that it has acquired all North American rights to Niki Caro's "Whale Rider,"
its fourth Toronto acquisition. "Whale Rider," about a young Maori girl in
New Zealand, captured the AGF People's Choice award at Toronto.


Newmarket's Will Tyrer negotiated the deal with producer John Barnett and
Aline Perry, CEO of London-based sales company The Works. Caro's second
film is adapted from the best-selling novel by Witi Ihimaera and is produced
for South Pacific Pictures, ApolloMedia, and Pandora Film. Executive
Producers are Bill Gavin and Linda Goldstein Knowlton.


"Based on a Maori legend, the story's mythic quality is captured brilliantly
by director Niki Caro and the lead performance by Keisha Castle-Hughes is a
true discovery," said Newmarket's Bob Berney in a prepared statement.


Newmarket Films, the recently launched distribution arm of Newmarket Capital
headed by Berney, was busy in Toronto, also acquiring "Open Hearts," "Spun,"
and "Lilya 4-ever." [Wendy Mitchell]


>> IndieWIRE: BUZZ for Friday, September 20

indieWIRE presents its weekly column focusing on recent items on the radar
in the indie film community.


NEWS CHATTER


STARS COME OUT FOR S&M: The summer drought of decent parties is offically
over. At the "Secretary" premiere party at Lot 61 in New York on Wednesday
night, the bar was packed with celebs and average folks guzzling the free
Absolut. Matt Damon, Casey Affleck, Julia Stiles, Kirsten Dunst, Moby, Chris
Eigeman
, Holly Hunter and our fave bro and sis team, Jake Gyllenhaal and Maggie
Gyllenhaal
, were all there. Industry attendees included Brad Simpson from
Killer Films, John Vanco from Cowboy Pictures, Ryan Werner from Magnolia,
Mary Ann Hult from UA, "Devil's Playground" director Lucy Walker, Amy Clark
from Focus, and Susan Wrubel, formerly of Madstone. Hosts from Lions Gate,
Nerve.com and Paper magazine set the mood for the S&M-themed flick, starring
Maggie and James Spader, by showing old black-and-white S&M movies on big
screens. One of the indieWIRE crew reports that Casey Affleck has a bigger
head than Monsieur Damon -- Matty was ready to pose for a press snapshot,
but young Mr. Affleck couldn't be bothered. Buzz was was very happy to
dance with some cute 19-year-old intern types and talk about Dexy's
Midnight Runners with Moby. And also happy just to be in the same room
with It Boy Jake Gyllenhaal. Check out the iPOP photos next week in
indieWIRE.


WOMEN ON WOMEN: French director Francois Ozon was quick to offer a tip about
his latest movie, "8 Women," at a special screening on Tuesday. "I have to
warn you about something special about this film," he said. "After they see
it, many women become lesbians, so be careful." Attendees included John
Waters
, Paul Morrissey, and Hedwig himself, John Cameron Mitchell (clad in
dapper downtown shorts despite the midtown locale). Plenty of French wine at
Brasserie 8 1/2 followed the screening. Sadly, Catherine Deneuve -- a.k.a.
"La Madame" -- was not holding court as she was at the "8 Women" party in
Toronto.


NOYCE TIMES TWO: Director Phillip Noyce, who had two films in the recent
Toronto International Film Festival ("Rabbit Proof Fence" and "The Quiet
American
") will have both films released later this year by Miramax. Buoyed
by the critical success of the films in Toronto, the company has set release
dates for both movies, curtailing speculation that "American" was being
abandoned. "Fence" will open in late November, while "The Quiet American"
will debut in late December to qualify for Oscar consideration. Keep an eye
on Michael Caine's stellar performance as a British journalist based in
Indo-China in the 1950s. "American" was on the shelf for a year after last
year's terror attacks in the United States left picture's critical look at
the American agenda in Vietnam.


MOMA'S MOVE: MoMA is going to be settling into its new digs at the Gramercy
Theatre
with a new annual program called To Save and Project: The MoMA
International Festival of Film Preservation
. This year's fest will run
October 11 to November 7 with 67 fiction and doc features, shorts,
commercials, and home movies. Most of the films are New York premieres. The
opening night screening of Nicholas Ray's "In a Lonely Place" will be
introduced by director Curtis Hanson. Works by Chaplin, Jacques Tati, Claude
Chabrol
, Max Ophuls, Luis Bunuel, Ernst Lubitsch, Manoel de Oliveira, and
Kenji Mizoguchi are among the offerings. The Gramercy Theatre is located at
127 E. 23rd St., between Lexington and Park.


QUOTABLE


"I guess I see the world through a sort of, you know...the sheer curtain
of sensuality, maybe. That's probably why some of my films seem forthright
or explicit or provocative. I'm interested in the disturbing compulsions,
the curiosities that are going to kill the cat." -- James Spader, star of
"Secretary," talking to the Village Voice about his "libidinous roles."


[Wendy Mitchell, with reports by Matthew Ross, Brian Brooks, and Eugene
Hernandez]

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