DAILY NEWS: New Directors; NYLESFF; Cleveland FF
By Eugene Hernandez & Maya Churi/indieWIRE
>> BUZZ: New Directors Head Downtown for Annual Bash
(indieWIRE/4.4.00) -- Filmmakers, industry, and friends headed downtown
Saturday night for the annual bash celebrating the Film Society of Lincoln
Center and MoMA's New Directors/New Films series. The gathering was held
in a spacious downstairs section of the 15,000 square Obeca Li restaurant in
Cocktail conversation included chatter about the recent trio of LA events:
the Oscars, the Spirit Awards and the Yahoo! festival, but the discussion
quickly shifted to the New York festival and its acclaimed new films.
Among those in attendance was Spirit Award nominee Paul Mezey, producer of
David Riker's "La Ciudad" and "Our Song" directed by Jim McKay (also in
attendance) Mezey produced this latter film with IFC Films and Alexa L. Fogel
& Joe Infantolino. "Our Song" is screening at New Directors before heading
off to Taos and Philadelphia. In between shots with Ingrid Sischy,
editor-in-chief of party sponsor Interview Magazine, McKay told indieWIRE
that he held a screening of the movie this weekend in Brooklyn for local kids
and members from the movie's band. Once the film lands a distribution deal,
he indicated, the plan is to present it for Brooklyn residents at the
new BAM Rose Cinemas.
In addition to "Our Song," McKay is busy with a few other projects
through C-Hundred Film Corp, his company with Michael Stipe. The duo
are presenting Jem Cohen's documentary, "Benjamin Smoke" which is being
released by Cowboy Booking and Hannah Weyer's documenary, "La Boda,"
which will premiere on PBS' POV series in June. Watch for McKay and Stipe
to soon launch Self-Timer, an umbrella for McKay and Stipe's C-Hundred and
Single-Cell, Michael Stipe's production company with Sandy Stern ("Being
John Malcovich"). Self-Timer will be infused with capital from a well-known
and very successful web-based outfit. Details soon.
Another company which has undergone a makeover is Unapix Entertainment,
having recently launched a new theatrical division, Unapix Films. On
hand Saturday night was VP of Marketing and Publicity Steve Grenyo, who
recently joined Unapix from Stratosphere with new President Richard
Abramowitz and Vincent Nabrita who is handling marketing and special
projects. Grenyo told indieWIRE that the division has acquired Jon Shear's
"Urbania ," which is screening at the upcoming GenArt Festival
(the film premiered at Sundance). Unapix plans to send the movie to a
few gay & lesbian film festival this summer before opening it in Manhattan in
mid-August. The company also recently acquired Colette Burson's "Coming Soon"
and Ron Mann's documentary, "Grass," which will hit New York at the end of May
before heading to San Francisco and Los Angeles in June.
Among the stand out New Directors films is Alison Maclean's new film,
"Jesus' Son," starring Billy Crudup. The film is set to screen this
weekend. On hand to toast the project was Lions Gate's Sarah Lash, who
told indieWIRE that she read a draft of the script early on. The company
picked up the movie prior to its debut at last year's Telluride Film
Richard Linklater and Michael Almereyda rounded out a group of notable
party-goers gathering near Lash, IFC's Caroline Kaplan and John Sloss
as the party wrapped up. Their attorney and frequent exec. producer
Sloss mused on his recent pact with Hollywood heavyweights Steven
Spielberg and Ron Howard for their new Internet effort, Pop.com.
Sloss Law, which recently lost the Sloss Special Projects team of
Joy Newhouse and Micah Green is in period of transition as it gears
up for POPFEST. Sloss is expected to move into bigger digs soon and
staff up for the new dotcom deal. Linklater is currently in production on a
feature with Bob Sabiston and Tommy Palotta ("Roadhead," "Snack and
Drink"), while Michael Almeryda will soon open his new Miramax film,
"Hamlet," starring Ethan Hawke in the lead role.
Other attendees at the fiesta included actor/director Frank Whaley ("Swimming
With Sharks," "Joe the King"), Hamptons co-director of programming
Lynda A. Hansen and Hallmark Entertainment Sr. VP Lynn Holst.
[For more information, visit the New Directors/New Films site at:
>> Lower East Side Festival Showcases Indies Without Distribution
(indieWIRE/4.4.00) -- The New York Lower East Side Film Festival will kick
off on April 19th in an effort to bring films with no distribution to
screens around the city. The screening venues will include bars,
restaurants and assorted nooks in the East Village and the Lower East
Side. In addition to film screenings up and coming underground DJ's will
be spinning at the nightly events.
The festival, which was created last year by Thomas Dunkley and Lisa Woo,
is gearing up for a bigger and higher profile event that keeps it's focus
on the underground film and music scene. From a selection of films from
all over the world the festival has chosen 6 features and over 30 shorts
in the categories of shorts, features, animation and documentaries.
Films featured in this year's fest include: "Overnight Sensation"
by Glen Trotiner, Matthew Harrison's "Bystander from Hell Part II,"
and "Sunday with Bill" a documentary interview with animator Bill
Plympton. [Maya Churi]
[For more information, visit the Festival site at:
>> 24th Cleveland Festival Wraps
(indieWIRE/4.4.00) -- The 24th Cleveland International Film Fest closed this
past weekend with over 35,000 attendees during the 10 day event. At
the close of the event the award winners were announced in each of the
categories: The winner for best film was Miramax's "The Butterfly's Tongue"
by Jose Luis Cuerda, about a teacher and a student who become
friends during the Spanish-Civil War. Other winners included:
2nd Place - "Punk" by Patrik-Ian Polk, "The Life and Times of Hank
Greenberg" by Aviva Kempner, "Goat on Fire and Smiling Fish" by Kevin
Jordan, "Spring Forward" by Tom Gilroy, documentaries "Sound and Fury" by and "The Hand Behind the Mouse" by Leslie Iwerks.
[indieWIRE is presenting a full wrap up of the Festival in this issue.]