DAILY NEWS: New Distribution/Production Effort; Shooting Gallery Slate; and Hypnotic Finalists
by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Cohen/Nasso Form NY-based Production and Distribution Company, Manhattan Pictures Inc.
(indieWIRE/ 01.16.01) -- Indie distribution exec Paul E. Cohen and Hollywood
studio producer Julius R. Nasso have announced a partnership for a new
motion picture distribution and production company called Manhattan Pictures
International Inc. based in New York. In its first year, Manhattan Pictures
plans to acquire four theatrical features, eventually increasing to as many
as twelve per year.
Cohen, who will serve as CEO of the company as well as President of the
distribution division, has been associated with distribution since the '70s,
releasing films such as Visconti's "The Innocent," and the infamous
"Caligula." In the '80s Cohen released the Academy Award-winning "Mephisto" and more recently distributed the Spanish production, "Lovers," and the Oscar-nominated "The Thief" through Stratosphere Entertainment, which he founded in 1997. Partner Nasso will serve as President of Manhattan's
production division. Nasso has a reputation for being one of the top action
producers in the industry. In 1986, he helped form Segal-Nasso Productions
with actor Steven Segal whom he met while on business in Japan.
Manhattan will launch with its first film, already in production, entitled,
"One Eyed King" by director Bobby Moresco. The film is based on the
helmer's life growing up in New York's Hell's Kitchen and stars William
Baldwin, Armand Assante, Chaz Palmintieri, Bruno Kirby and Jim Brewer. Speaking of the company in a prepared statement, Cohen commented, "It is a great honor and responsibility for me to continue my life long journey in
this independent arena with a group this substantial and talented. They
truly have the vision to produce and acquire motion pictures that are at
once commercial in both the theatrical and ancillary marketplace without
compromising a level of quality to be proud of." [Brian Brooks]
>>Shooting Gallery Film Series -- In the Spotlight at New York Critics Dinner, Company Unveils Slate for Spring Series
(indieWIRE/01.16.01) -- With a self-described "spring in his step," Shooting
Gallery Films President Eamonn Bowles accepted a special award from the New York Film Critics Circle, commenting, "This year made me a lot less cynical
-- for that I am grateful." The Shooting Gallery Film Series, announced at
last year's Sundance Film Festival, was in the spotlight at Sunday night's
awards dinner at Windows on the World atop the World Trade Center in
The Critics Circle recognized Shooting Gallery for its "ingenious
distribution pattern as well as their choice of films" and Bowles used the
opportunity to tout the new slate of films set to screen this Spring.
On Friday, the Shooting Gallery announced the next six films that will be
released as part of their special distribution film series with Loews
Cineplex Entertainment. The Spring series of two-week runs begins on Feb. 23
with Paul Pawlikowski's "The Last Resort," and is followed by (in order of
release) Kieron Walsh's "When Brendan Met Truly," David Maquiling's "Too Much Sleep," Marziyeh Meshkini's "The Day I Became a Woman," Jamie Thraves's "The Low Down," and closing out the program on May 4 will be Shinji Aoyama's Cannes critics favorite, "Eureka."
Both "The Last Resort" and "Eureka" topped indieWIRE's year 2000 list of
films that deserved US distribution. Pawlikowski's film, winner of Best
British Independent Film at Edinburgh, and "The Low Down" will screen later
this week in the World Cinema program at Sundance. The two British indies
also share screens with another UK work, Walsh's "When Brendan Met Truly," a
Toronto fest North American debut starring up-and-comer Peter McDonald ("I Went Down"). Maquiling's "Too Much Sleep," produced by Open City Films, is the only US entry in the selection, following in the footsteps of former
singular American selections like Eric Mendelsohn's inaugural entry, "Judy
Berlin" and Tony Barbieri's "One." (Note their winning pattern: two to three films from the UK, one American, one Japanese, and one Iranian.)
Recent successes of the series include summer sleeper "Croupier" and Iran's
entry for Oscar consideration, "A Time for Drunken Horses."
Another indie distributor that made a mark in 2000 was singled out at
Sunday's star-studded Critics' dinner. New York-based Cowboy Booking was
commended by winners for its work on "George Washington" and "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg" -- winners of Best First Film and Best Non-Fiction
Film respectively. Indies took center stage throughout the night, even on an
evening when Tom Hanks was honored for his work on the Hollywood entry,
Marcia Gay Harden was honored for "Pollock," while Benecio del Toro was singled out for "Traffic," winner of the Best Picture award and the Best
Director prize for Steven Soderbergh. The Shooting Gallery's "You Can Count
on Me" took Best Actress for Laura Linney and Best Screenplay for Kenneth
Lonergan. [Anthony Kaufman and Eugene Hernandez]
>> Five Finalists Announced for Hypnotic Million Dollar Film Festival
(indieWIRE/01.16.01) -- The Hypnotic Milion Dollar Film Festival, a dual
effort between Hypnotic and Universal, have announced the five finalists who will compete for a $1 million production deal.
The final five include: David von Ancken for "Bullet in the Brain," "Dishpan Man" directed by Hal Long, Kyle Newman's "Drone," Carlo De Rosa for "Killing Time," and "Swimming Out To Holly" directed by Jesse Peyronel.
The winner will be announced during this year's Sundance Film Festival
chosen by a prestigious panel of judges including Kevin Misher, president of
production at Universal; Rick Hess, president of Propaganda Films as well
as directors Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents") and Jonathan Mostow ("U-571") among others.
Hypnotic is a new media film studio that develops work from emerging artists
with its partner Universal Pictures, acquiring and distributing content both on and offline. Since November, users of Hypnotic have rated 25 semi-finalists online at hypnotic.com. [Brian Brooks]