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November 7, 2001 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: New This Week; Catch 23 Deal; and Teen Awards

DAILY NEWS: New This Week; Catch 23 Deal; and Teen Awards



by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE



>> NEW THIS WEEK: Death and Disease; Another Week in Mini-Indies


(indieWIRE/11.07.01) -- Small companies; small films. This description best
suits the handful of indie titles coming to theaters this week. But what's
the old adage: there's no small roles, only small actors? The same could
probably be said for movies, but even small films remain unfortunately small
by virtue of their brief lifespan in theaters. It's the sad fact of the
business of art. Just look at the sorry expansion possibilities for "Donnie
Darko
," an audacious little movie from Newmarket Films, the
wonder-distributor of "Memento," that is beloved by many a critic, but
dropped 47% in receipts in its second week out, according to Variety. What's
wrong with this picture? Though this week's releases, with fewer stars or
marketing hooks, surely don't expect to compete on the same level -- and
would love to make the over $220,000 that "Darko" has raked in its first 10
days -- they offer yet more options in what has proven to be an already
cramped arthouse market.


Joining the fray today (Wednesday) is Frieder Schlaich's "Otomo" at New
York's Film Forum, which is based on the true story of a West African
immigrant to Germany whose misfortunes with police snowballed into murder.
"A tough exploration of intolerance and dislocation," wrote A.O. Scott of
The New York Times, "Otomo" looks at the institutionalized racism of 1989
Stuttgart; niche distributor ArtMatten, organizers of the African Diaspora
Film Festival
, have found a film with surprising prescience. indieWIRE spoke
with actors Isaach de Bankole ("Chocolat") and Eva Mattes (frequent
Fassbinder collaborater) for an interview that will appear in tomorrow's
indieWIRE.


Another new kid on the block, Vitagraph Films (distributors of Takashi
Miike
's "Audition"), will open Marc Forster's DV effort "Everything Put Together" in New York after already releasing the film in Los Angeles.
Forster won the Someone to Watch Award at the IFP Spirit Awards for "Put
Together
," his debut feature and Sundance 2000 premiere. The award seems to
have been dead-on, as Forster's second film is coming right on the heels of
his first -- it is "Monster's Ball," a Lions Gate end-of-the-year Oscar
contender, starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger. "Everything Put Together" stars Radha Mitchell ("High Art") as a woman who loses her baby and the resulting ostracism she faces in her suburban
community.


A couple of other American independent dramas will also see theatrical
releases, however small they may end up, and both coincidentally focusing on
protagonists with medical disabilities. "A Brother's Kiss," director Seth
Zvi Rosenfeld
's "King Of The Jungle" (from upstart distrib Urbanworld
Films
), stars John Leguizamo as a mentally retarded man gripped with the
desire to avenge his mother's murder, and "Maze" from actor Rob Morrow
("Northern Exposure") is about a New York artist with Tourette's Syndrome
(Morrow) who falls for his friend's pregnant girlfriend (Laura Linney).
indieWIRE will publish an interview with director Rosenfeld early next week.


New documentaries, filled with more disease and disability round out this
week's limited releases. At The Screening Room in New York, Kim Snyder's "I Remember Me," from Zeitgeist Films, chronicles the filmmaker's four years with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as other victims of the largely
mysterious disease. While Eli Kabillio's "Keeping It Real: The Adventures of
Greg Walloch
" also opens, a document of the Californian-born Harlem-based
gay comedian with cerebral palsy. Avatar Films, who recently garnered the
coup of acquiring Mohsen Makhmalbaf's topical new film, "Kandahar," is
handling the release of "Walloch." [Anthony Kaufman]


>> Catch 23 Nabs "Pilgrim" Comic


(indieWIRE/11.07.01) -- Catch 23 Entertainment President Jeremy Barber has announced the acquisition of worldwide film rights to Garth Ennis' comic
book, "Just a Pilgrim." The project was brought in by company VP of
productions and acquisitions Marc Danon, a former Artisan employee who
oversaw development of the Marvel franchise. Danon will oversee the project
according to an announcement yesterday.


In the announcement, the post-apocalyptic project was described as centering
"on "a mysterious and deeply religious former Green Beret, Pilgrim, who
quotes scripture while dispensing the Lord's harsh judgment on the unholy
and unrepentant, as he leads a rag-tag group of refugees to safety."


Catch 23 is an L.A. based company with a distribution deal at Universal. Its
first release is Mark Romanek's "One Hour Photo," set to be released by Fox Searchlight early next year. [Eugene Hernandez]


>> Inaugural Teen Film Festival in Toronto Unveils Winners


(indieWIRE/11.07.01) -- Winners for the recent inaugural Levi's Toronto
International Teen Movie Festival
which showcased films from teens 13 to 19
in addition to projects from those under 13 were announced by event
organizers. The festival closed November 4th with an awards gala attended
by teen celebs who were on hand to present the prizes. "Two Days Till
Tomorrow
" by Robert Temple (Canada) won the top AMC Best Feature prize which will include a one week run at AMC Theatres in Toronto and Montreal as well as the Best Canadian Feature award. The prize includes an airing of Temple's
film on The Movie Network. The Best Overall Short which includes a film
school scholarship went to Belgian, Erwin Verbruggen who also won the Best
Director nod for "The Kissing Game" while Most Original Movie went to
"Saragosa" by Trevor Mowchan in which the Canadian will receive a distribution deal with Cinema Esperanca.


In other prizes, Best Documentary went to Briin Bernstein for "Problems," and Best Animation went to Adam Schaffer for "POV." Over 3,000 teens attended the weeklong event and submissions were accepted in all formats. "We are ecstatic with the response that we have received" said TITMF President Jonathan Hiltz in a prepared statement, "This festival proved that ids have an amazing
ability to express themselves creatively and need a forum in which to exhibit
their creativity." [Brian Brooks]


>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: Iranian Filmmaker Follow-Up; Sundance/NHK Finalists


(indieWIRE/11.06.01) -- In Part 2 of the story of an Iranian filmmaker under
arrest, the story continues as hundreds of international filmmakers, including
Francis Ford Coppola, Ang Lee, Steven Soderbergh and Agnieszka Holland, released a statement supporting director Tahmineh Milani who was arrested in late August. Since then Allison Anders, Eric Stoltz and hundreds more have added their names. Also today, eleven finalists have been named for the annual Sundance/NHK International Filmmakers Award which recognizes emerging filmmakers.


GET THE FULL STORY @ indieWIRE.com


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