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November 18, 1999 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: NYC PR Company Closing; View Askew/Miramax Pact; Hollywood Film Foundation

DAILY NEWS: NYC PR Company Closing; View Askew/Miramax Pact; Hollywood Film Foundation

by Eugene Hernandez and Maya Churi


>> Kahn & Jacobs Closing PR Company; Latest Move in Series of NYC PR Shifts

This Fall has been a busy one in the New York City specialized film PR
world -- the latest development being the closing of a major indiefilm publicity
company. Sharon Kahn and Susan Jacobs, founders and co-presidents of
Kahn & Jacobs Public Relations in New York have announced that they are closing the firm at the end of this month. After nearly seven years in the business, the two are parting amicably, intending to pursue other interests.


"Susan and I have had a great partnership, but we got the Seven Year Itch,
and have decided to scratch it," quipped Sharon Kahn in her company's final
press release issued yesterday.


Among Kahn & Jacobs film clients were Paul Schrader, St. Clair Bourne,
Melvin Van Peebles, New Yorker Films, and the Nantucket, Human Rights Watch and Urbanworld Film Festivals. The firm also handled classical music PR and other accounts. Kahn & Jacobs' first client was the IFP, which it handled for six years.


The announcement capped a series of other significant PR shifts that have
taken place in Manhattan recently. Earlier this fall, Dennis Davidson & Associates
(DDA) another player in the indiefilm publicity market closed down its New York
City office. In a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, DDA executive
vice-president Nancy Willen explained that the economics of specialized film
PR are a challenge. However, she indicated that she intends to re-open a New
York branch of the firm once a qualified senior executive can be found to head
the bureau. Two years ago, Mark Urman left DDA with Jennifer Morgerman en route to Lions Gate and Jeremy Walker, then of Clein + White, joined DDA as its New York office chief. The stint was a short one and Walker rejoined Clein as a partner, followed by the departure of Jeff Hill, Shannon Treusch, Janice Roland, Gary Hill and Steve Beeman who formed Falco public relations.


Prior to Sundance '99, PR vet Harry Clein renamed his company Clein + Walker, incorporating Jeremy Walker as the duo began nearly a year of work on
"The Blair Witch Project." Following the successful release of the landmark
indiefilm, Clein announced this fall that he was retiring from the business and Walker announced the formation of a new company, Jeremy Walker + Associates. The new outfit began independent operations earlier this month.


In the wake of these larger shifts a handful of individual New York publicists
made moves recently. DDA's Mary Ann Hult and Monica Sheldon jumped to Fox Searchlight and mPRm respectively, while Gwin Von Ludwig recently joined Donna Daniels PR from Arrow. Finally, Sarah Eaton recently returned to Sundance Channel exiting the former October Films. [Eugene Hernandez]


>> Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier Extend and Expand Deal with Miramax

Miramax announced today that writer/director Kevin Smith and his producing
partner Scott Mosier of View Askew are expanding their relationship with
Miramax Films under a new three-year agreement which encompasses all of
Smith and Mosier's activities in film and television. Under the agreement
Smith will write and direct his own project's produced by Mosier under the
View Askew banner. Smith will also write and possibly executive produce other
projects for film and television. Mosier will also develop projects independent
of Smith.


According to a prepared press prelease, Smith is currently working on an animated
version of his first film "Clerks" for Miramax Television, which will begin
airing on the ABC Television Network early next year. Harvey Weinstein said of
Smith and Mosier, "As filmmakers, Kevin and Scott have grown enormously since
we released 'Clerks' five years ago. They have become synonymous with the
Miramax name and the spirit of our company."


The announcement comes on the heels of a successful opening weekend of "Dogma"
Smith's latest project, being released by Lion's Gate Films after it was dropped
by Miramax earlier this year. [Maya Churi]

>> Hollywood Film Festival Launches Film Foundation

The Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Network have announced the
launching of the Hollywood Film Foundation, a non-profit organization,
created to support and promote culturally diverse filmmaking. The foundations
goals are to bridge the gap between filmmakers from all over the world by
facilitating access to education, funds, professionals and resources. They
also hope to increase the filmming opportunities in the State of California.


"It's about time that private entities and individuals get together to take
action and assist the community to stop the present drainage of both production
and creative assets from the U.S., California and Hollywood," founder Carlos
de Abreu
said. The program consists of: Experimental Grants - up to $50,000;
digital moviemaking grants - up to $50,000; finishing grants and partial budget
grants - up to 50% of budget. The funds are sponsored by individuals, companies
and government entities and consist of cash, goods, services and promotional
support. Projects must be budgeted under $5,000,000 and 75% of the production
must take place in the State of California. The recipients will be selected
by a committee of Hollywood professionals. [Maya Churi]


[For more information visit the foundation's website at
http://www.hff.org
]




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