DAILY NEWS: On the Scene in L.A.; Gay Film Awards
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> DISPATCH FROM LOS ANGELES: A Week of Celebrating and Networking in Hollywood
(indieWIRE: 03.26.02) -- The week leading up to Oscar night in Los Angeles
has become quite a networking event for the film industry. And so it goes
for the indie community that converges on Southern California for a number
of key events and opportunities.
Celebrating Oscar Nominated Docs
On Thursday night, the documentary community gathered at the Academy of
Motion Picture Arts and Sciences headquarters on Wilshire for the 20th
International Documentary Association (IDA) Nominee Program and Reception.
The evening included a full house watching clips of all docs nominated for
an Oscar this year, followed by a party in the lobby of the headquarters.
The event preceded the annual DocuDay on Saturday when nominated docs were
screened and followed by Q & A sessions with the filmmakers.
Sundance Channel joined forces with IDA to support this year's pre-Oscar doc
activities in L.A. The outlet is gearing up for the new Sundance Documentary
Channel which is targeted to launch later this year or early next year
according to executives. Based in L.A. the IDA has more than 2,500 members.
Honoring Independent Spirit
Also on Thursday night, over in Bel Air, the IFP/West honored this year's
Independent Spirit Award nominees with a gathering at producer Lawrence
Bender's ("Pulp Fiction," "Reservoir Dogs") house. The party, hosted by
Bender and actress Ellen Burstyn, welcomed nominees and notables to the
Among those on hand to toast the nominees was director Justin Lin, whose
"Better Luck Tomorrow" debuted at Sundance this year and was later acquired by MTV Films. It is targeted for an early 2003 debut, Lin told indieWIRE.
The unassuming director indicated that he recently signed with CAA, but
joked that despite being a new agency client, he is still mistaken as a messenger by CAA front desk staff.
Rep Jeff "The Dude" Dowd, a fixture of the L.A. film scene, worked the crowd
at Thursday night's gathering. At one point he gathered a crowd (among them
Quentin Tarantino) in Bender's home office to read from the producer's copy
of the "Reservoir Dogs" screenplay.
Celebrities and paparazzi gathered alongside indie community stalwarts in
Santa Monica on Saturday for a day of celebrating independent spirit. The
get-together started at 11:30 in the morning with a cocktail party, followed
by lunch and then the two-hour ceremony. Many made their way over to
Shutters after the event for The Independent Film Channel's annual
post-Spirits bash. Attendees on Saturday seemed generally satisfied with
the voter's award choices, but many openly wondered why "Hedwig and the
Angry Inch" was left out. Writer, director and star John Cameron Mitchell
kept his chin up at the IFC bash, thanking friends for their tireless support of the film.
Robert Evans Sneaks New Doc
In Beverly Hills all week, legendary Hollywood producer Robert Evans
welcomed Hollywood colleagues to his house for special evening screenings of
"The Kid Stays in the Picture."
I was invited to hang out at his estate, just off Sunset Blvd., on Friday
afternoon. Filmmakers Brett Morgen and Nanette Burstein, who recently
received acclaim for "On the Ropes," partnered with Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter and USA Films on the non-fiction adaptation of Evans' biography of the same name. It is set for a June release.
Evans is thoroughly engaged in getting the film out there and raising the
awareness of the project among his Hollywood cronies. Warren Beatty, Jack
Nicholson, Wes Anderson, David Fincher, David O'Russell, Paramount exec Sherry Lansing, Imagine's Brian Grazer and agent Jeff Berg are among the notables who made the trip to Evans' poolside screening room last week to watch the movie. With a sense of relief and pride, Evans related stories of his friends' positive reactions to the picture.
Evans is determined to reach out to indies with this film, knowing that they
are likely to find a kinship with him. His achievements in Hollywood during
the 60's and 70's have made him an icon to numerous younger filmmakers, many
of whom were introduced to his career by the biography or its audio version.
"I'd rather take a chance and go for infamy, than lie back and go for
mediocrity," Evans told me, when we chatted at Sundance where the film
debuted. "Sometimes it backfires -- I have taken risks and when you takes
risks you can fall on your ass and every so often you can catch a little
Concluding the thought back in January, he added, smiling, "I've always,
always, believed in being independent, independent in whatever I do. And you
can get in trouble that way, big trouble."
Slamdance Honors Award-Winning Alumni
The folks at Slamdance joined the Oscar week fray this year with an informal
gathering earlier in the week. Organizers have made occasional dinners at
the famed Cuban restaurant Versailles in Culver City a signature event for
L.A. based indies.
On Tuesday, "Memento" writer/director Christopher Nolan (an Oscar nominee and multiple Spirit Award nominee), live action short film Oscar winner Ray
McKinnon, and "Someone to Watch Award" winner Debra Eisenstadt (director of "Daydream Believer" and wife of "The Kid Stays in the Picture" co-director Brett Morgen) were among those on hand for the garlic chicken and flan
Now a qualifying festival for the annual Academy Awards, the Festival
boasted two Festival alumni nominated for Oscars and ten alumni nominated
for Spirit Awards. Monteith McCollum, director of the documentary "Hybrid," another Slamdance award-winner, was granted $20,000 at the Spirit Awards on
Saturday as winner of the IFC/DIRECTV Truer Than Fiction Award. (DISCLAIMER: I served on the committee that selected the nominees and recipient of this
year's Truer Than Fiction Award). [Eugene Hernandez]
iPOP Photos from the Independent Spirit Awards are available now
GET THE COMPLETE LIST OF OSCAR WINNERS @ indieWIRE.com
GET THE COMPLETE LIST OF SPIRIT AWARD WINNERS @ indieWIRE.com
>> "Hedwig" Wins Three at First Gay Film Awards
(indieWIRE/03.26.02) -- "Hedwig & the Angry Inch" took away three awards
over the weekend during the first annual International Gay Film Awards in
The ceremony was held at the Ed Gould Theater at the Gay & Lesbian Center.
The rock musical tied with "Burnt Money" for Best Feature Film selected by US
gay film festivals and it received best film prizes selected by the US press
as well as "Best Overall Film" from all voting outlets.
Meneshma Entertainment's "Second Skin" won best film as identified by
international gay film festivals, and the US gay press gave Sandi
Dubowski's "Trembling Before G-d" the best documentary prize. US gay
film festivals awarded "Paragraph 175" best doc. [Brian Brooks]