DAILY NEWS: Plexifilm Acquisitions; IFC Films Taps New Video for Docs
by Brian Brooks and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE
>> Plexifilm Gains Indie Awareness; Upstart Adds 4 DVD Titles To Growing Slate
(indieWIRE: 07.29.02) -- Independent DVD label and film production company
Plexifilm is steadily gaining a higher profile, helped in part by the recent
announcement of several new home video acquisitions. The four films that
Plexifilm acquired are "Mysterious Object at Noon," a 2002 Thai feature from
Apichatpong Weerasethakul; "Friends Forever," a 2002 indie rock doc from
director Ben Wolfinsohn; "Fruit of the Vine," a 2000 skateboarding documentary by Coan Nichols and Rick Charnoski; and "Dutch Harbor: Where the Sea Breaks Its Back," a 1998 film about a community in transition by Braden King and Laura Moya.
Plexifilm CEO and president Gary Hustwit said these latest acquisitions fit
well into the company's overall strategy. "I could see all these
under-the-radar indie films that hadn't gotten wide theatrical distribution
that needed to be released in the right way and marketed in the right way,"
he said in a conversation with indieWIRE. When Hustwit co-founded the New
York City-based company in September of last year, the goal was to deliver
"the quality of work that Criterion was doing, for smaller indie films and
revivals." (Plexifilm co-founder Sean Anderson is, in fact, a veteran of The
Plexifilm recently co-produced and is planning the DVD release of "I Am
Trying to Break Your Heart," a new feature-length documentary about the band
Wilco (Cowboy Pictures released the film theatrically on Friday). Plexi
also handled the theatrical and DVD re-release of "Ciao! Manhattan," John
Palmer and David Weisman's cult classic starring Edie Sedgwick. The company also does DVD production work for studios and music labels, and it recently
launched Pleximusic, a film music division and soundtrack record label
headed by veteran music supervisor Tracy McKnight.
Hustwit explained that Plexifilm more closely resembles an indie record
label than a film company. "We're much more like a record label that happens
to release films," explained Hustwit, a veteran of the digital audio industry
and punk label SST Records. "Every release that we put out is something that we
love. The collection that we're putting together is a direct reflection of
all of our tastes, and that's the only criteria for our acquisitions."
Other DVDs coming from Plexi in the near future include George Ratliff's
"Hell House," a doc about a fundamentalist church's controversial haunted
house depicting modern-day sins; Jem Cohen and Peter Sillen's award-winning music documentary "Benjamin Smoke," Gus Van Sant's debut feature "Mala Noche," and Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant's graffiti doc "Style Wars." Hustwit hopes Plexifilm will work up to several DVD releases per month by 2003. [Wendy Mitchell]
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>> New Video and IFC Team Up to Distribute Home Entertainment
(indieWIRE: 07.29.02) -- New Video, a marketer and distributor of home
entertainment, has entered into an agreement with the Independent Film
Channel (IFC) to distribute a full-slate of IFC branded, theatrically
released documentaries and art-house films. The deal will include 12 films
per year beginning in September 2002 on New Video's Docurama label, which
specializes in documentaries. Art-house work will be distributed under
its own imprint.
Films slated for distribution under the agreement include "Go Tigers!,"
which chronicles a tension-filled 1999 high school football season in
Massillon, Ohio; and "Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale,"
which follows the adventures of Tobias Schneebaum, a gay Jewish New Yorker
who lived with cannibals in Peru and New Guinea. Also in 2003, Docurama
will release "Brother's Keeper" by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky about a mysterious family murder and the subsequent trial.
"This acquisition and distribution deal comes during a time of exciting
growth and opportunity for New Video," said Susan Margolin, COO of New Video in a company release. "IFC's unique and celebrated programming speaks
perfectly and fluently to the markets we've been cultivating since we
launched Docurama and New Video. We are very excited to be forging such a
strong partnership with IFC, which will broaden the brand expansion and
create new viewing audiences on both sides."
New Video was established in 1990 and is the sole distributor for A&E Home
Video, MTM library of classic television and NBC News Video. IFC is managed and operated by Bravo Networks. [Brian Brooks]
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>> THURSDAY IN indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: Barbera in Telluride; Urbanworld Plans; and Showtime's Latino Showcase
(indieWIRE: 07.25.02) -- Former director of theVenice Film Festival, Alberto
Barbera has been named guest director for the upcoming 29th Telluride Film
Festival; The roster for the upcoming Urbanworld Film Festival was presented
yesterday with an extensive lineup of African-American, Latino, and Asian
features, docs, and shorts; And, Gustavo Mercado has been selected as the
winner of the Showtime Networks' Third Annual Latino Filmmaker Showcase."
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