DAILY NEWS: RESFEST Alternatives; AMPAS Fest Funding; IFC Films News and Heartland Winner
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> RESFEST Panelists Discuss Alternatives -- DV and Flash
(indieWIRE/ 10.23.00) -- At its essence, the annual RESFEST tour is about
the alternative. The event, which concluded its New York City installment
this weekend, offers alternative forms of entertainment mostly created using
alternative methods or tools. At two panel discussions this weekend,
particpants discussed some of those alternatives -- digital filmmaking and
During yesterday's "Future of Filmmaking" discussion, Gary Winick and Fisher
Stevens commented on their experiences making "Sam the Man," a new feature
that stars Stevens, and was directed by Winick -- it recently debuted at the
Hamptons International Film Festival and closed RESFEST last night.
Inspired by Thomas Vinterberg's Dogme 95 film, "The Celebration," the duo decided to tackle the script digitally, based on a story that Stevens had in
mind for some time. The $60,000 movie became a test project for a slate of
DV features that Winick is now producing, dubbed InDigEnt. Bruce Wagner, Rodrigo Garcia, Campbell Scott, Ethan Hawke and Richard Linklater are among the directors who have now shot feature films for the slate. Fisher Steven's GreeneStreet Films has also gotten into the act, producing Griffin Dunne's "Famous" -- the film debuted at Cannes. Stevens also recently directed a DV project, entitled "Just A Kiss," and he is producing a DV/16mm project entitled "Pinero."
"The shooting's easy, but the post is a nightmare," quipped Winick during
yesterday's session. Over the course of producing the slate, he has picked
up a few tips to make the process a bit easier, some of which he shared with
a curious audience. Careful not to let the discussion get too far off balance,
panel moderater Jonathan Wells fielded questions relating to a few of the
other projects' showcases.
"Avenue Amy," an Oxygen network series based on writer Amy Sohn's "Female Trouble" column in the New York Press, was a hit with the audience.
Screening in the RESFEST long shorts section, the program is also shot in
DV, but in this case the video is then animated in a complicated process
that was explained by series director Joan Raspo. The look is not as
stylized as the work being done by Bob Sabiston and Tommy Palotta ("Road Head," "Snack and Drink"), but its also less expensive and less
At Saturday's Net Cinema seminar, a panel discussed animation almost
exclusively, touting Flash as the alternative approach to creating sometimes
costly cartoons. While the focus was primarily on work created expressly
for the Internet -- content was showcase for the first time as part of a the
new RESFEST net cinema section -- the discussion did include speculation
about feature-length Flash-animated projects. "Lil Pimp," MediaTrip's
popular series, is being adapted for the big screen and panelist Jamie Levy
("Cyberslacker") told the audience that her company, Electronic Hollywood, is creating a Flash feature.
92% of Internet users have the Flash plug-in, moderator Holly Willis told
attendees, adding that with access to 92 million people, independent
filmmakers have great access, to a larger audience than ever before.
Whether made with digital video or animated with Flash, such alternative
work still faces challenges when trying to break into the marketplace.
While such efforts are highlighted on tours like RESFEST, or at festivals
that have adopted digital projection, makers are still forced to rely on
In the case of Gary Winick and Fisher Stevens with "Sam the Man," the pair
are in the process of seeking a theatrical deal. Admitting that this can be
a challenge, Winick told the audience that DV movies are "hard to sell and
hard to get into festivals." With regard to the InDigEnt slate, which
already has a guaranteed TV deal thanks to financier IFC, Winick told
attendees that InDigEnt partner John Sloss is pitching Sundance for fest
slots and a theatrical deal with Lions Gate is in the works.
[The RESFEST tour continues next week in Los Angeles, for more information,
GET A COMPLETE REVIEW OF RESFEST @ indieWIRE.com:
+ RESFEST Sprints Forward, with Digital Revolution's Rapid Evolution
>> BRIEFLY: AMPAS Doles Out $250,000 to 14 Festivals
(indieWIRE/ 10.23.00) -- (indieWIRE/ 10.23.00) -- The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences'
Academy Foundation has awarded $250,000 to 14 American film festivals, the
organization announced on Friday.
While Sundance and Telluride each received $30,000, Cinequest in San Jose
and the Cleveland International Film Festival each received $25,000.
$20,000 recipients included the Florida Film Festival, the LAIFF, the
Nashville Independent Film Festival, and the Taos Talking Pictures Festival.
The $10,000 recipients were Aspen Shortsfest, Hot Springs Documentary
Film Festival, Mix Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, the Northwest Film & Video
Festival, the Pan African Film Festival and the San Diego Jewish Film
Festival. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> BRIEFLY: IFC Confirms Plans for "Spring Forward"
(indieWIRE/ 10.23.00) -- The Independent Film Channel's new distribution
arm, IFC Films, confirmed Friday that it will release Tom Gilroy's "Spring
Forward" in December -- the company also produced the movie. The release
will be the company's first, Senior VP of Marketing and Distribution Bob
"I am thrilled to start an association with this wonderful group of
filmmakers -- Tom Gilroy, Paul Mezey, Jim McKay and Gill Holland -- and to
release this character driven drama which showcases the talents of two
amazing actors [Ned Beatty and Live Schreiber] for whom we will launch an
Academy campaign," Berney said in a prepared statement. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> BRIEFLY: Heartland Fest Gives $50K to "The Rising Place"
(indieWIRE/ 10.23.00) -- The Heartland Film Festival in Indianapolis
announced the recipient of its dramatic feature grand prize. The award,
honoring "filmmakers whose work explores the human journey by artistically
expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life," carries with
it $50,000 prize and was awarded to Tom Rice's "The Rising Place" starring
Frances Fisher, Gary Cole and Laurel Holloman. [Eugene Hernandez]