DAILY NEWS: "Safety" Deal; and New This Week
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> IFC Gets Troche's "Safety"
(indieWIRE/10.24.01) -- IFC Films has nabbed Rose Troche's Toronto
International Film Festival debut, "The Safety of Objects." The movie, which
was an anticipated Toronto world premiere feature, stars Glenn Close, Dermot Mulroney, Jessica Campbell, Patricia Clarkson, Joshua Jackson, Moira Kelly, Robert Klein, Timothy Olyphant, and Mary Kay Place.
"Safety," which is based on a book of short stories by A.M. Homes, offers a
look at the occasionally melodramatic lives of a handful of families in a
suburban city. The distributor intends to release it next Summer.
"Rose Troche is a highly-acclaimed independent director poised to break out
to a wider audience with "The Safety of Objects," commented IFC Films' Sr. VP
Bob Berney. "We believe this film with its ensemble of brilliant
performances has a very broad appeal."
>> NEW THIS WEEK: Defying Convention; "Darko," Docs and French Films
(indieWIRE/ 10.23.01) -- An '80s period-sci-fi-coming-of-ager, a love story
between an older man and a woman who may be from another planet, a
documentary about homosexuality in the Orthodox Jewish community -- who said
independent film was dead? This week's indie releases offer hope for anyone
who had doubts about formula and commercialism swallowing up our cinema's
Arguably the biggest indie opener doesn't even come from a major
distributor. "Donnie Darko," the aforementioned sci-fi tale of teen angst,
was acquired by Newmarket Films, the financier-turned-distributor that
released, "Memento," the year's biggest grossing indie to date (press shy
Newmarket heads Will Tyrer and Chris Ball have turned down repeat interview requests, but their success speaks for itself). With the "Darko"
acquisition, Newmarket reconfirms a taste for difficult, quirky films that
other companies are too afraid to touch. Written and directed by 26-year-old
newcomer Richard Kelly (see indieWIRE's interview today), the film, filled
with special effects and original flights of fancy, follows the exploits of
a suburban boy (Jake Gyllenhal) who dreams up images of a giant rabbit and
travels through wormholes.
Newmarket will release "Darko" in nine cities this Friday through a service
deal with IFC Films, whose VP of marketing and distribution Bob Berney
oversaw the "Memento" release. Lighting may strike twice. At the film's
Sundance premiere, critic Andy Bailey admitted the film "won't be easy to
market," but claimed, "this furiously inventive debut eases into the new
Sundance with remarkable aplomb, decimating nearly everything in its path."
(Read the complete review at:
While Newmarket has proven itself with its careful handling of "Memento,"
New Yorker Films has proven itself for decades. The venerable arthouse
distributor will open two excellent French-language pictures this week,
Sophie Fillieres' "Ouch" and Robert Guediguian's "The Town is Quiet." "Ouch" is an assured romantic comedy with a welcome edge of strangeness, provided mostly by its enigmatic female lead Marie-Pierre (played fantastically by
the director's sister Helene Fillieres) who has an affair with an older man
(the likeable Andre Dussollier). Premiering under the radar at Toronto 2000,
Fillieres' second film shows a promise, charm, and narrative ingenuity that
deserves special mention -- and a long filmmaking career.
The Marseilles-based director Guediguian has done just that, but is largely
unknown in the states; his first U.S. release came in 1998 with "Marius and
Jeanette," but he's been making films since 1980. In indieWIRE's review from
the film's Venice 2000 premiere, Andy Bailey wrote, "Guediguian's latest
polemic resembles Paul Thomas Anderson's 'Magnolia' in scope, structure and sentimentality, forsaking that behemoth's cheap hysterics . . . for a far
more humanistic portrait of disconnection and generational shift. Emile Zola
would have been proud of this big, gutsy piece of social anthropology." (The
complete review will run later this week.)
A more psycho-sexual look at humanity can be found in the half-French-made
micro-indie, "Kill by Inches," from co-directors Diane Doniol-Valcroze and
Arthur Flam, which premiered at Toronto 1999 and opens Friday at New York's
The Screening Room, without a distributor. Produced by independent stalwart
Gill Holland, the Kafka-esque tale is an intriguing calling card for the
pedigreed directing duo (Diane's father is Jacques Doniol-Valcroze, one of
the founders of Cahier du Cinema; Flam's uncle co-wrote "Knife in the
Water"). While this miniature movie bills itself as a "macabre tale of a
young tailor driven to murder" (played by Emmanuel Salinger, from "La
Sentinelle"), the film's best moments involve the business of intuitive
tailoring from afar, sans measuring tape.
A more conventional film comes from IDP this week, "Better Than Sex,"
written and directed by Jonathan Teplitzky, an Australian date movie about
you guessed it: sex and relationships among a pair of attractive Aussies:
David Wenham and Susie Porter. Originally scheduled for an early summer
release, the movie has been pushed back so many times, as a result of
crowded film calendars and 9/11, its diverting thematic may be out of touch
with current arthouse audiences -- or perfectly in tune.
Regarding sexuality, two important documentaries round out the release
schedule dealing with the topic, Sandi Dubowski's celebrated and long
awaited film about Jewish Orthodox and Hassidic gays and lesbians, (which
garnered awards at Berlin and OutFest 2001 and is also being released by New Yorker Films), and "History Lessons" (a First Run Features release), veteran filmmaker Barbara Hammer's look at the legacy of lesbian representation in everything from military footage and vintage artwork to sex education films.
Interviews with both Dubowski and Hammer will appear later this week in
>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: Margaret Mead Sets 25th Lineup; "Final" Release Plans
(indieWIRE/10.22.01) -- New York's American Natural History Museum is
preparing for its 25th celebration of the Margaret Mead Film & Video
Festival beginning November 2nd and continuing through November 10th;
Cowboy Pictures is on board with Lions Gate to handle the upcoming
release of Campbell Scott's InDigEnt movie, "Final."