DAILY NEWS: Shooting Gallery Nabs Short Film; Icebox Frozen; Rohmer on Tour
by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE, with a report from Anna Dorfman/Digital Coast Daily
>> Acclaimed Short Set to Hit Shooting Gallery's Series
(indieWIRE/02.09.01) -- The Shooting Gallery has announced the addition of
Guy Maddin's acclaimed short film, "The Heart of the World," to its film
series, screening prior to "Last Resort" in New York, Los Angeles and
Chicago later this month. The film, from Canadian Maddin, was originally
commissioned by the Toronto International Film Festival as a prelude to
feature screenings. The film was later acquired by Zeitgeist.
Reporting from the Toronto Film Festival, indieWIRE Senior Editor Anthony
Kaufman singled out Maddin's short as a highlight of the event. "It was
perhaps a couple of the Preludes -- short films commissioned by the festival
to appear before the features and directed by Canadian locals -- that held
the sparkles of a newly found gem," Kaufman wrote. "Maddin's Eisenstein
meets "Metropolis" early cinema ode is a marvel, depicting a beautiful
blonde woman who must choose between the love of two brothers while the
world has a massive heart attack. In the process of saving the world, she --
get this -- creates the motion picture."
Concluding Kaufman added, "It's that kind of resurrection that would do
everyone in the film business some good, from those making films to those
programming them." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Icebox Slams Shut
(Digital Coast Daily/02.09.01) -- Icebox is preparing to shut its doors
today (Friday), confirmed spokesperson Lisa Spiritus.
The struggling online entertainment company had laid off 60 of its 100
staffers in late November, followed by another 11 last month, in an effort
to shelve its costly in-house production facility and make itself more
attractive to investors.
Since its inception in November 1999, when Icebox was hatched from incubator
eCompanies, the operation has functioned on a total of $15 million. It has
spent the past month desperately trying to close a second round of
financing. The company was also approached by content
players, including Z.com, who were looking for merger or acquisition
partners, but was not interested in pursuing this strategy, explained
She said Icebox is now looking for homes for its properties, including
popular cartoons "Mr. Wong," "Queer Duck" and "Zombie College."
"Ultimately," Spiritus lamented to the Digital Coast Daily, "Icebox
accomplished what it set out to do -- make great content, but there's too
much uncertainty in the market right now -- it's too tough."
From the outset, Icebox was a strong contender in the online entertainment
space, and enlisted high-profile writing and production talent from shows
such as "South Park," "Seinfeld," "Ren & Stimpy" and "The X-Files." The company also negotiated several lucrative offline deals,
and made history when its "Starship" Regulars series was picked up and
licensed by a full-fledged TV network -- Showtime. Icebox also recently
penned a marketing deal with the creators of "Monkeybone," which is set to
be released as a feature film in the near future.
Still, the troubled online content space was merciless this year, producing
many failures, a-la-Pop.com, Time Warner's Entertaindom, DEN and Pseudo, and few winners, such as Mondo Media, which garnered $17 million in third round financing in mid-January. [Anna Dorfman/Digital Coast Daily]
[EDITORS NOTE: The above article was reprinted with the permission of
Digital Coast Daily (www.digitalcoastdaily.com)]
>> Winstar Takes Rohmer on the Road
(indieWIRE/02.09.01) -- Tales of Rohmer, a 13-film retrospective of the
French New Wave forerunner, kicks off its nationwide tour at New York's Film
Forum today (Friday, Feb. 9). Running through March 15, the series will then
travel to over thirty North American cities throughout the year including
Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco, Houston,
Seattle, Portland, Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, and Detroit.
Distributor Winstar Cinema ("Pola X," "Humanite") has struck new 35 prints of the works, including such Rohmer classics as "Chloe in the Afternoon" (1971), "Claire's Knee" (1970) and his 1969 Academy Award nominated
international success, "My Night at Maud's." The series will also showcase
the U.S. theatrical premiere of "A Summer's Tale" (1996), the third feature
in Rohmer's acclaimed Tales of the Four Seasons series.
"Autumn Tale," the last in the series and Rohmer's most recent film to be
released in the U.S. (by USA Films), received the award for Best Foreign
Language Film from the National Society of Film Critics for 1999. At
80-years-old, with more than thirty films to his credit, the beloved French
director has turned to digital video for his next feature, "L'Anglaise et le
duc," starring Lucy Russell ("Following") and Jean-Claude Dreyfus, which opens in France this year. [Anthony Kaufman]