DAILY NEWS: Spirit Award Nods; IFFCON Preview; and IFC Pick-up
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE with a report from G. Allen Johnson
>> IFP/West Unveils Nominees for 16th Independent Spirit Awards
(indieWIRE/01.11.01) -- "Chuck and Buck," "Requiem for a Dream," and "You Can Count on Me," each nabbed five nominations at last night's announcement
of the nominees for the 16th Independent Spirit Awards. The prizes,
presented by the IFP/West, will be awarded on March 24th in Santa Monica,
CA. The complete list of nominees is available now at indieWIRE.com.
The acclaimed low-budget entry, "George Washington," was another big
nominee, securing four nominations along with "Before Night Falls" and "The
Visit." The nominations are chosen by a committee that names the movies with
guidelines including the subject matter, vision, budget and independent
financing of the movie. The 9,000 members of the IFP chapters are eligible
to vote and select the winners.
"It's a cliche to say that the independent film movement embodies a wide
spectrum of films, but this year the cliche couldn't be more accurate,"
commented IFP/West Executive Director Dawn Hudson. "The depth and breadth of talent among these films -- from the $48,000 'George Washington' to the $14
million 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' -- are astonishing." [Eugene
[The Spirit Awards will be broadcast live on the Indpendent Film Channel,
with a re-broadcast on Bravo.]
GET THE COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES @ indieWIRE.com:
>> IFFCON Kicks Off Year of Biz, Buzz and Promises
(indieWIRE/01.11.01) -- It's been said that the volatile movie business
feeds on fear, but invariably, after three days of laid-back meetings and
networking parties at IFFCON amid idyllic San Francisco settings, the
emotion felt by potential producers is something more along the lines of
rejuvenated excitement. Even if the pockets are still empty at the end of
The eighth edition of the Independent Film Financing Conference -- which is
growing in importance for potential producers looking into creative ways to
finance projects as well as industry professionals looking to kill a few
days before Sundance -- begins tomorrow with an emphasis on the business and
financing repercussions of drastically changing technologies and systems of
"We will try to make sense of the industry's current metamorphosis through
candid discussions about the potential of digital technology as well as the
Web and television as venues for distribution,'' said IFFCON executive
director Wendy Braitman, who modeled the conference mainly on Rotterdam's
And that's IFFCON's key contribution right there -- it's a meeting place
that not only gets you up to speed, but gives you general directions on
where to go next.
The projects, which number 60 (40 features and 20 documentaries), were
invited by a panel of industry professionals. But anyone, project or not,
can go to Open Day tomorrow (Jan. 12), a nice mixture of panels and
networking at San Francisco's impressive Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.
Here, your $170 gets you a continental breakfast, five seminars, lunch and a
networking reception afterward.
As with most things, the more you put into Open Day, the better your
experience. There's the ever-popular "Perfect Pitch" panel, in which
participants can have their pitch critiqued by professionals, and the
instructive case study, which takes a successfully distributed independent
film and deconstructs its journey from script to screen.
This year's case study is Kwyn Bader's "Loving Jezebel," which got its start
at IFFCON '98 and was released theatrically last year. Other panels are "Now
What? Independent Filmmaking in the 21st Century," "Reinventing
Moviemaking," conducted by Peter Broderick of Next Wave Films, and "2001: Realities of the Theatrical Marketplace."
A networking reception will follow, which though crowded, offers
opportunities for a more personal interaction with some of the panels'
participating professionals. This year, they include Marcus Hu of Strand
Releasing, Matt Brodlie of Miramax, Maud Nadler of HBO Films, and veteran indie pioneers Ira Deutchman and Jack Lechner.
Among the 60 projects with a weekend pass, which includes several private
meetings on Saturday and Sunday, is one by two-time Academy Award-winner Rob Epstein ("Paragraph 175"), whose "Mighty Real: The Sylvester Story" will profile the pop drag diva that reigned before RuPaul. There's also "The
Waitress," in which the title character takes a restaurant hostage
("Envision a comedic "Dog Day Afternoon' with the heart of 'Norma Rae,'''
reads the logline) by producer Anne Masson (Deepa Mehta's "Earth");
"Madhouse Nudes," a darkly comic feature by one Bruno Coppola; and the
latest documentary from Liz Garbus ("The Farm: Angola USA"), called "Waxter
Girls," which focuses on three teenage girls from troubled pasts who are
incarcerated in the High Security Unit at the Waxter Children's Center in
Maryland. Other notable entries include "Kids" director Larry Clark with
"Blue Hawk," noted doc filmmaker Stanley Nelson with "The World the Slaves
Made," Scott ("The Headhunter's Sister") Saunder's "The Technical Writer" and official CineMart entry, Greta Schiller, with "Paris was a Woman."
Checks are rarely written at IFFCON, but doors do open. Contacts made there
ideally will reap rewards in the weeks and months to follow. Indeed,
IFFCON's reputation grows ever more solid with each passing year, thanks in
good part to its successful alumni. Brad Anderson's "Next Stop Wonderland," Terry Zwigoff's "Crumb," Lynn Hershman's "Conceiving Ada," and Josh Aronson's "Sound and Fury" are just a few of the successful projects which gained at least some assistance from past IFFCONs. [G. Allen Johnson]
[For more information, see IFFCON's website: http://www.iffcon.com.]
>> IFC Films to Release "Keep the River on Your Right"
(indieWIRE/01.11.01) -- The new IFC Films distribution company has confirmed
its plans to release David and Laurie Gwen Shapiro's "Keep the River on Your Right: A Modern Cannibal Tale." The doc, a look at the life of artists and
author Tobias Schneebaum, has been a success on the Festival circuit.
IFC Films will release the movie in March, according to yesterday's
announcement by Sr. VP of Marketing and Distribution Bob Berney. Next Wave
Films, a division of IFC Entertainment, provided finishing funds for the
film and it was executive produced by chief Peter Broderick.
"Tobias' story is a very theatrical experience and it's a privilege to bring
this film to audiences across the country," commented Berney in a prepared
statement. "This unconventional films demands an extraordinary release
campaign and I am looking forward to working with Tobias, Laurie, David and
everyone at Next Wave." [Eugene Hernandez]