By Indiewire | Indiewire April 4, 2001 at 2:00AM
DAILY NEWS: Storaro on "Apocalypse"; Showtime and Atom; "American High" Returns; Cinetic Media Clarification
by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman, and Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> Storaro Discusses New "Apocalypse Now"; Will Preview Re-Cut Film at the Guggenheim Tonight
(indieWIRE/04.04.01) -- New York museum-goers will get a sneak peak at a
Cannes Film Festival debut tonight (Wednesday) when legendary
cinematographer Vittorio Storaro unveils a test reel from a newly restored
version of Francis Ford Coppola's Vietnam epic "Apocalypse Now." The film will premiere in full at Cannes next month and be released domestically by
Miramax later this year. As part of the film series, "Conversations Between
Shadows and Light: Italian Cinematography" at the Guggenheim Museum (April 6 - July 28), the special opening night event will preview the restoration
work done on the film in collaboration with Coppola, his company Zoetrope,
the film's D.P. Storaro, the original editor Walter Murch, and Cinetech Labs
According to Storaro, the 60-year-old Oscar award-winning cinematographer,
the new version of the film will be an hour longer, including four main new
sequences: the French plantation scene, one of the last American camps deep
in the jungle, an earlier sequence that builds the Laurence Fishburne
character, and a scene with Marlon Brando's Kurtz reading Life magazine to Martin Sheen's Captain Willard.
"Francis [Ford Coppola] decided to put back in all these segments, because
now the movie can be more complete -- the way that it was originally
conceived," Storaro told indieWIRE yesterday at the Guggenheim after
reviewing some of the footage. "It was a pity that it was left in the
editing room, because at the end of the day, you want to share it with
someone, you want to express yourself."
In his efforts to rescue the lost scenes, Storaro said, "I realized --
almost crying -- that the color is fading so fast." Rather than make an
inter-positive and then inter-negative of the old footage and cut the
footage into a new negative, Storaro realized, "the only chance we had [to
save the film] was to cut the [original] negative -- the new sequences with
the old ones -- so we can have one piece of negative, and one master." While
cutting the negative would forever change the original cut, Storaro asked
Coppola, "In the future, which version would you would want the audience to
see?" Storaro explained. "And he said, 'This one.' So we cut the negative."
Reflecting on his experience shooting "Apocalypse Now," Storaro added, "It
was the perfect concept to complete my study in the relationship between
conscious and unconscious, light and shadows, because I was able to
represent this visually in the conflict of cultures: the color of technology
like the color of smoke, for example, upon natural color like the rice
fields, or the sky or the sunset or the blue of dusk in the jungle. You have
to respect both. There has to be a conversation between them."
The Guggenheim series, "Conversations Between Shadows and Light," will also
showcase Storaro's work on Bernardo Bertolucci's "The Conformist" (complete with the Dance of the Blind sequence), Carlo Di Palma's work on Antonioni's "Red Desert" and Woody Allen's "Radio Days," Luciano Tovoli's work on Antonioni's "The Passenger," and Julie Taymor's "Titus," and many others.
[For more information on the series, call (212) 360-4321, or visit
>> Showtime to Populate New Channel with Atom Films
(indieWIRE/04.04.01) -- Showtime Networks has struck a deal to license up
to 100 short from AtomFilms, AtomShockwave's film and animation brand. The films will debut on Showtime Next, the cable provider's newly launched
channel targeting the 18-24 market. Films may later air on other Showtime
owned channels including Showtime, The Movie Channel and a multiplex of Showtime branded niche stations like Showtime Women and Showtime Extreme. Fifty of Atom's shorts were also snagged for Showtime Next's web site,
SHOnext.com, which launched on March 1 along with the television channel.
AtomShockwave's VP of Syndication Brian Burke said, "It is satisfying to
see such strong demand from mainstream entertainment providers, ensuring
a large audience for these films."
Showtime selected AtomFilms because of the brand's particularly strong
presence with Generation Y. According to Showtime Vice President of
Acquisitions Gary Garfinkel, "This package of short films will enrich our
Showtime Next inventory with cutting edge, youth-oriented programming that
should attract new subscribers in this important demographic group."
AtomShockwave also announced a deal yesterday to supply short films and
manage them for iMagicTV, which offers software allowing telephone
companies and other broadband service providers to deliver multi-channel
television and interactive media services. Under the agreement AtomFilms
will make new films available to iMagicTV customers monthly, each with a
60-day licensing window. iMagicTV will also exhibit the films during
demonstrations in venues such as trade shows. "This relationship with
iMagicTV is a major validation for the quality of AtomFilms' content and
our ability to generate revenue by exploring emerging syndication
channels," added Burke. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> "American High" Returns; Cutler's Verité Factory Continues
(indieWIRE/04.04.01) -- With the Fox network's cancelation of "American
High," R.J. Cutler's verité look at one year in the life of a Chicago-area
high school, after only four episodes were aired, the hope that smart
documentary filmmaking could merge within mainstream television seems to
have been all but lost. Alas, there's always public broadcasting: in October
PBS announced they were stepping in to save the abandoned show, and tonight
(Wednesday) they will begin airing the 13-part series (10 p.m. ET) showing
two episodes back-to-back each week.
Despite his show's premature cancellation, Cutler has no ill will towards
the major network. "Fox supported this show every step of the way in terms
of production and letting us do what we set out to," Cutler told indieWIRE.
"They never once tried to alter the program's vision." Still, according to
Cutler, several factors lead to the series' early demise on prime time,
including a limited marketing budget and the show's time slot opposite
"It's tough in any environment to compete against a one-two punch like
that; it's even tougher when the network you're on is going through tough
times and your show is trying to break new ground," explained Cutler.
"All this having been said, I know the ratings were low, but 5 million
viewers isn't all that bad, and that's what's great about network
television: your stuff definitely gets out there and it's incredibly
satisfying to be producing for such a substantial audience," he added.
"The truth is, this is a business," continued Cutler. "And as one executive
said to me when explaining the show's cancellation, 'We've got a network
that's hemorrhaging and we've got to do whatever we can to stop the
As for the move to public television, Fox was supportive of the deal,
according to the director, and allowed the production team to complete
post-production on remaining shows, even after the cancellation. Cutler
was also elated to eventually land at PBS. "They really believe in the
show and from day one they have done everything possible to provide a
permanent home for our program." [Anthony Kaufman]
[More information on "American High" can be found at:
[indieWIRE a link to our recent interview with R.J. Cutler in
>> CLARIFICATION: Cinetic Media
(indieWIRE/04.04.01) -- In yesterday's news story on Cinetic Media,
indieWIRE incorrectly reported that the new consulting firm was a
division of Sloss Law; Cinetic Media, however, is a separate company.
The new entity was created in order to make a clear distinction between
Sloss Law, which will now operate as a traditional entertainment law firm,
and Cinetic, which will serve a number of outside functions: such as
acting as a producer's rep on select indie projects for financing and
distribution as well as representing international financiers looking
to jump on board films in need of funds. John Sloss heads both companies.