DAILY NEWS: Sundance News, Five Nicholl Fellowship Recipients and Weekend Box Office
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Cooper Named Director of Programming at Sundance Fest
(indieWIRE: 10.29.02) -- No, its not too soon to be thinking about Sundance.
While the festival is still two and a half months away, the submissions
deadlines have passed and the line-up is expected to be unveiled in just five
weeks. With the event increasingly on people's minds, organizers have announced
a few key appointments: John Cooper has been tapped director of film festival
programming, while managing director Jill Miller is overseeing event operations.
Cooper, who heads the festivals programming team of Trevor Groth (senior
programmer) and Shari Frilot & Caroline Libresco (programmers), joined the Sundance Institute in 1990. He was named associate director of film festival
programming three years ago.
The move comes in the wake of Geoff Gilmore taking the top role at the festival
this year. He was named director of the Sundance Film Festival following the
departure of Nicole Guillemet during Institute shake-up following the 2002
event (Guillemet is now heading the festival in Miami).
Jill Miller, managing director of Sundance Institute, will head festival
operations, including registration, ticketing, guest services, the press
office, marketing, and venue operations. Miller joined the Institute in 1985.
The 2003 Sundance Film Festival (January 16 - 26) will be the first in the
event's new headquarters at the renovated Park City Marriott, which is located
in the Prospector Square area of Park City, UT. The event has entirely moved
from its Shadow Ridge digs. The Marriott venue, formerly known as the Olympia
Park Hotel, is located a short distance from most of the fest's primary
screening venues, including the Prospector Square, Yarrow, Eccles, and the
remodeled Holiday Village Cinemas.
Other new features for Sundance 2003 include a focus on international
documentaries and a host of new ticket packages. The inaugural documentary,
awards-weekend, and "Adrenaline" passes (for early morning and late night
festival-goers) went on sale last week.
A handful of alternative festivals will again add to the energy of the Park
City festival scene during Sundance. Nine-year-old Slamdance returns with
Gianna Chachere as its new festival director. Notably, the event will be
back on Main St. with headquarters at the Treasure Mountain Inn . Slamdunk
will be anchored at Club Creation on Main St, while No Dance will return for
its sixth year. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> AMPAS Names Five Screenwriting Fellows
(indieWIRE: 10.29.02) -- The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has
named the five recipients of the 2002 Don and Geen Nicholl Fellowships in
Screenwriting. The five writers, who include John Ciarlo ("Bend in the
River"), Matt Harris ("Moon of Popping Trees"), Pamela Kay ("Nude and Naked"), Kurt Kuenne ("Mason Mule"), and Creighton Rothenberger ("The Chosin") will receive the first installment of the $30,000 prize at a dinner in Beverly Hills on November 14.
6,044 scripts were submitted this year, and the winners were chosen from a
pool of ten finalists. Screenwriters who have not sold or optioned a screenplay
or teleplay for more than $5,000 or received a fellowship reward that includes
a "first look" option qualify to enter the yearly competition. The fellowships
are given to recipients with the proviso that each complete a feature-length
screenplay during the fellowship year. The Academy receives no rights to the
scripts and the organization does not participate commercially with their
Since the program's inaugural year in 1985, 78 fellowships have been awarded,
and a number of the winning scripts have been produced. Recent success
stories include Karen Moncrieff's "Blue Car" (1998), Michael A. Rich's "Finding Forrester" (1998), and Ehren Kruger's "Arlington Road" (1996). [Brian Brooks]
>> "Frida," Dodger," and "Nothing" Among New Entries at Weekend Box Office
(indieWIRE: 10.29.02) -- A number of indie and specialty releases battled it
out again at the box office this weekend, with "Roger Dodger," "All or Nothing," and "Frida," among the new entries.
Julie Taymor's Frida Kahlo biopic, "Frida," was a big hit over the weekend, nabbing stellar numbers in its first weekend. The film, which stars Salma
Hayek, earned $205,996 on only five screens in New York and Los Angeles, for
an incredible $41,199 per screen average. The film is expected to expand to
the top 10 markets this coming weekend. On the other end of the spectrum,
Miramax opened "Waking Up in Reno." The film debuted silently with only
$108,930 on 197 screens, for a disastrous average of $553.
"Roger Dodger," the first feature film from Dylan Kidd, had a decent debut
for Artisan. The picture, which features Campbell Scott and newcomer Jesse Eisenberg, opened in four theaters in NYC and LA. It earned $47,431 for an
$11,858 per screen. It is set to expand to ten more markets this weekend.
"All or Nothing," Mike Leigh's latest film from United Artists, earned a slow $25,890 on 7 screens for a $3,699 average. UA is no doubt much happier with the performance of Michael Moore's "Bowling For Columbine," which continues to put up solid numbers. The doc earned nearly $1.1 million in 111 theaters for an average just shy of $10,000. It has a new cume of nearly $2.5 million
after three weekends.
Sony Pictures Classics' "Auto Focus" earned $168,330 on 38 screens in its
second weekend. The film had an average of $4,430 for a new total of $345,356.
"Real Women Have Curves," the first release from Newmarket and HBO Films, maintained a similar per screen this weekend in its expansion. The film
earned $366,011 on 108 screens for a fair $3,389 average and a new cume
of $618,892 after two weekends.
First Run Features continued its release of two politically-themed
documentaries. "Fidel" earned $9,497 on 2 screens in its second week for an
average $4,749 and a new cume of $39,732. "The Trials of Henry Kissinger"
earned $17,542 on four screens for a new cume of $136,648.
Due this weekend in theaters are Peter Mattei's "Love in the Time of Money" from ThinkFilm, the Sundance award winner "Daughter From Danang," Hilary Birmingham's "Tully," and "The Weight of Water" from Lions Gate. [Eugene Hernandez]