DAILY NEWS: Thai Films Sign Deals; Claire Denis' Pacts with Lot 47; "Trembling" Acquired; Coppola in Cannes
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> CANNES 2001: Miramax Grabs Sasanatieng's "Tears of the Black Tiger"
(indieWIRE/05.11.01) -- There's bound to be some celebrating tonight on the
Gray d'Albion Beach. A party for the midnight screening of Wisit
Sasanatieng's "Tears of the Black Tiger" will undoubtedly become an
opportunity to toast the film's deal with Miramax as the Indiewood studio
announced its acquisition of the Thai film yesterday, the day before the
movie's midnight Festival debut here at Cannes. Miramax has nabbed the
film's North American, Latin American, Scandinavian and South African
rights. In another Thai film deal announced yesterday (Thursday), First Look
has acquired "Bangkok Dangerous." (See separate story today in indieWIRE)
A first time feature from Sasanatieng, "Tiger" was described in a Miramax
announcement yesterday as an homage to the Thai Western genre. According to
the release, it "tells the story of a girl from the 'right side of the
tracks' who falls in love with one of the country's most feared bandits."
Notably, the 35mm film produced by Film Bangkok, was re-colorized in video
and transferred back to 35mm. Fortissimo Film Sales made the deal with
"This is our first deal with Miramax since Wong Kar-wai's 'Chungking
Express,' commented Wouter Barendrecht and Michael J. Werner, co-chairmen of Fortissimo. "It's clearly a sign of the coming of age in Thai cinema that
Miramax has embraced the energy and vision expressed in 'Tears of the Black
Tiger.'" [Eugene Hernandez]
>> CANNES 2001: Lot 47 Acquires New Claire Denis Film
(indieWIRE/05.11.01) -- Clair Denis' out of competition Cannes entry,
"Trouble Every Day," has been acquired by Lot 47, the company confirmed
yesterday. A part of the official selection of the Festival, the film
features Vincent Gallo, Tricia Vessey, Beatrice Dalle, Alex Descas, Florence Loiret-Caille, Nicolas Duvauchelle and Jose Garcia.
"We picked up the most explosive film of the festival," Lot 47 Co-President
Jeff Lipsky boasted last night (Thursday) in a conversation with indieWIRE.
"This is a complete departure for Claire Denis -- I don't think anyone
before her has approached human yearning and eroticism with as much candor
and assurance. She is a world class director." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> CANNES 2001: Coppola Returns to Cannes with "Apocalypse"; Discusses New Film, "Megalopolis"
(indieWIRE/05.11.01) -- With as much idealism as he must have had for
filmmaking in the late-70's, Francis Ford Coppola is back on the Rivera,
although more mature after creative and economic highs and lows over the
course of his career. The director returns with the same movie that brought
him here so many years ago. Two decades after it first played in Cannes as a
work-in-progress, Coppola's "Apocalypse Now" is back at the Festival
International du Film today.
"There was never the option to make as long and diverse a film as we will
see tomorrow night," Coppola told a standing room only crowd at the Variety
Pavilion yesterday, adding that the ending of the movie, "seems more clear
and more satisfying."
This is a big year at Cannes for Coppola and his American Zoetrope. Among
other films (including Hal Hartley's "No Such Thing"), the director's son
Roman is here with "CQ" -- described as "a neo-modernist look at the frivolity of the filmmaking process set against 1960's Paris," the younger Coppola's
film is in fact the story of his Father. The elder Coppola reflected on the
film and told the crowd yesterday, "Its very personal for me."
An inspiring and sometimes perplexing figure, Francis Ford Coppola exhibited
the same excitement about the movies yesterday that he offered more than a
decade ago when he hailed the future impact of technology on filmmaking. In
fact, the director's next movie -- perhaps his most ambitious in a career
already marked by numerous risky pictures -- will only be possible with the
use of new moviemaking technologies. Coppola, a director who has used his
interests in wine and food to finance his San Francisco-based production
company, is working on a film that he will only talk about in broad strokes,
Calling the film "a very odd movie" that will be bigger than "Apocalypse
Now," Coppola is determined to keep his highly personal project a secret
while at the same time drumming up interest in the movie. "Megalopolis" is
set in New York City and expected to begin principal photography at the
end of the year. At its core is the story of a man who wants to create a
utopia. The ensemble film will explore the director's own concerns about
the fate of our corporate-driven society, tackling the potential
collaborations between the artist and the scientist as a path towards
making the future better.
Adding that his new film will be a "vastly huge, enormous production" -- one
that he expects to make independent of the studios -- Coppola told the
audience that he has been consulting his friend George Lucas about how new
technologies can be used in the creation of his own film. Because of the
big budget, Coppola stated, "The only way to do it is to make use of
Coppola offered that once he schedules the shooting of his opus, "Megalopolis,"
he will try his hand at a London production of his musical version of "Gidget."
>> New Yorker Films Takes on "Trembling Before G-d"
(indieWIRE/ 05.11.01) -- U.S. rights to Sandi Simcha DuBowski's award-
winning feature documentary, "Trembling Before G-d" have been acquired
by New Yorker Films, the company President Dan Talbot announced yesterday. The provocative film explores the personal stories of Hasidic and Orthodox
Jews who are gay or lesbian conflicted by their devotion to religion and
their homosexuality. DuBowski shot the film during a five year period in
Brooklyn, Jerusalem, L.A., London, Miami, and San Francisco uncovering a
delicate and rarely exposed issue.
"Trembling" has been a favorite of the festival circuit since its premiere
at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival. Also, it received the prestigious Teddy
Award for Best Documentary at the 2001 Berlin International Film Festival,
where it screened in the International Forum for New Cinema. During Sundance,
DuBowski along with Rabbi Steve Greenberg, the first openly gay Orthodox
rabbi, hosted an emotional meeting between gay Mormons and Jews that left
many participants in tears.
"'Trembling Before G-d' is an extremely challenging film that took six years
to birth and I am thrilled to have it in the firm hands of New Yorker, a
legendary distributor whose commitment to the best of foreign cinema and
films that matter is unparalleled," commented DuBowski in a prepared
The film will screen this later this year at festivals in Jerusalem, Karlovy Vary, Pusan and Melbourne and has been invited to be the closing night film at the 2001 Human Rights Watch Film Festival in June. Release of the film is scheduled for October 2001 in New York and Los Angeles with further cities added in the weeks to follow.
>> Another Thai Deal: "Bangkok Dangerous" Goes to First Look
(indieWIRE/05.11.01) -- First Look Media has announced the acquisition of
all US rights to Oxide and Danny Pang's Thai film, "Bangkok Dangerous." First Look Pictures will release the movie this Fall, according to an
"Bangkok," directed by the twin Pang Brothers, had its world premiere in
Toronto last fall. The film was sold by Fortissimo, the sales group that
also sold the Thai film, "Tears of the Black Tiger" to Miramax.
"Bangkok Dangerous is a fast-paced, richly textured action film in the
tradition of John Woo," commented First Look President MJ Peckos in a
prepared statement yesterday. "The Pang brothers have combined their skills
to bring to the screen a very exciting, beautifully crafted piece of
filmmaking that explores all sides of Bangkok life." [Eugene Hernandez]