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August 6, 2002 2:00 AM
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DAILY NEWS: The Weekend Box Office; Palms Springs Fest News and Belladona in Production

DAILY NEWS: The Weekend Box Office; Palms Springs Fest News and Belladona in Production



by Eugene Hernandez, Brian Brooks and Wendy Mitchell/indieWIRE



>> Soderbergh Stumbles at the Box Office, Evans Still Strong

(indieWIRE: 08.06.02) -- Among the new limited release entries at the box
office this weekend was Steven Soderbergh's mostly DV experiment, "Full
Frontal
." The Miramax film, which opened in 208 theaters, was clearly a
disappointment, receiving mixed reviews and less than stellar box-office
numbers. The picture earned $739,834 on 208 screens for a weak $3,557
per-screen opening weekend. Depsite the low figures though, a Variety
story pegged foreign sales for the star-studded, lower-budget film at
about $7 million. Meanwhile, Mirmax's other DV entry, "Tadpole," earned
$193,723 on 47 screens, for a $4,122 average and new total of $721,705.


Focus Features (formerly USA Films) continued to shine this weekend with
its release of "The Kid Stays in the Picture." The doc about producer Robert
Evans
earned $71,401 on five screens in New York and Southern California
for an average of $14,280 and a new cume of $220,937. The film is expected
to expand to 50 screens this weekend.


Palm Pictures and Magic Lamp Releasing continue to push their release of
Julio Medem's "Sex and Lucia." The Spanish film earned $91,713 in week four on 23 screens, for a per screen just under $4,000 and a new total of
$381,958. Among other foreign-language entries, Magnolia earned $123,851
with "Read My Lips" on 36 screens for a new total of $540,530, while its
release of "Late Marriage" became the highest-grossing Israeli film ever
released in the U.S. The picture has reached a new cume of $1,259,436. "The
Fast Runner
" (Atanarjuat) earned $136,722 on 56 screens; it now has a North
American cume of more than $2.5 million. Meanwhile at Sony Classics, "Happy
Times
" earned $27,689 on 9 screens in its second week for a new total of
$73,967 (and a per-screen just over $3,000), while "My Wife is An Actress"
earned $111,780 on 33 screens in its fourth week for a new total of
$395,267. Strand Releasing's "Lan Yu" earned $8,519 on two screens, for
a new total of $51,922.


Of note on the foreign-language front is Cowboy Pictures' "Kurosawa &
Mifune
" retrospective; this weekend's showings of "Stray Dog" earned $14,664
at Film Forum in Manhattan for a new total of $47,959 for the series.
According to Cowboy's John Vanco, the retrospective will hit major markets
over the next nine months. This coming weekend will take it to Washington,
D.C. Medium-sized and smaller markets will get "Seven Samurai" rather than
the entire retrospective, Vanco says.


Finally, IFC Films continued to ride the success of Gold Circle Films &
Playtone's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding." Even though IFC Films' SVP of
marketing and distribution Bob Berney is heading off to launch Newmarket's new distribution company, the outfit is going strong with its release of
"Greek Wedding." The film topped $40 million this weekend, earning $3
million on 657 screens for an average per-screen of $4,570. It continues
to expand to more screens, with additional venues due this weekend, putting
the film at the 700+ screen mark.


Among the indie and specialty films on tap this week are a host of new
films. Due out are Miguel Arteta's "The Good Girl" from Fox Searchlight, Michael Winterbottom's "24 Hour Party People" from United Artists, "The Chateau" from IFC Films, Babak Payami's "Secret Ballot" from Sony Pictures Classics, and a re-release of Jean Cocteau's classic, "Beauty and the Beast," from Cowboy Pictures. Others on tap include Takashi Miike's "The City of Lost Souls," and Asia Argento's "Scarlet Diva." [Eugene Hernandez]


>> Levine Named CEO At Palm Springs Fest; Shorts Fest Line-Up And New Award Announced

(indieWIRE: 08.06.02) -- The organization that produces the annual Palm
Springs International Film Festival
has named a new executive director. Mitch
Levine
, a recipient of the silver prize at the 2000 Palm Springs International
Film Festival, will become the executive director and CEO of the organization.
Levine recently served as production director for both the IFP/West Los Angeles
Film Festival
and the AFI International Film Festival. Additionally, he has held posts at the Los Angeles Directors Project and the Geneva Performing Arts Festival and has worked as a special representative to the United Nations.


Levine's new role includes oversight of the institutional and creative
development of the organization and he will spearhead the roster selection
and scheduling for the international fest and the Palm Springs International
Festival of Short Films
.


"It is a tremendous honor to continue the tradition begun by Palm Springs
Mayor Bono in 1990," said Levine in a release. "My hope is to explore the
art of cinema in a dynamic, exciting and engaging way for audiences that
love great international and American films and for members of the
entertainment industry who seek a place where their work and their art are
discovered, nurtured and appreciated."


In other news from Palm Springs, the schedule was released for the shorts
fest running August 6 to 12, featuring about 290 films including 44 U.S.
premieres, 69 world premieres, and 16 North American premieres. The films
will be organized into 90-minute themed programs that present a broad spectrum
of issues. Celebs featured in some of the work include Ellen Degeneres, Megan
Mullaly
, and Lily Tomlin in "Lesbian Fashion?," a self-described "dyke-
umentary." Others include Josh Hartnett ("Member") and Mary-Louise Parker ("The Quality of Mercy"). The fest will screen eight award-winning live action and animated entries from Canada, England, and the U.S. on opening night
including "For the Birds," which won an Oscar for best animation, as well as
Canadian Genie Award recipient "The Heart of the World."


Also, the festival and Eastman Kodak have teamed to create the new Kodak Award
for Best Student Cinematography. The recipient will attend the 2003 Cannes
International Film Festival
to showcase a clip of their film as part of the
Kodak Student Filmmaker Program. Entries will be judged on such criteria as
unique use of the camera and lighting, creative use of lighting techniques,
how well the camera is used to tell the story, and frame composition. The
shorts fest, an Academy-qualifying festival, will disperse $38,500 in prizes
this year.


The Nortel Networks Palm Springs International Film Festival, which
typically screens the majority of the official foreign-language submissions
for Academy Award for best foreign-language film, will hold its 14th event
on January 9 - 20, 2003. [Brian Brooks]

>> Belladonna, Buschel Start Photography on Prep School Drama


(indieWIRE: 08.06.02) -- Writer-director Noah Buschel started principal
photography yesterday on "Bringing Rain," a dramatic feature about an East
Coast boarding school. Producers of the film are independent producer Dan
O'Meara
along with Linda Moran and Rene Bastian of Belladonna Productions, the same company that produced the lauded 2001 feature "L.I.E."


"Bringing Rain" explores the aftermath of an accident at a prep school, and
it stars Adrian Grenier, Noah Fleiss, Larisa Oleynik, Paz De La Huerta, Meritt Wever, Ray Santiago, Alexis Dziena, Niesha Butler, Natalie Paulding, Olek Krupa, Rodrigo Lopresti, and Ryan Donowho. The film continues shooting
throughout August at locations in New York and New Jersey.


"Bringing Rain" marks the feature directorial debut for Buschel, who
previously made the short film "The Living and the Dead."


Belladonna's Moran and Bastian claimed the Motorola Producers of the Year
award at the IFP Spirit Awards for Michael Cuesta's feature debut "L.I.E."
They also recently produced Larry Blume's "Martin & Orloff." This is the
first feature produced by O'Meara, formerly of entertainment law firm
Rudolph & Beer and Sony Pictures Classics. [Wendy Mitchell]

>> MONDAY IN indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: 2002 No Borders Slate; and Walsh's "Pipe Dream" Acquired


(indieWIRE: 08.05.02) -- Thirty-six projects are set for the No Borders
International Co-Production Market at this Fall's IFP Market taking place
Sept. 27 - Oct. 4. And, Castle Hill Productions has acquired domestic
theatrical rights to John C. Walsh's "Pipe Dream."


READ THE FULL STORIES @ indieWIRE.com

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