DAILY NEWS: Universal's New Specialty Division; Hampton's Lineup
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> Universal Launches Specialty Division; Movies to Be Released Through USA Films
Universal Pictures has announced the formation of what is being described as
an "in-house specialty division." Interestingly the new IndieWood unit, to
be headed by Claudia Gray and Paul Hardart, will be distributing movies
through USA Films, the company created when October Films, Gramercy Pictures
and Polygram assets were combined after Universal sold them to Barry
Diller's USA Networks. Universal Studios owns 45% of USA Films.
Universal Co-Chairmen Brian Mulligan and Stacey Snider announced the new
division this week, naming Gray as executive vice president and Hardart
as senior vice president. Gray is the former executive vice president
of publicity at Gramercy and Hardart was the vice president of
strategic planning at Universal Pictures.
"As a complement to the slate of broad-based feature films distributed
by Universal Pictures," explained Mulligan, "An in-house specialty film
division enables us to fully leverage the diversity of our portfolio,
and increase our flexibility to maximize results."
According to a company announcement the new division will handle
niche productions and acquisitions from Universal Pictures International,
domestic movies, Working Title projects, and classic re-releases.
Upcoming releases are Ted Field's "Pitch Black," Ang Lee's "Ride with the
Devil," Spike Jonze' "Being John Malkovich," Ridley Scott's "Where the Money
Is," and the upcoming "Plunkett & MacLeane," directed by Ridley's son, Jake.
Also on the upcoming slate is a newly-restored version of Alfred Hitchcock's
>> 7th Hamptons Fest to Open with Lurie's "Deterrence"
Rod Lurie's "Deterrence" will open the 1999 Hampton's International Film
Festival (HIFF) on October 20th, while Wes Craven's "Music of the Heart"
will close the fest fours days later. This year the event boasts ten
world premieres among its lineup of over 100 movies. Jeanne Moreau will
be honored with the 1999 HIFF Tribute to Independent Vision and the
spotlight films are Adrienne Shelly's "I'll Take You There", Luis
Galvao Teles' "Women/Elles" and Gavin O'Connor's "Tumbleweeds."
Of note each year is the annual American Independent Showcase with films
competing for the Golden Starfish Award. Features this year are: Kieran
Turner's "24 nights", John-Luke Montias' "Bobby G Can't Swim," Paul
Todisco's "Freak Talks About Sex", Chris Livingstone's "Hit and Runaway",
Hopwood Depree's "Last Big Attraction", Greg Lachow's "Money Buys
Happiness", Ciao Ribeiro's "Sometime in August", Rino Liberatore and
Ron Lazzeretti's "Opera Lovers", and Brien Burroughs' "Suckerfish".
This year the Golden Starfish prize offers $165,000 of in-kind donations
for the winner's next movie.
Competitors for the Golden Starfish documentary prize are Joseph Lovett's
"The Accident", Doug Lindeman's "Angel's Ladies", Ruby Yang's "Citizen
Hong Kong", Milton Moses Ginsberg's "City Below the Line", Suzie Korda's
"One of Us", Jonathan Berman's "My Friend Paul" and Owsley Brown's
"Night Waltz: The Music of Paul Bowles", and Kieko Ibi's "The Personals".