DAILY NEWS: Urman Stays in NYC, Leaves Lions Gate; Slamdance in Germany; and Uma's Gotham
by Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE
>> Lions Gate Loses Urman to NYC
(indieWIRE/07.03.01) -- Mark Urman, once co-president of Lions Gate Films Releasing, has exited the company to pursue other film-related activities in
New York. "A lot of it had to do with the geography," Urman told indieWIRE
yesterday, regarding his decision to leave Lions Gate where he worked since
1998. "The company had become West Coast based," explained Urman, "and I am
an East Coast kind of guy."
In February of this year, Lions Gate closed its New York offices, relocating
much of its staff to Los Angeles, except for Urman, who remained in
Manhattan. Shortly thereafter, Urman was given a new title, President of
Feature Projects for Lions Gate Films Releasing, while co-president Tom
Ortenberg took the top spot in LA.
"I have functioned in the film business for 28 years in New York," continued
Urman. "I saw no reason to consider changing that. I have roots here, a
family here, a home, and I feel like I'm a member of a genuine film
community here." During his tenure at Lions Gate, Urman oversaw the
development and distribution of such films as "American Psycho" and "Jesus'
Son," as well as rescuing such Miramax cast-offs as "Dogma," "The Golden Bowl," and the upcoming "O" for release. Before Lions Gate, Urman worked in PR, heading up the domestic division of DDA and serving as VP of East Coast publicity at Columbia Pictures.
As for Lions Gate's recent LA move, and what it means for the direction of
the company, Urman offered, "The company will continue to be a stand alone
mini-major and the sorts of films are going to be more mainstream and
commercial. That's inescapable with the company's current growth under its
present management." Urman explained that his departure was not a result of
the change, however. "It's not that I don't want to be associated with
that," he explained. "It's just that they're there, and I'm here."
"There's no bitterness," he maintained. "They were extraordinarily patient
with me, and gave me marvelous opportunities. It was the best chapter in my
career." Urman just completed overseeing production on "Monster's Ball" for
the company, directed by Marc Forster and starring Billy Bob Thornton -- an experience he cites as a "true fulfillment of what my agenda at Lions Gate
had become, to use my tastes and ideas to help make a movie."
Urman would not confirm his current plans, but indicated that he would
continue to stay in the independent film world in New York City, and
hopefully, he suggested, "continue to stay below 14th Street."
>> Slamdance Goes to Germany
(indieWIRE/07.10.01) -- Slamdance Entertainment, founders of the annual
Slamdance Film Festival in Park City, UT, have established a new festival in
Germany, "designed to extend the Slamdance label internationally," according
to a statement released by the festival yesterday.
The new fest will take place in Cologne, Germany on August 18, to coincide
with Popkomm, a major annual music festival in the European city. Unlike the
company's Slamdance On the Road event in Cannes, where American films are
brought to Europe, the Popkomm event will be exclusively devoted to
screening new films from Germany and throughout Europe.
"It is time to think globally and bridge European filmmaking talent with
America," commented Slamdance Entertainment Co-CEO Peter Baxter. "We know
our introductory event with Popkomm is a great way to kick off." The
festival is looking for German-produced entries by new filmmakers in all
subject matter. Entry deadline is Friday, July 20. [Anthony Kaufman]
[For more information, call Slamdance Entertainment at 310.395.1332.]
>> Uma Meet IFP, IFP meet Uma
(indieWIRE/07.10.01) -- Uma Thurman will receive a special acting award at
the IFP Gotham Awards, the filmmaking organization's annual fundraising
event. On Oct 1st, Thurman will join other acting award recipients Robert De
Niro (Lifetime Achievement Award) and Yolonda Ross (Breakthrough Actor).
Past recipients of the award, which honors a New York actor who has made
significant contributions to the NY film community, have included Frances
McDormand, Kevin Kline, and Christopher Walken. Thurman's upcoming indie releases include Richard Linklater's eviscerating DV three-hander "Tape," and hubby Ethan Hawke's recent Cannes Directors Fortnight entry, "Chelsea Walls." [Anthony Kaufman]