DAILY NEWS: Winners from CineVegas and Florida, a Report from Lake Placid and Kevin Smith, Internet Mogul
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> Critics, Audience Chime In at Cinevegas
(indieWIRE: 6.18.02) -- Peter Masterson's "West of Here," Joey Garfield and Jacob Craycroft's"Breath Control: History of the Human Beat Box," and Christopher Scott Cherot's "G" were among the winners at this year's
CineVegas film festival. The nine-day event, programmed this year by
Sundance veteran Trevor Groth, wrapped Saturday.
"Breath Control," a documentary, and "West of Here", a relationship drama
starring Josh Hamilton, Norbert Leo Butz, and Mary Stuart Masterson, took home audience awards, while "G" won the critics prize. Directing honors went
to Bertha Bay-Sa Pan for "Face," and Wendall Adams' "Draftdodging," received an honorable mention. Jury members included Premiere magazine's Anne Thompson, Ain't it Cool News' Harry Knowles, and Emanuel Levy, two-time president of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association. [Matthew Ross]
>> "Tattoo: A Love Story," "Refrigerator Mothers" Claim Prizes At Florida Fest
(indieWIRE: 6.18.02) -- Richard Bean's "Tattoo: A Love Story" was the big
winner at the 2002 Florida Film Festival, which ran June 7-16 in Orlando.
"Tattoo," about the unlikely romance between an uptight schoolteacher and a
biker/tattoo artist, won the grand jury prize as well as the audience award
for best narrative feature. David E. Simpson's "Refrigerator Mothers," about women who were blamed for their children's autism, won the grand jury prize
for best documentary. The audience award for docs went to Johnny Symons'
"Daddy & Papa," about gay couples who adopt.
The jury recognized Dayyan Eng's "Bus 44" as best narrative short, and
Robert A. Nakamura's "Toyo Miyatake: Infinite Shades of Gray" as best
The festival also has a special award, the Florida Forever Filmmaker award,
for "the competition filmmaker whose work best represents deep insight into
the human condition." Alice Elliott, director of "The Collector of Bedford
Street," claimed that prize this year, and her name is honored on the grant
of a 10-acre conservation easement to the State of Florida. "The Collector
of Bedford Street," about a New York community that rallies around a
mentally retarded charity fundraiser, also won the audience award for best
The juries' special prizes went to Eric Byler's "Charlotte Sometimes"
(narrative filmmaking), Kevin Fitzgerald's "Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme"
(documentary filmmaking), J.T. Walker's "Passengers" and Francesca Galesi's "Boris" (live action shorts), Jessica Sances' "Hiccup 101" (student film). Audience awards for best international feature and best international short
will be announced later today. [Wendy Mitchell]
>> ON THE SCENE: Debating "Independent" and Considering the Film Critic, Snapshots from Lake Placid's Third Film Forum
(indieWIRE: 06.18.02) -- The Lake Placid Film Forum, which ran June 5 - 9,
touts itself as an intimate setting for filmmakers and film lovers... and
quite honestly, it is. Sure, there are many great festivals taking place in
June in nearby Newport, RI, as well as Nantucket and Provincetown, but the "Forum," as this event refers to itself, has carved a niche emphasizing its
often lively and sometimes heated discussion forums.
The local Palace Theater on Main Street saw long queues of people snapping
up tickets to screenings of many films from the June festivals circuit last
weekend, including Zacharias Kunuk's "Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner." Lake
Placid audiences took to the Inuit feature that recalls an ancient story of
indigenous people in the Canadian Arctic giving it the "Silver Deer" award
(the audience choice award) for best feature. Honorable mention went to
ThinkFilm's delightful "The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys" by Peter Care, which left the audience engaged in rapturous applause. Forum-goers strolling
through the village to various screenings and forums also heaped accolades
on Dierdre Lynch's "Photos to Send" which took best documentary, while best short film went to "In God We Trust" by Jason Reitman.
A younger crowd of festgoers traversed Lake Placid this year as the Forum
reached out to lure college students to the event. Naj Wikoff, executive
director and founder of LPFF, said the Forum marketed itself to colleges in
the region, a demographic undoubtedly attracted in part to the event's
master classes with a dozen people learning about the art of film.
Instructors included the likes of "Hedwig" writer/director/star John Cameron
Mitchell (screenwriting); "Monsoon Wedding" director Mira Nair (directing narratives); "Requiem for a Dream" producer Ben Barenholtz and "Pumpkin" producer Linda Reisman (producing); Tony Shalhoub ("The Man Who Wasn't There"), Campbell Scott ("Roger Dodger") and James Tolkan ("Wings"), who taught acting. Event co-founder Kathleen Carroll, in a conversation with indieWIRE, called the master classes their "lock, stock and trade" and said the fest plans to increase their number in future years.
Lake Placid's signature forums provided a lively outlet for anyone trying
to escape the serenity of the pristine lakes and beautiful Adirondacks with
topical discussions ranging from comic books and films, comedy as a means of
social commentary and the global impact of Hollywood. The New York Times'
Elvis Mitchell, Rex Reed (The New York Observer), Jack
Garner (Gannett), Karen Durbin (Elle), Thelma Adams (US Weekly) and indieWIRE's Eugene Hernandez turned out one afternoon for the critics' forum. Virtually everyone on the panel touted the flexibility they enjoyed in championing what they wished. "The key is to stick around long enough
[so] that they won't tell you what to do," Reed said. This prompted an
audience member to ask the panel if they felt a sense of responsibility to
find films that are below the radar of even the established "American
independent scene." Mitchell, a regular at LPFF and other events, said he
attends film festivals as much as possible to find those films, but Reed
acknowledged at some point that editors would probably question how much
promotion of more obscure work should be allowed.
Saturday afternoon's forum, Staying Independent in an AOL/Time Warner
McWorld, moderated by Ira Deutchman, president and CEO of Emerging Pictures, included producers Ruth Charney and Ray Silver. The show, however, belonged to Troma co-founder and president Lloyd Kaufman, who unleashed a blistering attack against "devil worshipping conglomerates" and termed "independent" to mean "vassal of giant homogenizing" corporations. He rallied the audience to destroy "Ao-hell Slime-Warner," saying Marie Antoinette was "an amateur compared to the conglomerates who spend millions of dollars on marketing
Even Ira Deutchman seemed to concur to some degree, saying "old fashioned
showmanship has disappeared" and that "an amazing amount of laziness
exists among the distributors." Silver attempted to bring a reality check
to the discussion by acknowledging the flaws that exist but provided advice
to filmmakers who must contend with today's reality. Kaufman, however,
flat-out countered on several occasions saying, "I don't live on credit
cards, but I sleep on the floor, eat cheese sandwiches three times per day
and I've been making films for 30 years and you can to, but you have to live
the Troma way." At one point, Sony Pictures Classics co-president Michael
Barker, sitting in the audience, engaged Kaufman in a heated exchange asking
about the the quality of such films and quipped, "once Vivendi and the
conglomerates are gone, are we left with a slate of Troma films?"
Still, the friendly and the mellow ruled LPFF. Forum guest of honor and
two-time Oscar nominee John Sayles seemed to wear the same short shorts and shirt throughout the four-day event, even departing an afternoon cocktail
party in his honor for the screening of his latest film, "Sunshine State"
with the tranquility and informality that is rare in the festival scene. "We
don't have an image of being stodgy and remote," said Carroll. "We're very
pleased and delighted with the way it worked." [Brian Brooks]
>> Kevin Smith Launches Entertainment News Site Movie Poop Shoot
(indieWIRE: 06.18.02) -- Writer/director Kevin Smith is staking his claim in
the entertainment news business, launching the new site, Movie Poop
Shoot.com (www.moviepoopshoot.com). The site, named after the fictitious
site that jumpstarts Smith's recent Jay and Silent Bob movie ("Jay and
Silent Bob Strike Back"), debuted yesterday.
Movie Poop Shoot.com offers daily news covering the movie, comic book, TV,
and music worlds, with other features and columns as well.
"I'm excited that I won't have to check out 10 different websites for the
stuff I'm curious about any longer," Smith told indieWIRE by email, when
asked about his reasons for funding the venture. "We'll have it all under
one roof with Poop Shoot."
"The goal is just to offer a fun, sometimes irreverent and sometimes serious
look at the great beast Pop Culture," offered site editor-in-chief Chris
Ryall in an email conversation with indieWIRE. "So we'll do our best to
provide real news next to inside information next to reviews and unique ways
of presenting the material that infiltrates everyone's head every day.
Something like that."
Continuing in his email to indieWIRE, Smith added, "We're not trying to
re-invent the wheel with Poop Shoot (and honestly, with a moniker like
that, how could we?); we just want to add another spoke." [Eugene