DAILY NEWS: Winstar's Buys French Films; Paramount Takes "Assassins" and AFI Award and the BIFA's
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> Winstar Confirms Deals for French Films by Ozon and Birot
(indieWIRE/ 10.30.00) -- Winstar Cinema's Senior VP of Acquisitions Krysanne
Katsoolis confirmed Friday that the company has acquired two new French
films, Francois Ozon's "Under the Sand" (Sous Le Sable) and Anne-Sophie Birot's "Girls Can't Swim."
Katsoolis indicated that she and colleague Marie Therese Guirgis first
screened the films at last month's Toronto International Film Festival and
they made the deal as part of a three picture pact with the French sales
company Celluloid Dreams. The deal included the previously announced rights
to Jafir Panahi's "The Circle."
Ozon's "Under the Sand" stars Charlotte Rampling and Bruno Cremer. The
filmmaker is known in this country for "Sitcom," "Criminal Lovers," "Water Drops on Burning Rocks" and "See The Sea." It is set to be released
theatrically in April of next year. Ann Sophie-Birot's "Girl's Can't Swim"
(Les Filles ne savent pas nager), her first feature, stars Islid Le Besco
("Sade") in a story of two girls -- best friends -- who are struggling with
their own sexuality and their relationship with each other.
>>Paramount Nabs Schroeder's "Assassins"
(indieWIRE/ 10.30.00) -- Paramount Classics has acquired the rights to
Barbet Schroeder's "Our Lady of the Assassins" (La Virgen de los Sicarios)
according to ScreenDaily. The gay-themed film screened this Fall at both
the Telluride and Venice Film Festivals.
In a report from the Venice festival last month, where it won the Golden
Medal of the Italian Senate prize, indieWIRE reporter Andrea Meyer called the movie disappointing. Reacting to the movie in her article, Meyer wrote,
"[Schroeder's] latest effort brings amateurish acting, bloated
sentimentality, and trite dialogue to the contrived tale of a gay writer in
love with an angelic sixteen-year old hoodlum in Colombia. In what is no
doubt an attempt to crack open a society that kills without conscience,
Schroeder instead comes across as a guy who knows as much about
homosexuality, teenagers and gang violence as he does about Martians."
>>AFI Fest Closes with Awards; Makhmalbaf Wins Top Prize
(indieWIRE/ 10.30.00) -- The AFI Fest closed last week with the announcement
of the award winners for its 14th Festival. Samira Makhmalbaf's
"Blackboards" won the event's Grand Jury Prize in the Festival's
International Competition, while Kenneth Lonergan's "You Can Count On Me" won the top prize in the New Directions from American Independents section.
In the Discovery Documentary Competition, Arlene Donnelly's "Naked States" was the winner.
In the audience categories, Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu's "Amores Perros"
(Love's A Bitch) won the feature film prize, while Jilann Spitzmiller and
Hank Rogerson's "Homeland" won the doc award and Oliver Dieckmann's "Ordinary Love" won the short prize. [Eugene Hernandez]
>>"Billy Elliot" Big at BIFA's
(indieWIRE/ 10.30.00) -- "Billy Elliot" was a big winner at last week's
British Independent Film Awards, taking the awards for best film, best
director for Stephen Daldry, best newcomer for actor Jamie Bell and best
screenplay for writer Lee Hall.
The BIFA's were established three years ago to, in the words of organizers,
"recognise the growing stature of the British Independent Film Industry both
in the UK and worldwide." [Eugene Hernandez]