Drive-In Movies Kickoff; Party for an "Execution," Broadway Doc Legends Talk & More
by Wendy Mitchell, Brian Brooks, Brandon Judell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Heather Cochran has been named Academy Museum Coordinator for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She will coordinate planning and development for the proposed museum. Cochran is the author of the forthcoming novel "Mean Season" and the former director of development for Variety.com.
The National Film Board of Canada has hired Kim Ziervogel as its marketing manager-Western Centre, based in Edmonton. She is a writer and publicist who previously worked for the Canadian Press and founded the Aboriginal Journalists Association of Canada.
Bill Civitella (Kingdom Sound Studios, Persona Management) and Todd Ziele (NY Mets) have formed production company Green Diamond Entertainment. Dan Kaplow (Pariah Entertainment, HBO) has been named head of production and the company's first production is teen comedy "Dirty Deeds."
DRIVING IN: The crowds were lining up at Rockefeller Center several hours before InStyle and IFP kicked off their "Drive-In Movies" series with a free screening of "Garden State" on Tuesday night. The series, which ended last night, also showed "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Danny Deckchair." While the masses queued up around the block, the VIPs toasted the opening at a private reception at Morrells Wine Bar across the street. Among the revelers sipping wine and nibbling on baby quiches and fois gras on the sidewalk patio: "Napoleon Dynamite" director Jared Hess (enjoying his first visit to the Big Apple) and star Jon Heder, "Garden State" writer/director/star Zach Braff (with proud grandma in tow), "Garden State" actress Natalie Portman, Cinetic's John Sloss, actress Rosie Perez, InStyle magazine execs, IFP/New York executive director Michelle Byrd and other IFP staffers, "Garden State" producer Gary Gilbert, Miramax's Arianna Bocco, Agnes Mentre, and Erica Steinberg, United Artists' Mary Ann Hult, publicist Jeanne Berney and Newmarket Films' head Bob Berney, producer Susan Stover with very happy baby William, and Fox Searchlight's Juli-Anne Whitney and James Finn.
HEIR APPARENT: HBO held a screening of its latest documentary production "Heir to an Execution," on the 10th floor of the spanking new Time Warner Center on Tuesday evening. The film, which premiered earlier this year at Sundance, is an emotional account of the condemnation and subsequent executions of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, told through the point of view of Ivy Meeropol, the granddaughter of the couple convicted of passing atomic secrets to the Soviets in the early '50s. Relatives and friends of the Rosenbergs, including their son, Michael Meeropol (Ivy's father who was adopted after his parents' execution in 1953), attended the screening, along with dozens of other invited guests, who were treated to a buffet dinner at the Park Café in the building (overlooking Central Park). The very moving doc, executive produced by Sheila Nevins, premieres on HBO on Monday at 8 p.m. -- Brian Brooks
FLORIDA FILMS: Our pals down at the Enzian Theater in Orlando are honoring the Sunshine State's finest this weekend with the 13th-annual Brouhaha Film & Video Showcase. Six Florida colleges and universities are represented in the showcase's 34 films, which include docs, narratives, experimental, and animated films. Notable inclusions this year are the doc "Human Shield," about Floridians trying to protect Iraqi citizens, and "Filthy," a horror film about a reporter on Halloween. The program runs Saturday and Sunday, for more details visit www.enzian.org.
CROISETTE TO SUNSET: The IFP/LA has announced a new film showcase for this year's Los Angeles Film Festival. The Straight Out of Cannes section will highlight a Cannes film each year, and the 2004 selection is Jacob Estes' "Mean Creek" (which premiered at Sundance). The film is Estes' feature directorial debut (a Nicholl screenplay winner), a morality tale about a group of teenagers who confront a bully. Other Cannes flicks in the LAFF include "Dear Frankie," "Z Channel," and "Tarnation."
HAMPTONS SHORTS HONORS: The Academy has recognized the Hamptons International Film Festival as a qualifying event for Oscar shorts. Starting with October's festival, recipients of the Hamptons' Golden Starfish Award for best short will be eligible for Oscar consideration (provided the film complies with Academy rules).
"SHINER" DEAL: TLA Releasing has picked up the U.S. And Canadian home distribution rights to "Shiner," the feature film debut from Christian Calson. The film will come to home video in October 2004. The flick will have its world premiere at the 28th San Francisco Gay & Lesbian Film Festival. The film is said to be about two long time friends, tony and Danny, who taunt each other into sexually charged fistfights. Remember, the first rule of Fight Club...
BUZZ OVER BROADWAY: As it seldom does, the Great White Way met celluloid on Monday night at Sardi's on West 44th Street. Yes, after a screening (to benefit the National Hemophilia Foundation) of Rick McKay's acclaimed doc, "Broadway: The Golden Era," the stars just limousined over en masse for shrimp-on-a-stick and some spinach delicacies. Rex Reed, Michelle Lee, Laine Kazan, Eli Wallach, Anne Jackson, Sally Ann Howes, and Betsy Von Furstenberg were all there sauntering about. In fact, I lost my chair twice. Once to Kitty Carlisle-Hart and once to Fay Wray.
Also attending was the "Lord" helmer, Peter Jackson. Peter Jackson? "I'm doing a remake of 'King Kong,' which is set in the 1930s," he noted. "Even though Broadway doesn't feature hugely in King, it is still New York. It's that time period, and we got to Rick McKay through our research for Kong. So seeing his film tonight was a real treat." Is there a chance Jackson will consider helming a Broadway project in the future? "Don't know. Haven't thought about it actually," the Oscar winner responded. "I seem to just do one project at the time. We're starting shooting of 'Kong' in September so all of my attention is focused on that at the moment."
Also there was Dickie Moore, one of Hollywood's most beautiful child stars and the stud who gave Shirley Temple her first on-screen kiss. He gushed that "Broadway: The Golden Era" "is actually superb." Moore's wife, film legend Jane Powell, was there, too: "I just wish that I had been on Broadway. I was on the other coast. We have other stories, but the stories in this film are just really spectacular. I know a lot of the people featured but I don't know them the way the Broadway performers know each other. I wish I had had the camaraderie that they have here."
Celeste Holm added, "I could never have done movies if I hadn't done theater because theater taught me to know what the audience would respond. Only then could I do movies. Otherwise I would have been lost." As for her "All About Eve" being a true reflection of theatrical life: "It's pretty true. Pretty true."
Strutting gleefully through these legends with his mother on arm, McKay admitted: "There were a lot of dreams I had over the six years of making this film. The most important thing to me was making sure ["Broadway: The Golden Era]" got out there to the world. That audiences could watch it in a New York theater with a full house of people that were laughing and crying and talking. That was my goal. I had a lot of chances over the years to sell it to TV cheaply as a 44-minute piece. I refused, and now it's going to have its life in the theater where it can affect strangers." -- Brandon Judell