Film Arts' New Grant; GFI Grants; Allison Anders' Second Rock Fest & More
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Fidelman McGinn has been appointed the new executive director of the Film Arts Foundation in San Francisco. She is formerly the executive director of 911 Media Arts in Seattle and also serves as president of the board of the National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture. She replaces Gail Silva, who continues as Film Arts' president. McGinn will relocate to San Francisco in June.
Former film festival directors Jon Fitzgerald and Mitch Levine have launched Festival Consulting Group, which will help film festivals with sponsorship, strategic planning, production services and other needs. Former Warner Bros. acquisitions executive John Halecky and marketing/fundraising veteran Cindy Green will also join the company. Levine, also a film director, is the former executive director and CEO of the Palm Springs International Film Festivals; he continues to serve as production director of the IFP/Los Angeles Film Festival. Fitzgerald was previously the executive director of the Santa Barbara International Film Festival and VP of programming at IFILM as well as festival director for AFI and the executive director of the Slamdance Film Festival. He will continue to oversee Right Angle Studios.
The Whistler Film Festival in British Columbia has added six new board members: filmmaker Carl Bessai, John Rae of the Resort Municipality of Whistler, 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games organizing committee member Maureen Douglas, producer and director Morgan Gabereau of Tenare Pictures & Communications, Sacha McLean of Vancouver Film Studios, and producer Shawn Williamson of Brightlight Pictures.
Halle Berry and Samuel L. Jackson have been named the honorary co-chairs of the 2004 Los Angeles Film Festival. Also, musician and filmmaker Neil Young will be this year's artist in residence.
STILL ROCKING: The Don't Knock the Rock Film and Music Festival is poised to take Hollywood by storm for its second installment from August 12-15, and indieWIRE will be there to report on all the mayhem. At an intimate gathering at Bug Music last week, festival founder Allison Anders ("Gas Food Lodging," "Things Behind the Sun") hosted a laid-back evening that felt more like a house party with close friends than a Hollywood media event -- proving that the rock 'n roll spirit still thrives in a town which has become increasingly obsessed with vacuous celebrity. Anders, who told us she reads indieWIRE religiously, was clearly excited about the budding festival -- as were her partners-in-crime, including daughter Tiffany Anders (the fest's music director) and Gianna Chachere, also known for her great work at Slamdance.
Held at the luxurious ArcLight Cinema, the neighboring Amoeba Music, and the Knitting Factory, this year's DKTR events promise to live up to last year's legendary fare, which included the L.A. premiere of "MC5: A True Testimonial," as well as a closing night performance at the El Rey theater by Sonic Youth. For the first time this year, the festival has a call for entries for short rock-n-roll films (narrative and doc) and a section called "in your garage," for "lost" footage of garage bands dating back to the '60s and '70s. The early submission deadline is June 1, with a late deadline of July 1. For more information on the fest or an entry form, visit: www.dontknocktherock.com.
GLOBAL GRANTS: U.S.-based charitable foundation The Global Film Initiative has announced the latest award recipients of its completion-fund grants. These six features, all from the developing world, will receive $10,000 each. They are Manuel Niero Zas' "The Dog Pound" from Uruguay, about a young man building a house in a small beach town; Albertina Carri's "Gemini," about a brother and sister having an affair; Diao Yinan's "Night Train" (China), about a prison executioner who finds the wrong match at a matchmaking agency; Francisca Schweitzer and Pablo Solis' "Parenthesis" (Chile), Ana Poliak's "Pin Boy" (Argentina), about a country boy working in a Buenos Aires bowling alley; and Diao Yinan's "Uniform" (China), about a man and his girlfriend, whose lives are altered.
STUDENT OSCAR WINNERS: The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences have announced the winners of the 31st-annual student Oscars. Thirteen students from nine schools were chosen for the awards; they will learn at a June 13 awards ceremony which prize level they won -- gold ($5,000), silver ($3,000), or bronze medals ($2,000). Winners in each category (in alphabetical order) are ALTERNATIVE: "Focus," Bill Ridlehoover and Nilanjan Lahiri, Savannah College of Art and Design; and "S.P.I.C.: The Storyboard of My Life," Robert Castillo, School of Visual Arts. ANIMATION: "Lemmings," Craig Van Dyke, Brigham Young University; "Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher," Alexander Woo, New York University; and "Rock the World," Sukwon Shin, School of Visual Arts. DOCUMENTARY: "Cheerleader," Kimberlee Bassford, University of California, Berkeley; "Cuba: Illogical Temple," David Pittock and Lindsey Kealy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln; and "When the Storm Came," Shilpi Gupta, University of California, Berkeley. NARRATIVE: "A-Alike," Randall Dottin, Columbia University; "The Plunge," Todd Schulman, Florida State University; "Zeke," and Dana Buning, Florida State University. The honorary foreign student film award goes to "Between Us," Laurits Munch-Petersen, National Film School of Denmark.
RUN FOR RIGHTS: First Run Features and Human Rights Watch are now collaborating to release films about human rights issues. The first film with a joint effort is "S21: The Khmer Rouge Killing Machine," which opened Wednesday at New York's Film Forum. The companies will work together on "S21" and other future films to attract media attention through joint marketing and ad campaigns, as well as First Run's new DVD series, "Human Rights Watch Selects."
SHORT FILM PRIZES: The Worldwide Short Film Festival, in Toronto, recently wrapped this year's event with several prizewinners. Chris Landreth's "Ryan," currently showing in Cannes, won the Sun Life Financial award for best Canadian short, which comes with a lucrative cash prize of $25,000. The Kodak award for best cinematography in a Canadian short went to Nicolas Roy for "LEO." That category's honorable mention winner was "Hardwood," which won the prize for best doc short. The C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures Award for best animated short went to Adam Elliot for his Oscar-winning "Harvie Krumpet." Honorable mention went to Isabelle Favez for "Circuit Marine." Best live-action short was Andrea Arnold's "WASP," while best experimental short was Nicholas and Sheila Pye's "Paper Wall." The honorable mention in that category went to Gerard Howland's "Trust -- A Five Minute Requiem for the 20th Century" and Daniel Askill's "We Have Decided Not to Die." The screenplay prize, with more than $30,000 in goods and services,went to Teresa M. Hannigan's "Scarlet Runners," Robert Temple's "The Pickpocket" getting an honorable mention. The fest's Volkswagen audience award went to "Creature Comforts."
[Jonny Leahan contributed to this report.]