Gen Art and "Cremaster" Parties; Job Changes At Palm; Pacino in Tribeca
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Neal Block has joined Palm Pictures as manager of theatrical distribution, a newly created position. He will report to Palm's head of theatrical distribution, Ryan Werner. Block had been distribution coordinator for Independent Distribution Partners (IDP) for two years.
Also at Palm, Nicolette Aizenberg has been promoted from film division administrator to publicity & marketing manager.
The 2003 Short Shorts Film Festival in Hollywood announced the board of directors for the 2003 event: directors Martin Scorsese and Roger Donaldson, director/actor Edward Burns, actor Colin Ferrell, Lions Gate CEO Tom Ortenberg, plus Toni Howard, Naomi Foner, Tetsuya Bessho, Keiko Takahashi, Michael Wolf, and Masaharu Kohno, the Consul General of Japan in Los Angeles.
Dan Lombardo has been promoted to general manager of Cinesite Hollywood. He had served as VP of production at the facility for two years.
SEXY SHOW WORLD: It was quite fitting that Gen Art, known as the film festival where even film geeks are most likely to get laid, showed a movie about a threesome, "XX/XY," as its closing night film, followed by a party with IFC Films at the former porn palace Show World near Times Square. Gen Art announced that the jury award and audience award for the 2003 fest went to Elliot Greenebaum's "Assisted Living." Attendees at the bash included "XX/XY" director Austin Chick and star Petra Wright, actors Thora Birch, Laura Elena Herring, Marc Consuelos, Ben Chaplin, Paul Schneider, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Adrian Grenier, Cyndi Lauper, Heather Mattarazzo, and industry folks from IFC, IFP, Cinetic, and more. SKYY Vodka and Heineken loosened plenty of inhibitions...one media maven (who shall remain nameless cause she, ahem, came with us) ignored the "no patrons allowed on stage" warning and got her groove on big time. She raked in some good tips despite remaining fully clothed.
CREMASTER CROWDS: After the Gen Art debauchery, the "Cremaster" party on Wednesday night was a bit more refined, although still plenty of fun. Palm Pictures and RES magazine hosted the rather intimate gathering at Lower East Side hotspot Pianos. "Cremaster Cycle" director Matthew Barney was blending in with the crowd (no goat boy disguises that night), although his lovely lady Bjork wasn't in the house, "Cremaster" stars Aimee Mullins and Marti Domination along with composer Jonathan Bepler joined him. The Palm crew included Chris Blackwell, David Beal, David Koh, Ryan Werner, Nicolette Aizenberg and Neal Block. One member of the arts crowd there was overheard by indieWIRE to derisively whisper, "this place is full of FILM people." The horror! Other partygoers included Marie Therese Guirgis and Rob Williams from Wellspring, Anthology's Jonas Mekas, Christine Richardson from Jeremy Walker & Associates, Raj Roy and Mark Rabinowitz from the Hamptons Film Festival, the gang from the Woodstock Film Festival, Magnolia's Eamonn Bowles, Cinetic's Chris Horton, Erin Heidenreich, Jason Janego and "dancing" Dana O'Keefe, Film Forum's Harris Dew and Mike Maggiore, IDP's Tom Quinn, Ann Hubbel from Kodak, John Cameron Mitchell, actor Peter Saarsgard, Entertainment Weekly's Thom Geier and Owen Gleiberman, FILMMAKER magazine's Matthew Ross, Cowboy's John Vanco and Julie Fontaine, writer and NYUFF head Ed Halter, ThinkFilm's Michael Tuckman and David Fenkel, Jocelyn Hayes from Killer Films, "Stoked" director Helen Stickler and Dylan Leiner from Sony Pictures Classics.
SURVEY SAYS: Hats off to Time Out New York for its exhaustive new survey of all of New York City's movie theaters. Stephen Garrett (an indieWIRE contributor) and Michael Rucker and a tireless team of researchers went to a whopping 524 individual screens at every commercial movie house in the five boroughs to judge screen size, projection, and sound, along with crowds, decor, sellouts, concessions, and so on. Comments range from "art deco-licious" to "notoriously stale popcorn." The winners with A+ grades are Landmark Sunshine Cinema, Loews Kips Bay, and Walter Reade Theater. In our book, this informative scorecard ranks up there with the time The New York Observer did a bacteria survey around town and found vaginal secretions on the seats at the Angelika.
STILL BOWLING: Michael Moore reports that the brouhaha over his Oscars speech is still getting lots of attention -- the day after his speech, "Bowling for Columbine"'s box office number went up 110 percent, and his "Stupid White Men" book made its fourth trip to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Plus, Moore says that more people pre-ordered "Bowling for Columbine" from Amazon.com than ordered best pic winner "Chicago." Moore's website has been getting 10-20 million hits per day, and he's also got a new TV deal in the works (in addition to his next doc.)
HOWLING GOOD TIME: Mark your calendars for May 5 for a night of performances and auction to benefit the first HOWL! Festival, planned to take place in New York's East Village from August 20-26. The benefit will include performances from the likes of Steve Buscemi, Blue Man Group, and Philip Glass, as well as artworks for auction by Mattthew Barney, Keith Haring, David LaChapelle, and others. August's HOWL! is planned by the Federation of East Village Artists, will include the Charlie Parker Jazz Fest, the Allen Ginsburg Poetry Fest, the East Village Film Festival, Art Around the Park, and more. For details about the benefit or the festival, visit www.howlfestival.com.
PACINO IN TRIBECA: Actor Al Pacino will be hanging at his buddy Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Festival in May. On May 8, Pacino will host An Evening of Chinese Coffee and Conversation, open to the public, to feature a screening of the Pacino-directed "Chinese Coffee" followed by a chat with Pacino about his career. On May 10, Pacino will participate with the fest's Family Festival to talk to aspiring actors still in high school and screen "Looking for Richard."
NANTUCKET LOVES JHABVALA: Screenwriter Ruth Prawer Jhabvala will be honored at the 8th Nantucket Film Festival's NBC Screenwriter Tribute. The fest, running June 19-22 in Massachusetts, will recognize her for her work on such films as the Oscar-winning "Room With a View" and "Howards End" as well as "The Remains of the Day" and others. Her upcoming film is "Le Divorce," which Fox Searchlight will release this year. Previous recipients include Jay Presson Allen, Paul Schrader, Walter Bernstein, Ring Lardner Jr., and James Schamus. The festival will run from June 19-22.
LA FILM FEST LOOKING FOR ALUMS: The Los Angeles Film Festival is launching an initiative aimed at supporting its alumni filmmakers. During this year's fest (June 11-21), organizers from the festival and the staff of FILMMAKER Magazine will welcome three fest alums and set up meetings with key execs and buyers to move the filmmaker's next projects along. The goal, according to fest chief Rich Raddon, is to shepherd filmmaker's careers. Organizers are accepting submissions through today, but late applications will be considered. Filmmakers with features, shorts or videos that have screened at the festival in the last two years are especially encouraged to apply, while other alumni are also welcome (there are no fees to apply; filmmakers must submita cover letter, synopsis, budget, a list of key attachments, and a script). For more info on the fest, visit their website at www.lafilmfest.com.
[Eugene Hernandez contributed to this report.]
[DISCLOSURE: indieWIRE Managing Member and Co-Founder Karol Martesko-Fenster is part of the management team of Palm Pictures.]