HDNet Films, here at the Toronto International Film Festival with three new digital features, has announced plans to make seven new more high definition movies, including a unique project by Steven Soderbergh about Spalding Gray. At an early morning breakfast event today, HDNet's Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente unveiled the complete new slate and Soderbergh explained that his new project would explore a never-performed monologue by Gray. Amy Hobby is producing the film with Gray's widow Kathie Russo, along with Joshua Blum. Chatting with indieWIRE Monday morning, Soderbergh likened the film to "Tarnation," explaining that he will work on the project alongside other film projects. Soderbergh directed the 1996 Spalding Gray performance film "Gray's Anatomy" and his latest film "Bubble," one of the HDNet films screening in Toronto, debuted last week at the Venice Film Festival. That film is part of a separate initiative to direct six films for HDNet Films.
Each of the Soderbergh films, and the new slate of movies, are intended for simultaneous distribution through the company's landmark day-and-date strategy of releasing a movie in theaters that are owned by parent 2929 Entertainment and on the HDNet Movies Network (all of which are owned and run by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban). Theatrical distribution is handled by the company's Magnolia Pictures division and home video/DVD releases will be distributed through a yet to be announced arrangement. Other HDNet Films screening in Toronto include Alex Steyermark's "One Last Thing," set for its public debut in Toronto tonight and a release next spring, and Joseph Castelo's "The War Within," which will open in theaters and debut on HDNet movies on September 30th.
Among the new titles is Alex Gibney's "Hunter," about Hunter S. Thompson (Gibney's "Enron: The Smartest Guys In The Room" was HDNet Films first production). The filmmaker had exclusive access at the recent pyrotechnic memorial held in Colorado to honor the legendary writer. Gibney is also making "Herbie Hancock: Possibilities," which is described as "a performance-driven, behind-the-scenes look at the making of the acclaimed musician's just-released album of the same title." In the film, Hancock collaborates with Sting, Santana, and John Mayer.
Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter, producer of the 2002 documentary "The Kid Stays In The Picture," is producing two of the new HDNet projects, including Gibney's "Hunter". He is also attached to "Surfwise," a doc about surfer Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz who introduced the sport in Israel. Doug Pray, director of the docs "Scratch" and "Hype", is directing the film.
HDNet Films is also partnering with This Is That to make Hal Hartley's "Fay Grim," a follow-up to "Henry Fool" starring Parker Posey. The film, also produced by Mike Ryan, will shoot in Europe in January.
Other films on the HDNet Films slate include JT Petty's documentary "S&Man," described as "an in-depth look at the horror movie genre" and Carlos Brooks' "Quid Pro Quo" starring Nick Stahl and Vera Farmiga in a drama described as the story of "a wheelchair-bound NPR personality who begins an intense relationship with a seemingly able-bodied man." It will shoot in New York later this month.
Already inn post-production are "All Fall Down" with Anthony LaPaglia, Isabella Rossellini, and Viola Davis, as well as Katherine Dieckmann's "Diggers," with Paul Rudd, Josh Hamilton, Ron Eldard, Maura Tierney, Lauren Ambrose, Sarah Paulson and writer Ken Marino.