Miramax Gets Station Agent; Also, Holly Hunter Honored and More
by Eugene Hernandez
Miramax has acquired the hot Sundance competition film, "The Station Agent." The company announced the deal, for all English speaking territories and Italy, on Wednesday.
The film, described as "an often humorous yet moving and uplifting story following an unlikely trio, who discover solitude is better spent together," marks the feature film directorial debut for actor, playwright, and theater director Tom McCarthy.. It stars Patricia Clarkson, Peter Dinklage, Bobby Cannavale, Michelle Williams, Raven Goodwin, and Paul Benjamin and was produced by Next Wednesday's Mary Jane Skalski ("The Jimmy Show") and Robert May and Kathryn Tucker of SenArt ("Stevie"). Music for the movie was created by Stephen Trask ("Hedwig & the Angry Inch"). Cinetic sold the film.
All eyes are now on "Pieces of April", Peter Hedges' InDiGent film that buyers have been pursuing all week. A deal is expected today for the popular competition entry, starring Patricia Clarkson and Katie Holmes.
Buyer interest thus far at Sundance has been limited to a handful of titles, so it should be no surprise that producers are getting more and more anxious to make sure that acquisitions executives are seeing their movies. Witness an exchange overheard at a party on Main Street on Tuesday night: "Did you see (film title) yet?," the producer of a Sundance competition entry asked the head of a New York-based distribution company. "No, I haven't" the exec said. "You suck!" exclaimed the producer. With a smile, the producer added, "Well, I want you to see it, because I want to you distribute this film!"
NIGHT OF THE HUNTER
Holly Hunter received the Sundance Institute Tribute to Independent Vision award on Tuesday at a ceremony that was emceed by "Levity" director Ed Solomon. The director gave a funny and highly personal speech about Hunter's childhood, including various anecdotes about working with the actress on the set of the Sundance opening-night film. The majority of the ceremony was composed of video montage of Hunter's diverse body of work, with clips from "Broadcast News", "Raising Arizona" and "The Firm" dominating the reel.
Hunter gave a humble and gracious acceptance speech punctuated with wry comedic moments. She ended with a sarcastic questioning of why she hadn't already received the award. Previous winners of the prize include Frances McDormand, Julianne Moore, Kevin Spacey, and Benicio Del Toro.
Audiences at Sundance are often expressive, usually in a positive way as they cheer on friends and colleagues on their work. However, In the case of the Miramax film, "Buffalo Soldiers" by Gregor Jordan, at least one audience member was less than supportive.
A viewer at Tuesday's screening of Soldiers complained loudly about the film following its Eccles screening, according to ScreenDaily. She called the picture anti-American and anti-Army, the publication reported yesterday. Frustrated, the woman then hurled a plastic water bottle at the screen, according to ScreenDaily. Missing its apparent target, the projectile fell short of the stage and the woman was escorted out of the theater. One attendee disputed initial rumors that the item struck actress Anna Paquin in the head.
The "Buffalo Soldiers" screening on Tuesday was the first fest showing of the film since its debut at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2001. The movie, which offers a look at corrupt American soldiers at a base in Germany, was acquired by Miramax on September 10, 2001 and held until booked for release this year, following its screening here at Sundance.
Comments about the expected war in the Middle East have popped up at a number of post-screening Q&As throughout the festival. And now organizers of an alternative Park City festival are taking things a bit further.
Scott Beibin, head of The Lost Film Festival is spearheading "War for the S.U.V.," a demonstration and march today at noon that will protest the emerging international political situation. Beiben and a group of filmmakers came up with the idea at a party earlier this week and decided to plan the demonstration. It will begin on Main Street and Heber in Park City and include a march to the Sundance Festival headquarters, according to Beibin.