Palm Pictures Hops on the "Bunny"
by Brian Brooks
Sundance 2002 jury prize winner "How to Draw a Bunny" by John Walter has been acquired by Chris Blackwell's Palm Pictures for North American, U.K., and Caribbean rights, the company announced yesterday. "Bunny," which is also nominated for a 2003 IFP Spirit Award for best documentary, follows the life of artist Ray Johnson, considered by some the first pop artist after his collages of James Dean, Shirley Temple, and Elvis Presley. The film will be the second project released through Palm's new Arthouse Films division, after Matthew Barney's "Cremaster Cycle."
In addition to his work influenced by pop icons, Johnson became well-known for using the postal service to exchange artwork and other objects between a network of international artists and poets and he is also credited with the earliest "happenings," which he called "nothings." The doc features lively discussions with Johnson's friends and contemporaries including artists Christo, Chuck Close, Roy Lichtenstein, and James Rosenquist.
"How to Draw a Bunny" is one of the most entertaining and well constructed documentaries that we've seen on an artist in quite some time," commented David Koh, head of acquisitions and production at Palm Pictures and Arthouse Films in a release. "We're thrilled to be entrusted with the release and look forward to our collaboration with filmmakers John Walter and Andrew Moore (the film's producer)." The deal was negotiated by Koh and Jose Martinez, Arthouse General Manager, and Lianne Halfon of Mr. Mudd, the production company that executive produced the film.
Other slated releases from Palm Pictures include Dagur Kari's "Noi Albinoi," Claude Berri's "The Housekeeper," Olivier Assayas' "demonlover," Baltasar Kormakur's "The Sea," Oxide Pang and Danny Pang's "The Eye," Johnnie To and Wai Ka Fai's "Fulltime Killer," and "The Last Minute" by Stephen Norrington.
[DISCLOSURE: indieWIRE Managing Member and Co-Founder Karol Martesko-Fenster is part of the executive management team of Palm Pictures.]