PARK CITY 2001 BUZZ: Slamdance Winners; Buzz; "Raw" Deal Signed; Checking I.D.; sputnik7 Shorts Deal; Morris' Megatron; Bingham's Gig; Swag; Next Year
by Eugene Hernandez and Maud Kersnowski /indieWIRE with a report from Sarah Keenlyside
>> And The Sparky Goes To
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- The Slamdance Film Festival announced winners of
their "Sparkys" (a bronzed dog statue) last night at closing night
ceremonies up the hill at the Silver Mine. Monteith McCollum's animated
"Hybrid" took the Grand Jury Award for Best Feature. The Jury declared
the Best Short to be "Boundaries" directed by Greg Durbin. Audience Choice Awards went to "American Chai" by Anurag Mehta for Best Feature and Brian McDonald's "White Face" for Best Short. Debra Eisensadt won Best Dramatic Feature for "Day Dream Believer." Lee Eun-soo walked away with Best Editing for "Barking Dogs Never Bite" directed by Bong joon-ho. The Spirit of Slamdance Award was handed over to Mark Carter for his nine minute "The Ballad of Little Roger Mead." Gregg Bishop's "Voodoo" grabbed the Global Anarchy Audience Award. "The Trouble with Lou" whacked its way into the Moviemaker Breakthrough Award.
In the 5th Annual Slamdance Screenplay Competition First, Second and
Third Prize went to "Gotta Keep Movin'" by Russell Paquette; "Tokens" by Thomas Russell; "Lemon Grove" by David Guest respectively. Three awards were given out for best film promotion. Todd Rohal won "Best Poster." Anthony Howard took home "Most Original Press Kit" and "The Trouble with Lou" grabbed a second award for "Best On The Street Promotion" for among other things distributing bottles of hand cream
to advertise the film about a chronic masturbator.
Slamdance will be screening the winning films today at Silver Mine
starting at 12:30pm and Sunday in Salt Lake City at Brewvies.
>> Biz Buzz
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- Films being seriously courted by distributors as
Sundance hits the final weekend include Allison Anders' "Things Behind
the Sun," Michael Cuesta's "L.I.E.," "Waking Life" by Richard Linklater, "Trembling Before G-d" by Sandi Simcha Dubowski and William Bindley's "Madison." Timothy Linh Bui's "Green Dragon" and "The Deep End" by Scott McGehee and David Siegel will probably tie the knot with a distributor, according to sources close to the films. "The Deep End" will reportedly be the biggest deal of the festival. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> "Deal" Deal Sealed
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- Artisan closed with "Raw Deal: A Question of
Consent" yesterday. By signing this hotly debated doc, Artisan continues
its record of releasing high-profile Sundance films such as 1999's
"The Blair Witch Project" and last year's "Chuck & Buck."
>> Your I.D. Please
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- Festival-goers were reportedly carded yesterday
not for alcohol but for a screening of "The Isle." Sundance Co-Director
Nicole Guillemet's only explanation for the check was a misunderstanding
between the festival and theater managers. Earlier this week the staff
was instructed not to request ID's after film's reps became concerned
about a 21-and-over age restriction printed on the tickets. "It's
certainly not protocol [to ask for proof of age]," said Guillemet. "We
err on the conservative side. We're being respectful of the community we
live in," explained Guillemet, who chose 21, Utah's legal drinking age,
as the cut-off rather than the movie rating NC-17. "We reserve the right
to check ages. A 12 year-old shouldn't walk into certain movies, that's
just being a responsible adult," Guillemet said. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> sputnik7 Shorts Acquired
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- The Palm Pictures/sputnik7 team added two more
shorts to their list of festival buys, for a total of seven. "Rocket
Pants," by Andy Murdock for Mondo Media, and "Freeware," by Alex Orrelle, both signed deals with David Koh, Head of Acquisitions and Productions for sputnik7 and Palm Pictures and Jonathan Wells, Head of Content/
Programming for sputnik7. [Maud Kersnowski]
>> Errol Morris: The Man Behind the Megatron
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- "This is the very first time I've been given a
taste of my own medicine," says Errol Morris from behind a black curtain,
via several television monitors. Plunked in the hot seat before his
latest creation -- the Megatron -- the legendary documentary filmmaker
was interrogated by publicist Reid Rosefelt in front of curious onlookers
Thursday morning at the House of Docs. A line started forming as early as
8am (two hours early) to catch a glimpse of the man and his machine, but
participants soon realized that both Morris and his Megatron would remain
hidden for most of the presentation.
Instead, the audience was introduced to many Morrises -- captured at
every conceivable angle and distance. One TV monitor alone showed four
different images of Morris, linked by a single voice that explained the
origins of the technology. In its first incarnation, it was called the
Interrotron -- two teleprompter -- like devices that allowed an
interviewer and interviewee to look directly into a camera and at images
of each other simultaneously, without being in the same room. "I wanted
to create a system whereby I could look directly into someone's eyes,
they could look directly into my eyes and look into the camera at the
same time," he explains. The device was first used in the film "Mr.
Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A. Leutcher Jr."
From the Interrotron evolved the Megatron after Morris recognized the
advantages of digital video. "What can I do in DV that I could never
do in film?" he asks. "I can add cameras." The device, which was used
for Morris' documentary series "First Person," can handle over 20
cameras -- each one carefully trained on the subject so as to capture
their every tick.
Morris admits he was at first concerned that people "might not go for
it" -- that the idea of speaking candidly to a machine would be too
overwhelming for some. But, he says, the Interrotron and the Megatron
have in fact worked very well, and he feels that the relationship
between man and machine is a natural one. Apparently Fred Leutcher --
Mr. Death himself -- felt so comfortable with the Interrotron he once
babbled in front of it for 7 hours during an interview session.
"I think the notion that technology and intimacy work at odds with each
other is wrong," says Morris, citing the telephone and e-mail as examples
of how intimate human interaction can be achieved through technology. At
one point Rosefelt allowed the audience to decide for themselves, and
turned the interviewer's device toward them, so they could address Morris
face to face with their questions.
Eventually, the curtain was dropped and in "Wizard of Oz"-like fashion,
man and machine were revealed. A cumbersome device was uncovered, encircled
by a halo of lipstick cams and trailed by miles of wires -- its limitations
were obvious. Critic Roger Ebert was in the house and inquired if a portable
version of the machine was in the works. "The Portotron... the Interrobot,"
were names Morris offered, and admitted that yes, he and his team were
working on a solution. "Errol wants to go back to jail," says "First
Person" producer Michael Williams, alluding to Morris' early years
interviewing mass murderers. A less cumbersome version of the machine
would make that possible (although certainly no more desirable from our
perspective). [Sarah Keenlyside]
>> Bingham Finding a Niche
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) --Sundance Juror and October Films Co-Founder Bingham Ray announced yesterday that he is getting back in the business, joining
old friend Dan Lindau and partner Cami Taylor at Crossroads Films. Ray will be a partner and launch the company's feature film production division.
The group has been working together quietly for about a month. Ray told
indieWIRE yesterday that the group already has a first project set, but
they are still lining up distribution partners for the company. Budget
plans for the films (12-15 over the next five years) range from $3 million
to $15 million. Ray left October 18 months ago and the company later
became USA Films. [Eugene Hernandez]
"It's the year of Swag. It's really come into it's own. The
films are secondary" -- Slamdance programmer Alex Nohe.
Read Peter Byck's full list of loot Sunday @ indiewire.com
>> Same Time Next Year, Sort Of
(indieWIRE/01.27.01) -- The Sundance Film Festival will return to Park
City in 2002. Because of the Olympics, filmmakers, actors, publicists,
distributors, and journalists will be arriving in Utah a week earlier
than usual. The festival will run January 10-20. But the rumors that
Sundance has been casting around for a new future location are true,
according to Nicole Guillemet, co-director of the Sundance Film Festival.