Park City 98: indieBUZZ ++ 1.23.98
by Anthony Kaufman
Michael Moore's "The Big One."
Photo Credit: Randall Michelson
Indie distrib Fox Lorber was active on Thursday, announcing two acquisitions of
Sundance pics. Lynn Hershman Leeson's "Conceiving Ada" and "Melvin Van Peebles'
Classified X" were bought; "Ada" deal was made for worldwide rights in all media,
and the "Classified X" deal involved U.S. theatrical rights and video/DVD sales.
The Van Peebles purchase also included a television deal with Encore Media Group's
(EMG) BET/Movies/STARZ3 for the doc and five other films involving the director. EMG
gets the first-run video rights to "Classified X", and the rights to "Runnin'
Man", a documentary about the director; "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song"; "The
Story of a Three-Day Pass"; "Don't Play Us Cheep", and "Identity Crisis."
Leeson's film is her debut feature and stars Tilda Swinton, Karen Black and
Timothy Leary, and was produced by Henry S. Rosenthal's San Francisco-based
Complex Corporation and Leeson's Hotwire Productions, in association with
* * * * *
In non-Sundance related acquisition news, Plaza Entertainment snapped up the
North American video rights to Michael Hacker's "The Destiny of Marty Fine".
The film won the Second Jury Prize at the 1996 Slamdance Film Festival, and
featured a performance by Alan Gelfant, currently at Sundance promoting his
role in recent Miramax buy, "Next Stop Wonderland." In a prepared statement,
"Wonderland" director Brad Anderson said of Gelfant's performance in "Marty
Fine": "Solely on the basis of that performance, I wrote his part and cast
him in my movie."
* * * * *
Adding to yesterday's Buzz bit regarding the pickup of "The Bible and Gun Club",
the name of Chris Blackwell's new company is Palm Pictures. The low six-figure
deal was for worldwide rights and includes a first-look production and
* * * * *
On Thursday afternoon, Buzz sat down with Michael Moore a couple of hours before
the premiere of his latest documentary, "The Big One." The outspoken filmmaker
chatted about how big the festival has gotten: "Who are all of these people?...A
lot of wannabes," and who President Clinton was sleeping with: "I don't give a
shit." Both Buzz and Moore agreed that the festival has improved greatly in the
recent year. While he wasn't at the fest in '97, he heard horror stories, and
was pleased to say he hadn't encountered them. Buzz agrees. Organization in all
areas is up, shuttles run well (except for the one I was on trying to make my
first meeting with Moore, yesterday), and although it's far away from my condo,
the new Shadow Ridge set-up rocks. "But what's the fest about," we ask?
"(Sundance is) very egalitarian. You don't have to have an uncle in the business,
you don't have to have gone to UCLA film school, you can be Joe Schmo from Gary,
Indiana and if you've made a good film, it will be seen here. That hasn't changed."
Both Buzz and Mr. Moore agreed that Sundance is a place where you can see fine
films that you may not be able to see anywhere else, including many other
festivals. Some of them get limited distribution, and some none. Buzz can
remember films like Rafal Zielinski's "Fun," David Siegel and Scott McGehee's
"Suture" or Michael Steinberg's "Bodies, Rest and Motion." Fine films all, but
their success outside of Sundance was small.