By Indiewire | Indiewire January 26, 1999 at 2:00AM
PARK CITY '99: Acquisitions Rumors; Cell Phone Mania, Slash Flash
Compiled by Eugene Hernandez, Mark Rabinowitz and Peter Byck
>> Acquitisions Rumors Swirling
Sunday night, as indieWIRE's buzz column broke the news of Open City
Films' move to producing digital movies for theatrical release, it
became apparent that no journalist -- and certainly no print publication
-- can keep ahead of the word of mouth that spreads very quickly through
festival venues once news of a deal leaks out. Much of the following
will be old news by the time this publication and the Hollywood trades
hit the stands:
Mark Illsley's "Happy, Texas" is expected to be acquired imminently,
with Miramax the most oft mentioned bidder and rumors of a $7 million
deal. Sources have Miramax honcho Harvey Weinstein jetting into town for
screenings, and Buzz witnessed October's Bingham Ray at Monday's press
screening. The film stars William H. Macy, Jeremy Northam, Steve Zahn,
Ally Walker and Illeana Douglas.
Gavin O' Connor's "Tumbleweeds" is another film expected to sell soon.
The Ted Demme executive produced pic is being circled by distribs, and a
source close to the film indicated that a sale is pending.
"Train of Life" Radu Mihaileanu's French language film is also expected
to be snapped up, soon, with several distributors circling this
well-received film. Mihaileanu has previously screened at Sundance in
1994 with "Betrayed"
>> Cell Phone Mania
A well-known indie exec told Buzz of a light Sundance-related moment
that occurred as the fest began on Thursday. The exec was on his cell
phone in Albertson's, trying to hold a conversation with one of his
directors. The connection was bad, so the rep and director were shouting
at each other. When the rep reached the checkout counter, an astute
checkout worker asked him to please stop shouting, pointing out that the
director was in the next checkout aisle. Ahhh, Sundance.....
>> Slash Flash
As a man in a taxi van played keyboards to attract fares, Slash was
smash-flashed by boffo photog Tom LeGoff. LeGoff assured me his shot
was blurry as Slash wobbled blindly to the front doors of the new Park
City venue Harry O's. While trying to get in, I realized that Harry O's
had imported their door men from Los Angeles, probably from The House of
Blues. Chill out, bro's. Once inside I found my buds at MTV following
G n' R alums Slash, Matt Sorum, Duff McGagan and Teddy "Zig Zag"
Andreatas to the backstage. Chuck Wright of Quiet Riot joined up and
they hit the stage, sans Duff, who was nervously reading old lyrics,
hoping he'd remember them once on stage. The band roared into some
sharp blues rock jams. I left the mayhem with Duff singing his reedy
heart out. Outside the venue, the crowd still trying to get in included
Jeff Dowd, who was not to be denied, rude door men or not.
Walked across to Texas Red's for the "Tumbleweeds" party. I was having
great conversations with "Valerie Flake"'s Susan Traylor and indie prod
Peter Glatzer until the blues hippy band from Detroit started playing;
loud music is not conducive to party chatter.
Quickly headed out to the SAG/FILMMAKER/Scenario/RES Magazines party at
the Park City Silver Mine. The place was packed, three times as many
people as last year. Long lines at the bars, stairwells looking like a
rush-hour 405; it was fantastic. The mystery DJ was pumping the throngs
with massive techno bliss; I heard Perry Farrell was dancing solo for
four hours before I got there. But @ 1:30 am the DJ was given the order
to clear people out with bad, slow tunes, and when he turned the dance
floor into a high school-like slow dance, my dancing shoes were traded
in for bed-time slippers. I thank him now. [Peter Byck]