"Stoked" Gets Loud; "Migration" Spreads Its Wings; East Village Fest Kicks Off
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Susan Wrubel has been named head of acquisitions and programs for the Global Film Initiative. Wrubel is a vet of Madstone Films and New Yorker Films. Also, GFI's former executive director Noah Cowan has joined the group's board of directors.
Teri Kane has joined PR firm Rogers & Cowan as executive VP of its film and digital entertainment group. She had most recently been senior VP of publicity at Miramax.
Craig Prater and Jennifer Stark have been named executive director and director of programming, respectively, for the 2004 Bangkok International Film Festival. Prater is a vet of the International Festival of Festivals and the Palm Springs International Film Festival; Stark has also formerly worked for Palm Springs. This year's Bangkok fest dates have been set for January 22-February 2.
Jeffrey Lynn has been named administrative director of the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival and its venue Cinema Paradiso. Lynn is a veteran from FIU and the Miami International Film Festival, as well as AMC Theatres.
Fay Kanin has been elected president of the Academy Foundation, the educational and cultural arm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. She previously held the post from 1995-1998.
It's one in and one out at the Association of Independent Video and Filmmakers (AIVF). In October, Maud Kersnowski (an indieWIRE alum) is leaving her post there as editor of the Independent magazine to pursue her own projects. But the Independent has added Shana Liebman as managing editor. James Ellis, who previously held that post, recently moved to Chicago.
STOKED GETS SOCIAL: Just when you thought the party scene was in a pre-Toronto lull, there were several events rocking New York's indie film community this week. On Monday, Palm Pictures and VICE magazine held a premiere and party for Helen Stickler's "Stoked: the Rise and Fall of Gator." The masses loved the film, and nobody seemed to mind that it had to be screened on video because the print was temporarily stuck in transit after the blackout. At the after-party at hotspot Plaid, there was a lot of loud skater punk being blasted by the DJs, and then there was a lot of loud rock being played by local band The Fever. Guests swilled Smirnoff, noshed on some tasty wraps, and tried to forget the gruesome crime-scene photos they had just seen on the big screen (not to mention the equally gruesome '80s fashions). Revellers included Stickler, skateboarding legend Ken Park (the namesake for Larry Clark's latest controversial film), a host of other skaters, Gary Hustwit from Plexifilm, Cinetic's "Dancing Dana" O'Keefe, Miramax's Jason Janego, producer Diana Williams, actor Brendan Sexton, the AIVF's James Israel, actor Paul Schneider (sans partner in crime, "Ping Pong Summer" scribe Michael Tully), Hypnotic's Joe "A.M." Revitte, "Speedo" director Jesse Moss, Variety scribe Lily Oei, Tribeca programmer David Kwok, and more of the usual suspects.
H-BOMB INDEED: On Wednesday, it was a much more subdued opening for the first East Village Film Festival. There was a smallish -- but cool -- crowd on hand at the Loews on Third Ave. and 11th Street for a screening of Steve Buscemi's digital short "Luna Macaroona" followed by Luis Fernandez de la Reguera's doc "Rockets Redglare!" Both brilliantly captured the insanity of the good old days in the pre-gentrified East Village. The late, great Rockets gives viewers a wildly entertaining, and also touching, look at his singular life. Our favorite scene involved a porn star, freebased cocaine, and Rockets reminiscing about "an H-bomb going off in his nuts." You don't hear that at a Loews cinema every day, folks. The "after-party" at the Pink Pony wasn't really coalescing when Buzz popped in, but there are many more nights of East Village revelry in store during the HOWL Festival!
BIRDS GET BIGGER: Sony Classics' hit doc "Winged Migration" (otherwise known as "the bird movie") is gonna get even bigger. Starting August 29, an enhanced 35mm version of the film will be shown on the huge Imax screen at New York's Lincoln Square, as well as at Universal City in L.A. and the Metreon in San Francisco.
HEADING SOUTH: Italian movie lovers have a new festival to add to their schedules, one in the scenic south of the boot. From June 12-18 in Tricase, Italy, the first Salento International Film Festival will present new Italian films, premieres, retrospectives, and more. A jury will pick winners in feature, short, and doc categories. For details, visit www.salentofilmfestival.com.
DMX DEAL: Fox Searchlight has acquired the urban thriller "Never Die Alone" from ContentFilm and Bloodline Films. The flick, now in post production, stars rapper DMX as a gangster and David Arquette as a journalist. Ernest Dickerson ("Juice," "Good Fences") is directing from James Gibson's adaptation of Donald Goines' 1974 book of the same name.
MORE BOWLING: Michael Moore's "Bowling for Columbine" hit DVD shelves earlier this week (as did the first DVD release of his debut "Roger & Me"). Extras include Moore's "blow-by-blow" account of what really happened at the Oscars, a commentary track from the film's receptionist and interns (great idea!), and even a teacher's guide.