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by Indiewire
December 10, 1997 2:00 AM
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Sundance Makes Zenovich's "Day"; Doc to Debut During Fest Coverage

by Eugene Hernandez




"All of it is business..." Filmmaker Heather Johnston ("The Big Dis", "Lena's Dreams" ) told documentarian Marina Zenovich. She continued, "Whether it's a
festival or it's a distributor or it's the exhibitor -- it's business." The
business of independent film is not a foreign concept for Zenovich, whose
anticipated documentary, "Independent's Day", has been acquired for broadcast
by the Sundance Channel. Following a successful work-in-progress screening
at this year's IFFM, the filmmaker quickly made a deal with Paris’ Pretty
Pictures
and later signed a contract with Sundance for finishing funds and
the broadcast deal. Channel programmers have announced that the film will
debut in January, amidst a month of programming devoted to the Sundance
Film Festival.


"Its a wonderful little film," the Channel's Dalton Delan told indieWIRE,
calling the doc a "quintessential state of the art of filmmaking piece." So
impressed with the film's ability to blend the business and zaniness of the
indiefilm world in a humorous and informative way are Channel programmers,
that they are airing it prior to their live broadcast of the 1998 Sundance
Film Festival closing night awards ceremony. A shorter version of the 54
minute documentary debuts as a preview on Awards night teasing the
full version which will air later on the Channel.


Upon viewing the full length version of the film, it would seem that
Zenovich had no problem securing participation from all aspects of the
American independent film community. John Pierson, Geoff Gilmore, John
Sloss, Bob Hawk, John Cooper, Ira Deutchman, Parker Posey, Stephen
Soderbergh, Neil LaBute, Greg Mottola, Heather Johnston, Jeff Dowd, and
Larry Fessenden are just a few of the subjects who stopped to talk with
Zenovich on her trips through Park City and beyond.


For Dalton Delan and the Sundance Channel, "Independent's Day", is a perfect
match offering them a "model scenario" for working with filmmakers to
providing funding or finishing money for productions related to their
monthly programming themes. Renee Tajima-Pena and Christine Choy are just
two of the filmmakers whom the Channel has enlisted to create programs.


In the case of Zenovich's project, the seeds may have actually been sown on
the Independent Film Channel. She told indieWIRE this week that her movie
was jumpstarted, in part, as a result of her work on a segment for "Split Screen" -- John and Janet Pierson's IFC show. The filmmaker also worked at the
IFC's newly formed Next Wave Films. Navigating the potentially rough waters
separating the two cable outlets, Zenovich eventually secured a prized
screening outlet for a project that can be embraced by many interests. As
for the future? Zenovich recently relocated to New York City and is
reportedly making plans for additional work in indiefilm-related
television. When asked which channel will be signing the checks, Zenovich
remained quiet on the record, preferring to keep her sights on her Sundance
Channel premiere -- her new gig is another story. After all, this is
business.

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