By Indiewire | Indiewire September 14, 1999 at 2:00AM
TORONTO '99 ON THE SCENE: Miramax Catches "Traffic," FineLine's "Five Senses"
by Eugene Hernandez
Despite persistent talk that his company is buying fewer movies, Harvey
Weinstein made an appearance at a specially-arranged private screening Sunday
morning and by the end of the day Miramax had purchased the rights to a film.
Twenty-five year old Justin Kerrigan's film, "Human Traffic," screened well
here in Toronto on Saturday night and a deal immediately seemed likely. The
film, a colorful and often comic portrayal of a weekend in the lives of a
group of youths in Cardiff, Wales, includes a powerful electronic soundtrack.
indieWIRE expressed concerns on Sunday that larger IndieWood distributors,
like Miramax, might shy away from the movie's portrayal of drug-use. The
deal appears to address the fear that the company would limit the release
or alter the movie.
indieWIRE has learned that the Miramax pact includes a 20-city commitment
and the contract guarantees that no changes will be made to the movie.
Additionally, Thom Geier from the Hollywood Reporter, in today's edition,
puts the deal in the $750,000 - $1 million range and indicates that the
contract also ensures a theatrical release within one year.
According to a Miramax source, company reps first saw the movie in Britain
where it has made millions since being released late this Spring. A company
release yesterday indicated that Matt Brodlie brought the movie to
Weinstein's attention -- Jason Blum, Amy Israel and Jason Zelin from Miramax
negotiated the deal with Ira Deutchman & Peter Newman from Redeemable
Features and Kevin Menton of Irish Screen.
In other news, Geier also reported today that FineLine has acquired the U.S.
rights to Jeremy Podeswa's "The Five Senses." The movie premiered in Cannes
and will be released next year, according to the Reporter. It was financed by
Alliance Atlantis. Cassian Elwes, Rena Ronson and Michael Din of WMA
Independents repped the movie.
Acquisitions buzz is surrounding a handful of projects. Film Finders
indicated that an offer is on the table for Allan Moyle's "New Waterford
Girl" and a source close to Jamie Babbit's "But I'm a Cheerleader" told
indieWIRE that two offers are out for rights to the movie following
yesterday's successful industry screening.