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September 17, 1999 2:00 AM
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TORONTO '99 ON THE SCENE: Stranded in Toronto as Fest Nears End

TORONTO '99 ON THE SCENE: Stranded in Toronto as Fest Nears End

by Mark Rabinowitz and Eugene Hernandez



The star wattage at the festival dimmed slightly on Thursday, as many of
the non-New Yorkers began to leave the friendly confines of Toronto and
return to Los Angeles. However, New York-based industry folks like Sony
Pictures Classics' Tom Bernard
, IFC Films' Jonathan Sehring and Newport
Film Festival
topper Christine Schomer were stranded in Toronto for an
additional night due to Hurricane Floyd's rapid run up the East Coast.
indieWIRE ran into Sehring at a special industry screening of Tom Gilroy's
"Spring Forward" (produced in part by IFC Films), and he related a plane
flight from hell. It seems that Floyd, which forced a virtual shutdown of
The Big Apple yesterday, caused a rather hairy episode for Sehring's
flight, when a short distance from the runway, the pilot decided that
landing at La Guardia's notoriously short runway would be too dangerous
given the weather, and aborted the approach. The plane returned to Toronto.

The aforementioned "Spring Forward" screening was held in one of the VIP
screening rooms at Toronto's Varsity Theatres, with a small select group of
attendees, including Roger Ebert, Fine Line chief Mark Ordesky and USA
FIlms
' Peter Kalmbach, among others. After the showing, one exec told
indieWIRE that he liked the movie, consistent with the generally positive
reactions to the film all week.

Late night hot spot Bistro 990 was at it again on Thursday night, with L.A.
attorney Harris Tulchin, Sundance Film Festival director Geoffrey Gilmore
and programmer Rebecca Yeldham, "Guinevere" director Audrey Wells, "Freak
Weather
" filmmaker Mary Kuryla, former FILMMAKER Magazine West Coast Editor
Holly Willis and others in attendance. Also on hand was Cowboy Booking
International co-chief John Vanco who told indieWIRE that Cowboy, which he
runs with Toronto Fest Associate Director Noah Cowan, will soon begin
booking the new second screen at New York's The Screening Room as a
calendar house. In Variety today, Oliver Jones writes that the screen will
run indie premieres, foreign language films, midnight films, and classics.

SAG and ACTRA joined forces for a party last night at the Indian Motorcycle
Cafe
on King Street West, while down the street festival programmers,
acquisitions executives, filmmakers and others gathered at Fez for the
Festival's annual Gay Flambay party, a celebration for the event's queer
attendees and their friends. Among those in attendance were filmmaker
Jamie Babbit ("But I'm a Cheerleader"), who celebrated her deal with Fine
Line Features which was confirmed yesterday afternoon.

Active buyer Fine Line Features is a singled out today by the National Post
as a potential buyer of Istvan Szabo's "Sunshine," starring Ralph Fiennes,
Molly Parker and William Hurt. The Post cautioned, however, that
distributors are concerned about the 3-hour length of the picture. Today's
Post piece also singles out Jang Sun Woo's "Lies," which is selling well in
territories around the world, while Mel Chionglo's "Burlesk King" just made
a deal for Japanese distribution.

Finally, filmmaker Tony Kaye, who is pursuing litigation against New Line
and the DGA over cuts to "American History X," will be at the Festival for
a private screening of a new 5 1/2 minute film tomorrow. The showing will
be held Saturday morning at the Sutton Place hotel. In a press release
issued today, Kaye indicated that he has hired armed guards "to protect the
screening of his latest film, 'Pluto Warrior,' from uninvited executives
and representatives of his litigation opponents."

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