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September 5, 2003 2:00 AM
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Toronto Kicks Off; "Moon" Deal; Palm Springs Picks Shorts & More

Toronto Kicks Off; "Moon" Deal; Palm Springs Picks Shorts & More

by Wendy Mitchell










Crowds gather at the Toronto International Film Festival's luxurious opening-night bash at the Liberty Grand Exhibition Place. Photo by Brian Brooks.

INDUSTRY MOVES: Amy Lipshy has joined Myriad Pictures in the newly created position of financial controller. She had worked at Intermedia Films.

Mark Woods has been named CEO of the Irish Film Board. Woods will start the job in early October, after outgoing CEO Rod Stoneman leaves at the end of August for the Huston School of Film and Digital Media in Galway. Woods had been head of acquisitions and investment for Australia's Premium Movie Partnership's Showtime and Encore film channels.

In a restructuring of its film unit, mPRm Public Relations has promoted Michael Lawson to senior VP, and promoted Chris Libby to director. Lawson joined the firm in 1993; Libby in 2001. Also, James Lewis has rejoined mPRm as a senior account executive. After leaving mPRm in June 2002, Lewis worked at Fox Searchlight Pictures as a national publicity consultant.

Nina Streich has been named executive director of the first Global Peace Film Festival, to be held in Orlando from December 10-14. Carol Taylor is the festival's director, and Prudence Hill is in charge of programming. Shaikh Abdul Taw'ala Ibn Ali Alishtari of GlobalProtector.net founded the festival.

CROWDS HIT CANADA: The Toronto International Film Festival officially came to a start yesterday, with the gala opening screening of Denys Arcand's "The Barbarian Invasions," followed by a luxe soiree at Liberty Grand Exhibition Place. Thousands of revelers listened to eclectic tunes (an electric violin rendition of "Ave Maria," a wedding-band-esque version of "Turn This Mother Out" and some more normal tunes in between). Locals and visiting film execs stood in line for white cosmopolitans and snacked on fare ranging from gourmet (beef wellington) to ghetto fabulous (French fries and fried cheese). Hundreds upon hundreds of revelers were still flaunting their fashions and mingling when BUZZ called it a night around 2 a.m.

MOON STRUCK: Alliance Atlantis has acquired the international rights to "La face cachée de la lune" (Far Side of the Moon), the new film from writer/director Robert Lepage ("Le Confessionnal," Nô"). The film will have its world premiere at the just-launched 2003 Toronto International Film Festival. Charlotte Mickie, managing director, international motion picture sales for Alliance Atlantis Entertainment Group, spearheaded the deal. Alliance Atlantis' Odeon Films will release the film in English-speaking Canada and Alliance Atlantis' Vivafilm will release the film in French-speaking Canada. The film, shot on high-def digital, is adapted from Lepage's play of the same name, looks at the duality of the moon, U.S.-Soviet relations, and two brothers (both played by Lepage). "Far Side of the Moon" is a Media Principia and FCL Films production; Daniel Langlois and Robert Lepage served as executive producers, with Bob Krupinski and Mario St-Laurent producing.

PALM SHORTS: The Palm Springs International Festival of Short Films, after weeding through a whopping 2,000 entries from around the world, has announced its lineup of 265 films. This year's ninth-annual fest will be held September 16-22 at Camelot Theatres in Palm Springs, Calif. The offerings are grouped into 42 themed programs: gay and lesbian, female identity, Jewish experience, horror and sci-fi, literary adaptations, seniors, musical shorts, and more. The Quick Flicks From Feature Director Pros includes shorts from Kenneth Branagh, Michael Apted, Richard Linklater, and Wong Kar-Wai. The Stargazing program will feature actors including Patty Duke, Hilary Swank, Lili Taylor, and Ewan McGregor. Award winners being screened include "The ChubbChubbs!" (Oscars), "Terminal Bar" (Sundance), "The Truth About Head" (Cannes, Toronto), "Cracker Bag" (Cannes), "The Man Without a Head" (Cannes), and "This Charming Man" (Oscars). For details, visit www.psfilmfest.org.

WINTER IN SEPTEMBER: The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is kicking off a series of Monday Nights with Oscar screenings on September 22 with "The Lion in Winter." One Monday each month, a different Oscar nominated or Oscar-winning film will screen at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International in Manhattan. Triple Oscar winner "Lion" stars greats Peter O'Toole and Katharine Hepburn. For details, visit www.oscars.org.

WELSH WAY: Brenda Blethyn has joined the cast of "teenage tragedy" feature film "A Way of Life," which started shooting earlier this week in Wales. The film marks the directorial debut of Amma Asante, who wrote the BBC series "Brothers and Sisters." Belthyn stars alongside Oliver Haden, Stephanie James, Gary Sheppeard, Dean Wong, and Sara Gregory. Patrick Cassavetti, Peter Edwards, and Charlie Hanson are producing. "A Way of Life" is about a teenage mother and three friends living on the margins of society. The shoot in Cardiff and Swansea will last six weeks.

MOMENTOUS MOVING: Mark your calendars for the American Museum of the Moving Image's 15th anniversary celebration, to be held at the museum on September 13. The free event will include screenings of "Primary," "Seven Days in May," "Dr. Strangelove," and "Singin' in the Rain." Prizes will also be given away, and the museum will open its new series "From the Dream Life: American Movies and the Mythology of the 1960s." For details visit www.movingimage.us.

SCOTT IN CHARGE: Insert your own "Dickie Roberts" joke here: Scott Baio is making a return to the big screen with "The Bread, My Sweet," alongside Broadway veteran Rosemary Prinz. Baio plays a tough businessman who has a soft side for the locals in his Italian-American neighborhood in Pittsburgh. Melissa Martin's film has already picked up a number of awards on the festival circuit, and Panorama Entertainment will open it October 24 at New York's Cinema Village.

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