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TORONTO ON THE SCENE '99: Palm Pix, Miracles and Digital Presentation

Indiewire By Indiewire | Indiewire September 16, 1999 at 2:0AM

TORONTO ON THE SCENE '99: Palm Pix, Miracles and Digital Presentation
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TORONTO ON THE SCENE '99: Palm Pix, Miracles and Digital Presentation

by Eugene Hernandez and Mark Rabinowitz




Palm Pictures hosted the party of the night, last night (Monday) here at the
Toronto International Film Festival, celebrating its slate of fest
films, including, "Third World Cop." Palm founder Chris Blackwell joined
attendees at the crowded soiree. A long-time supporter of Jamaican arts and
culture, Blackwell developed the career of Bob Marley at his previous
company, Island Records. In conjunction with this Jamaican film's debut, Palm
has now unveiled what it is calling, "the first Jamaican-based website to be
developed to support a Jamaican film production, utilizing the worldwide web
to reach a wider audience."


The film, from the same production team behind the 1997 Jamaican film,
"Dancehall Queen," was shot digitally in Jamaica with an entirely local cast
and crew. The movie will open next month in Jamaica and in February
domestically.


One of the most intriguing films at this year's Toronto International Film
Festival is Sony Pictures Classics' "The Third Miracle," directed by Agnieszka
Holland
. "Miracle" deals with a Catholic priest's investigations into a
series of events that some people consider to be miracles. Digging deeper,
the priest (masterfully played by Ed Harris) who is doing his own
soul-searching regarding his place in the Church, finds that the miracles are
attributed to a woman who died some 10 years earlier.

Harris, who was not raised Catholic, spoke with indieWIRE about the role, and
how he related to the character of a man questioning his beliefs in God and
role as a priest. "As a person who believes in God, I have probably been
somewhat lazy in my pursuit of what my beliefs really are," Harris said,
continuing, "but I thought it was a wonderful opportunity to ask some
questions of myself, of my thoughts and feelings about God, and see where it
led me."


The film is wonderfully directed by Holland ("Olivier, Olivier" and "Europa,
Europa
") who weaves segments from the end of World War II (when miracle
number one supposedly occurred) and the film's late 70's, early 80's time
period. Harris, who has been a close friend of Holland's since she directed
him in her 1988 film, "To Kill a Priest," spoke about working with the
acclaimed director. "We're very close. So she can say anything she wants to
to me, and I can ask her anything I want to. I feel very comfortable with her
and I trust her a lot." Regarding the unconventional casting of Charles Haid
as the Bishop, Harris let on that someone unrelated to the film had that
idea. "It was my wife's idea," he said, referring to actress Amy Madigan. Of
course, Holland had the last word on the cast. "I think she's really good at
casting," said Harris. "She has her own thing she's looking for with certain
parts, and she tends to find them." Two other performances to watch for in
the film are Michael Rispoli ("Summer of Sam") as a former colleague of
Harris' investigator and Armin Mueller-Stahl ("Avalon") as a Papal envoy sent
to question Harris' conclusions.


Next Wave Films President Peter Broderick discussed "Third World Cop" and a
number of other digital features during a Rogers Industry Center presentation
on the latest in digital filmmaking. Showing clips of a new crop of digital
work, Broderick commented, "Now, when a filmmaker comes up to me and asks
'How much do I need to make my movie,' I tell them, 'How much do you have,
because its probably enough."


"Its up to you," Broderick told filmmakers in attendance, "Its not about the
long process of finding resources -- there are no excuses, make your movie."