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October Films Drops New Solondz Film; Redeemable On Interstate 60; Van Sant’s Gay Western; and A Ban

October Films Drops New Solondz Film; Redeemable On Interstate 60; Van Sant's Gay Western; and A Ban

A Band Apart in Minneapolis

Compiled by Aaron Krach and Eugene Hernandez

>> October Films Drops New Solondz Film

Indiewood studio October Films will not distribute Todd Solondz’ new film, “Happiness“, which premiered at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival, Hollywood trade publications are reporting today (Thursday, July 2nd). The move comes as the result of pressure from corporate parents Universal and Seagrams, according to the trades. Executives are reportedly reacting to the provocative subject matter included in the film.

Variety and the Hollywood Reporter indicated today that the film will instead be distributed domestically by a new arm created by the film’s overseas distributor, Good Machine International.

“The reality is that there are some elements in the film that thematically are inappropriate for our parent company,” October Films’ partner John Schmidt told Variety. While Good Machine International President David Linde told Variety, “Aside from the controversy the film may generate, the simple fact remains that we believe this is a great American independent film. Period.”

“Happiness”, which was produced by Christine Vachon and Good Machine’s Ted Hope, was a critical hit at Cannes, winning the Int’l Critics Prize. Reporting about the film following its Cannes debut, indieWIRE’s Anthony Kaufman reported, “The director of the low-budget film ‘Welcome to the Dollhouse‘ returns to the big screen with an assured film that will settle the minds of anyone doubtful of his abilities to continue an auteur’s career. Selected for Directors Fortnight, Solondz’s perverse black comedy, ‘Happiness’ is as enjoyable as it is disturbing. Among its sick and twisted characters, ‘Happiness’ profiles a suburban father who is also a serial-killing pedophile.”

“He had a wife and children. And I just couldn’t help wondering who these people were,” Solondz explained at Cannes. “Who his family was and how that could possibly exist? It was not a unique situation — I’ve read about other serial killers whose wives have discovered dead bodies after many years in the basement. And that kind of management of an illness I just found very provocative.”

>> Redeemable Features to Produce “Interstate 60”

Writer/director Bob Gale agreed to produce his directorial debut,
Interstate 60” with Redeemable Features. “Interstate 60” is “an off-beat
road movie about a young man’s search for answers along a highway that
doesn’t exist on any map.” Gale is best-known as co-writer/co-producer of
the “Back to the Future” series.

>> Van Sant Headed Back To Gay Roots

After finishing a remake of “Psycho,” Gus Van Sant has signed with Columbia
to direct the gay-themed, “Brokeback Western.” The story follows
two modern cowboys that travel and fall passionately in lust/love with each
other. “Lonesome Dove” novelist Larry McMurtry and his writing partner
Diana Ossana wrote the script. “Brokeback Western” first raised eyebrows
when it appeared as a short story in The New Yorker written by Pulitzer
prize-winning author Annie L. Proulx. The august pages of The New Yorker
were not accustomed to such steamy, queer ideas.

>> A Band Apart Making A Splash in the Twin Cities

A Band Apart, the production company that was founded by Quentin
Tarantino, Lawrence Bender and Michael Bodnarchek, is teaming up with
Minneapolis based Harder-Fuller Films to open an office in the Twin
Cities. Dubbed “A Band Apart — Harder Fuller/Minneapolis”, the company
will focus on advertising and commercial clients with Harder Fuller’s Phil
Harder and Rick Fuller.

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