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Biz Briefs for the week of 12/14/98

Biz Briefs for the week of 12/14/98

Compiled by Mark Rabinowitz,Kevin Dreyfuss and Eugene Hernandez

>> Glass, Wilson Launch Digital Opera

Phillip Glass and Stage Director/Designer Robert Wilson have
collaborated to present “Monsters Of Grace,” a 3-dimensional computer
animated film shot on 70mm, finishing its run this weekend at the
Brooklyn Academy of Music. This is the second collaboration of the
innovative pair; they first worked together on the 1976 breakthrough
opera “Einstein on the Beach,” the 4 1/2-hour epic that changed the face
of music-theater. “Monsters,” described as “A Digital Opera in Three
Dimensions,” is a 68-minute program and testament to the magic of
software technology mixed with elaborate stage designs. Computer
technology is contributed from Diana Walczak and Jeff Kleiser, the
special-FX team behind films such as “Stargate” and “Clear and Present

Theatergoers don 3-D glasses, watch a large bluescreen, and are
surrounded by synthesized keyboards and a Macintosh PowerBook instead of
the usual string and brass sections. The lyrics (sung in English) are
drawn from the spiritual 13th century Persian poet Jalaluddin Rumi,
credited as the original whirling dervish.

Among Phillip Glass’s music composing credits are Paul Schrader’s
Mishima,” Errol Morris’s “The Thin Blue Line,” Godfrey Reggio’s
Koyaanisqatsi” [which won a Golden Globe Award for Best Score] and
Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun” [which garnered a Golden Globe and Academy
Award nomination for Best Score]. Glass’s sound carries a distinct pattern of
notes and octaves that is unmistakable. Synonymous to the term synthesized
music, he has challenged the boundaries of music theater, creating what can
be called a digital experience.

“Monster’s of Grace” will continue its run at BAM until December 20th.
Performances from December 15-19 at 7:30p.m.; December 19 at 2p.m. And
December 20 at 3p.m. Tickets are: $45, 30, 15 (including 3-D glasses).
For tickets, call BAM Ticket Services at 718-636-4100. The Brooklyn
Academy of Music, 30 Lafayette Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217-1486.
[Amanda Nanawa]

>> NY Crix Dyin’ For “Ryan”

Often a foreshadower of the Academy Awards, the New York Film Critics
announced their year end awards on Wednesday, with “Saving Private
” continuing its run, picking up the best picture award in the NYFC
balloting. The winners of the acting awards were all somewhat surprises,
with Nick Nolte (“Affliction”) and Cameron Diaz (“There Something About Mary”)
picking up the best actor and actress awards and Lisa Kudrow and Bill
Murray winning in supporting categories for “Rushmore” and “The Opposite
Of Sex,” respectively. Both are receiving buzz regarding possible
Academy Awards nominations.

The Best Director award went to Terrence Malick, for his much
anticipated WW II epic, “The Thin Red Line,” based on a novel by James
Jones, which also received the best cinematography award for John Toll.
The award for best first film went to Richard Kwietniowski’s “Love And
Death On Long Island
,” which starred Jason Priestly and John Hurt.
Thomas Vinterberg continued his pre-Oscar winning streak, winning the
best foreign language film award for “The Celebration.” The recently
released Miramax film, “Shakespeare In Love” picked up the best
screenplay award for Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard, while the best
non-fiction film award was nabbed by “The Farm,” directed by Liz Garbus
and Jonathan Stack. A special award was given to the newly cut version
of Orson Welles’ “Touch Of Evil.” [Mark Rabinowitz]

>> Miramax Nabs “Hamlet”

Miramax Films has acquired all distribution rights for the updated
version of “Hamlet” from writer/director Michael Almereyda (“Nadja”)
(indieWIRE Production Briefs, 11.13.98). Set in modern-day New York,
the film stars Ethan Hawke (“Gattaca”) as Hamlet, Kyle MacLachlan
(“Trigger Effect”) as Claudius and Diane Verona (“Romeo + Juliet”) as
Gertrude. Supporting cast includes Karl Geary (“Nadja”), Bill Murray
(“Wild Things”), Sam Shepard (“The Right Stuff,” “Voyager”) and Julia
Stiles (“Wicked”). Amy Hobby and Andrew Fierberg of double A produce,
with Jason Blum (Miramax Senior VP of Acquisitions and Co-Productions)
overseeing production for Miramax. Blum and Steven Hutensky (Miramax
Senior VP of Business and Legal Affairs) negotiated the deal on behalf
of Miramax, with super-indie attorney John Sloss representing double A.
[Kevin Dreyfuss]

>> October Picks Lik Flick

October Films has acquired rights to “Boriuca’s Bond,” the debut film
from twenty year-old Val Lik. Lik wrote, directed and stars in the film,
a drama set amid the world of gangs and drugs in the South Bronx in New
York City. The film also stars Frankie Negron (Broadway’s “The Capeman”)
as an artist struggling to live in his violent surroundings. The film
was shot on location in the South Bronx and features the acting debut of
several stars in the world of hip hop music. Musicians making their
acting bows in the film include Treach from Naughty by Nature, Big
Punisher, Wu-Tang Clan’s Killah Priest, Stickyfingas from Onyx, Mistah
Cheeks from The Lost Boyz and Psycho Les from The Beatnutts. In
addition, the film marks the debut of male supermodel Tyson Beckford and
NYC d.j. Tony Touch. The film was profiled in the Production Update
section of the Fall 1998 issue of FILMMAKER Magazine.

>> Redeemable Gets “Mad” With Talkington

New York-based Redeemable Features has agreed to produce “Diary of a Mad
,” the feature film debut of award-winning director, Amy
Talkington. The script was adapted by Talkington from Hugh Gallagher’s
Rolling Stone Magazine article of the same name, and will be produced by

Melissa Chessman and Jon Ullman, and executive produced by Redeemable
partners Ira Deutchman and Peter Newman. The third partner in the
company is Greg Johnson. The story follows a “mad freshman” through the
wild world of New York nightlife, in pursuit of the “ultimate
education.” Talkington’s short films “Number One Fan” and “Second Skin
have won multiple awards, including wins at the Hamptons International,
Austin, New Orleans Film and Video and Polo Ralph Lauren/Columbia
University Film Festivals. In addition, “Second Skin” picked up the New
Line Cinema Development Award and Women in Film/Dallas Project
Scholarship. In addition, “Second Skin” was selected to screen in the
1999 Sundance Film Festival and Talkington was recently named one of
FILMMAKER Magazine’s “25 New Indie Faces.”

Chessman was recently promoted to Vice President, Creative Affairs at
Redeemable and her associate producing credits include Sarah
Kernochan’s “The Hairy Bird” (a.k.a. “Strike”) starring Gaby Hoffman,
Kirsten Dunst and Lynn Redgrave and Paul Auster’s “Lulu on the Bridge,”
starring Harvey Keitel and Mira Sorvino. Both films are due to be
released next year.

>> “Out of Sight” and Boorman Nab Beantown Honors

The late fall critics announcements continue with news of the Boston Society
of Film Critics choices for the best movies of 1998. Steven Soderbergh’s “Out
of Sight
” took the top prize, while John Boorman won the best director award,
according to Variety. Both films picked up additional awards with
Brendan Gleeson taking the best actor award for “The General” and Scott
Frank winning the best screenplay award for “Out of Sight.” Carine
Adler’s “Under the Skin” grabbed two prizes: the best actress award for
Samantha Morton and the best new filmmaker prize for Adler.

The award for best foreign language film went to Abbas Kiarostami’s
Taste of Cherry” from Iran, while the documentary prize went to Michael
Moore’s “The Big One.”

Supporting actor awards went to Billy Bob Thornton for “A Simple Plan
and Joan Allen for “Pleasantville.” Actor William H. Macy won an award
for his 1998 work: “Pleasantville,” “Psycho” and “A Civil Action“.
Meanwhile, the cinematography prize went to Janusz Kaminski for “Saving
Private Ryan
.” [Eugene Hernandez]


+ BIZ: “Monsters,” “Station” and “Blues” Named Top Board of Review Picks

>> Miramax Nabs “Everest” TV + Home Vid Rights, Inks Deal With X-Filme

Miramax signed two deals recently, picking up the worldwide television
and home video rights to MacGilivray Freeman Films‘ large-format film,
Everest,” and signing a development, co-production and first-look deal
with German production company, X-Filme Creative Pool.

“Everest” is currently playing in 84 IMAX and other large format
theaters, and has grossed more than $60 million, worldwide. The 44
minute, 70mm documentary is narrated by Liam Neeson and follows three
climbers as they made their ascent up the world’s tallest peak as part
of a 1996 expedition. The film follows three climbers: Jamling Tenzing
Norgay, the son of Tenzing Norgay, a legendary Sherpa climber; American
Ed Viesturs, who climbed without the benefit of supplemental oxygen, and
Araceli Segarra, the first Spanish woman to climb Everest. The film was
produced by Greg MacGilivray, Alec Lorimore and Stephen Judson.

Under the deal with X-Filme, Miramax will get an exclusive first look at
all properties owned, controlled or written by its members for
co-production and/or distribution. Miramax will also submit projects to
X-Film for its members to write, direct, produce or co-produce, in any
combination. The German company was founded in 1994 by producer Stefan
Arndt and writer/directors Wolfgang Becker, Dani Levy and Tom Tykwer.
Tykwer’s current film, “Run Lola Run,” i breaking box office records in
Germany, and was picked up for US distribution by Sony Pictures Classics
at the 1998 Toronto International Film Festival.

>> DGA Names Adler Assoc. National Director

The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has promoted DGA Western Executive
Director to the newly created post of Associate National Executive
Director, where he will become the DGA’s second highest ranking
executive, effective immediately. Adler joined the DGA in 1978 as
Associate General Counsel, after practicing law for five years following
his graduation from Harvard University and the University of Michigan
Law School. In 1981 he became Assistant Western Executive Director,
becoming Western Executive Director in 1990.

>> “Ryan” Tops L.A. Critics Picks, indies fare well

Indies fared well with the L.A. Film Critics Association, picking up a
number of awards, including best actress, actor, foreign film and
documentary, in the second of the many year-end awards lists. According
to published reports, Steven Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” picked up
best picture, director (Spielberg) and cinematographer (Janusz Kaminski)
honors, and the film is believed to be a strong contender for the Best
Picture Oscar to be awarded in March. The best actress pick was split
between indie fave Ally Sheedy for Lisa Cholodenko’s “High Art,” and
Fernanda Montenegro for her performance in Walter Salles’ “Central
.” Ian McKellen continued his run of end-of-the-year kudos,
picking up the best actor award for his performance in Bill Condon’s
Gods and Monsters.” McKellan also won best actor in last week’s
National Board of Review honors.

Joan Allen was honored as best supporting actress for her role in
Pleasantville,” while the supporting actor category was a tie, with
Billy Bob Thornton (“A Simple Plan”) and Bill Murray (“Rushmore” and
“Wild Things”) picking up awards. The best screenplay award went to
Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pisker for “Bulworth.” The New Generation award
went to Wes Anderson, the director of “Rushmore” and “Bottle Rocket” and
the documentary nod went to Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus’ “The Farm,”
which split the grad Jury Prize at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival.
October Films’ current release “The Celebration” by Danish director
Thomas Vinterberg picked up the best foreign film award, while Jeannine
Oppewall picked up the best production design award for
“Pleasantville.” The feature-length animation award went to John
Lasseter for “A Bug’s Life,” while the best short animation award was
given to Piet Kroon, for “T.R.A.N.S.I.T.” The best music/score award was
split between Elliot Goldenthal, for “The Butcher Boy,” and Carter
Burwell, for “Gods and Monsters.”

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