Back to IndieWire

Biz Briefs for the Week of 02/08/99

Biz Briefs for the Week of 02/08/99

Compiled by Eugene Hernandez

>> Centropolis Launches “Making Film” Site

Centropolis Interactive, the online division of “Godzilla” and “ID4” makers Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich’s Centropolis Entertainment, has
launched a new site for filmmakers — The site features a film festival
database, news bits, a job board, a production directory with links to
an array of unions, production companies, agencies, etc., along with a
glossary and a report on the latest script sales.

>> Oscar Noms Are Somewhat Indie

After CNN broadcast yesterday morning’s Academy Award nominations to the
world, network commentators proclaimed this another “year of the indie”
— touting the 13 nominations for “Shakespeare in Love.” Of course,
Shakespeare in Love,” a Universal Pictures/Miramax Films/Bedford Falls
production could hardly be considered an indie production, but there
were a few stand out “truly indie” nominations.

Roberto Benigni’s acclaimed “Life is Beautiful” which was a big winner
at Cannes, nabbed seven nominations including TWO top film nods — one
for Best Picture and one for Best Foreign Language Film, the fist time
this has happened since 1969, when Constantin Costa-Gavras’ “Z” received
both nods. Benigni himself received three individual nominations — for
acting, writing and directing.

Gods and Monsters,” a Regent Entertainment production distributed by
Lions Gate, earned three nominations — one each for actors Ian McKellan
and Lynn Redgrave and a nod for Bill Condon’s screenplay. The film
debuted at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival. Also from Lions Gate and
Sundance ’98 is Paul Schrader’s “Affliction,” which grabbed two
nominations — one each for actors Nick Nolte and James Coburn.

Two other films from Park City are the 1999 Sundance award winner,
Regret to Inform,” by Barbara Sonnenborn and Janet Cole, as well as Liz
Garbus and Jonathan Stack’s “The Farm” — award-winner at the 1998
Sundance Film Festival. Both were nominated in the documentary
category. “The Farm”, which premiered last year at Film Forum in New
York, was joined in the category by Matthew Diamond’s “Dancemaker,”
which opens at Film Forum in a few weeks — it screened in the fall at
the 1998 Hamptons International Film Festival. Other doc nominees are
The Last Days” by James Moll and Ken Lipper, which was recently
acquired by October Films, and Robert Weide’s “Lenny Bruce: Swear to
Tell the Truth

In the foreign language category, Walter Salles’ “Central Station” — a
Sony Classics Release — was hardly a surprise inclusion. The film has
won awards at film festival’s around the world since its debut at
Sundance in ’98. The Arthur Cohn production was also nominated in the
Best Actress category for Fernanda Montenegro. However, what was
surprising was the exclusion of Thomas Vinterberg’s “The Celebration.”
The Cannes ’98 debut was a fixture on numerous end of the year top ten
lists, but was surprisingly ignored by the Academy. Joining “Central
Station” and Italy’s “Life is Beautiful,” was the Spanish film, “The
“, and “Children of Heaven” from Iran, along with Carlos
Saura’s “Tango” from Argentina — a Sony Pictures Classics release that
was acquired at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival.

[The Full List of Oscar Nominees is available at]

>> Indie Rock?

“More Rock, Less Talk” exclaimed an email message promoting this
Saturday’s gig by “The Martinets” at Brownies. Who are The Martinets you
ask? They are: Dave Rick on bass, Roger Murdock on drums, Daniel Rey on
guitar and finally, on guitar and singing — The Shooting Gallery’s
Eamonn Bowles.

>> Next Wave Now Online

Promoting “the alternative universe of filmmaking”, Next Wave Films has
launched its new website. In addition to
a offering handful of articles and resources, the site allows filmmakers
the opportunity to submit films to the company tracking database or
apply for finishing funds. Next Wave provides finishing funds and
serves as a producers rep for feature films. A company of the
Independent Film Channel, Next Wave recently announced that it is
creating a division — Agenda 2000 — to finance digital features.

>> DGA Announces Doc Nominees

The Directors Guild of America has announced the nominees for
Directorial Achievement in Documentary for 1998, recognizing 7 directors
for their work on five projects. Jerry Blumenthal, Peter Gilbert, and
Gordon Quinn received their first DGA Award nomination for “Vietnam:
Long Time Coming
,” a Seventh Arts Releasing film. Also nominated for
the first time were Susan Lacy for the American Masters program, “Leonard
Bernstein: Reaching for the Note
,” Nigel Noble for the Great
Performances program, “Porgy and Bess: An American Voice,” and Kyra
Thompson for the TBS production, “Dying to Tell the Story.” Rounding out
the nominations was Matthew Diamond for “Dancemaker,” an Artistic
release. Diamond has been nominated twice for a DGA Award, both
times in the Musical Variety category. The awards will be presented on
March 6th.

>> Underground “All-Stars” Selected to Receive FilmCore Production Fund

FilmCore, the organization behind the New York Underground Film
Festival, has announced the recipients of its second annual FilmCore
Post Production Fund. The winners are a trio of filmmakers the group
calls “underground all-stars.” Selected for the 1999 fund from among
the 200 entries were Todd Verow for “The Trouble with Perpetual
,” Craig Baldwin for “Spectres of the Spectrum,” and Martha
Colburn for “I Can’t Keep Up.” Each filmmaker receives a cash award
ranging from $300 – $1,000, as well as in kind awards donated by the
Filmmakers Collaborative.

Verow’s “The Trouble with Perpetual Deja-Vu,” the final installment in
the filmmaker’s ‘Addiction Trilogy’, is a digital video feature that
will have its world premiere as the closing night film for the next
month’s New York Underground Film Festival (NYUFF). Verow, director of
Frisk,” is a Boston-based filmmaker who premiered “Shucking the Curve
at last year’s NYUFF. Baldwin, a San Francisco based maker, is the
curator of Other Cinema and director of such movies as “Tribulation 99
and “Sonic Outlaws.” And Martha Colburn is has screened her work at a
number of museums and festivals and will present a selection of new work
at the 1999 NYUFF.

“Back in the old days, underground filmmakers could just sell drugs to
fund their movies,” commented NYUFF Director Ed Halter in a prepared
statement, “We’re here to fill that need today, by funding artists on
the fringe who push filmmaking in new and exciting directions.”

>> Sundance Channel Set with Premieres of “Snow” and “Me & Will”

The Sundance Channel has acquired Melissa Behr and Sherrie Rose’s “Me &
” and Eric Tretbar’s “Snow” and will present the world premieres of
those films on the Channel this Spring. “Snow,” which is Tretbar’s
second feature, debuted at last year’s Los Angeles Independent Film
Festival and also screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
“Me & Will” is a road movie that will screen as part of the Channel’s
“She Said Cinema,” a spotlight of 20 filmmakers from 10 countries.

Also premiering as part of the “She Said” showcase is Alisa Lebow and
Cynthia Madansky’s documentary, “Treyf.” Diane Kurys’ “Six Days, Six
” will have its U.S. premiere on the series, as will Gillian
Armstrong’s “Not 14 Again.” Among the other films set to show in the
series are Susan Seidelman’s “Smithereens” and “Desperately Seeking
,” Chantal Ackerman’s “A Couch in New York,” Kelly Reichardt’s
River of Grass” and Doris Dorrie’s “Nobody Loves Me.”

>> Bindler’s “Hands” Makes NYC Debut

S.R. “Rob” Bindler’s acclaimed documentary “Hands on a Hardbody” made
its long awaited New York City debut this weekend, nearly two years
after premiering at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. An audience award
winner at New York’s Gen Art Film Festival, the Austin Film Festival and
the AFI Los Angeles Film Festival, the doc is being released by Legacy.

Following Friday night’s sold-out shows at Manhattan’s Village East
Cinemas, filmmaker Rob Bindler and “Hardbody” producer Chapin Wilson
gathered with friends at a spacious apartment in SoHo for a premiere
celebration. Attendees poured over copies of the film’s stellar reviews
and a host of New York based Texas filmmakers — Amy Talkington (“Second
Skin”), George Ratliff (“Purgatory County”) and FILMMAKER Magazine’s
Mike Jones — swapped stories about the Lone Star State and toasted
Bindler & Wilson.

Wilson told indieWIRE that “Hands on a Hardbody” has been a mainstay at
Austin’s Dobie Theater for over 30 weeks and counting — while Bindler
added that the film is also currently on screens in Houston and San
Antonio, TX. 8 prints are currently in release and the film has grossed
over $260,000 according to the filmmakers.

>> Don Roos and Bill Condon are Among WGA Nominees

Catching up with an important guild nomination ahead of tomorrow
morning’s Oscar nominations, last week the Writers Guild announced
nominees for its 1998 screenwriting awards with indie scribes Don Roos
and Bill Condon receiving acclaim.

In the original screenplay category along with Don Roos (“The Opposite
of Sex”), are Warren Beatty and Jeremy Pikser (“Bulworth”), Robert Rodat
(“Saving Private Ryan”), Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard (“Shakespeare in
Love”), and Andrew Niccol (“The Truman Show”). Meanwhile, in the
adapted screenplay category along with Bill Condon (“Gods and
Monsters”), are Steve Zaillian (“A Civil Action”), Scott Frank (“Out of
Sight”), Elaine May (“Primary Colors”), and Scott B. Smith (“A Simple
Plan”). The winners will be announced on February 20th.

Roos and Condon took their respective films to the 1998 Sundance Film
Festival. “Sex” was in the festival’s Premieres section, while
“Monsters” screened in the fest’s American Spectrum.

>> Oops! Sorry Tignini!

A representative of the JET Film Company contacted indieWIRE by email
this weekend to correct the item about the film “Jerome” which will is
traveling to Berlin under the auspices of the IFP Abroad program. It
seems that we left out Eric Tignini as one of the directors of the
film. Tignini made the movie with Tom Johnston and David Elton. We
regret the omission.

>> SUBMIT information for briefs by email:




Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

This Article is related to: News and tagged