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Festival Briefs for the week 0f 02/08/99

Festival Briefs for the week 0f 02/08/99

Festival Briefs for the week 0f 02/08/99

Compiled by Eugene Hernandez

>> McCourts Set to Open NY Film Fleadh

The first Film Fleadh (Irish International Film Festival) in New York
will open with a screening of Conor McCourt’s documentary, “The McCourts
of New York
” — in advance of the movie’s debut on Cinemax on March
16th. The films is described by festival organizers as “a poignant yet
occasionally hilarious document of a family’s recovery from poverty and

The festival, set to run March 11 – 14, 1999 at the DGA Theater on 57th
St., will showcase “Irish and Irish-American filmmakers and filmmakers
of Irish descent living outside Ireland.” Eleven features and 11 short
films will screen during the event which boasts a board that includes:
Aidan Quinn, Jim Sheridan, Ed Burns, Michael Moore, Denis Leary, Bingham
Ray, Eamonn Bowles and T.C. Rice.

[For more information, visit the festival website at: or call 212/966-3030 x224.]

>> “Father” In, “Sister” Out at Santa Barbara Fest

Disney has pulled “The Other Sister” from its opening slot at the Santa
Barbara Film Festival because it has moved the film’s release date to an
earlier week. Replacing the film is Paul Quinn’s “This is My Father,”
which stars Aidan Quinn, James Caan, Stephen Rea, and John Cusack. The
film is a Sony Pictures Classics release.

>> Sundance Attendees Discuss ’99 Films

With the Sundance Film Festival ’99 a memory, and as attendees begin to
finally recover from that vicious Park City flu virus, a few folks are
starting to weigh in with their thoughts on the best and the worst that
the festival had to offer. Two films attracting the most attention on
the indieWIRE Park City Central discussion board so far are “The Blair
Witch Project
” and “Tumbleweeds.”

An aspiring filmmaker by the name of Brenda calls “Tumbleweeds”
“absolutely superb,” explaining, “It is so inspiring to me to watch an
independent film of this caliber. The woman who played the lead deserves
a “best actress” academy award for her performance.” A discussion board
poster by the name of Max agrees, writing, “Kudos to the Fine Line folks
for winning out on this amazing film. I heard all this buzz about Happy,
Texas, but when I saw it I thought it was just a very funny film…
nothing more. Tumbleweeds, however, is an absolutely brilliant film
which looks great and features some of the best performances I’ve seen
in ages.” Of course, not everyone loves the movie, Sky Hirschkron
states, “Honestly, I think it was pretty idiotic.”

As for “Blair Witch,” a participant by the name of Alan Smithee posted,
“It scared the livin’ shit out of me. If this isn’t the next midnight
special at campuses all over the country…” While Margaret Nolan wrote,
“I saw a screening of Blair Witch over three weeks ago in Orlando. Trust
me…it’s gonna continue to haunt you for weeks to come.”

As for other movies, Rita Michel touted Tim Roth’s “The War Zone,”
explaining that the movie “blew away everything that I saw in Park City.
The film is probably the most humane way of looking at a very difficult
subject – incest – that I’ve seen…This is one of the films that stays
with you long after you leave the theater. “

[The discussion continues in indieWIRE’s Park City Central discussion area]

>> IFP Repping Films for Cannes Fortnight ’99

For the tenth year, the IFP will be the official U.S. rep for the
Director’s Fortnight at the Cannes Film Festival. The organization
facilitates applications and preview screenings of films for the
section’s Marie-Pierre Macia. The showings will take place in NYC for
the first two weeks of March.

[For more information on eligibility requirements and other details,
contact the IFP at (212) 465-8200 ext. 226]

>> Bashirov, Achard and Nolan Take Top Rotterdam Fest Prize

Alexander Bashirov’s “The Iron Heel of Oligarchy” (Russia), Laurent
Achard’ s “Plus Qu’hier, Moins Que Demain” (France), and Christopher
Nolan’ s “Following” (Great Britain) were the recipients of the VPRO
Tiger Award, the top prize at Rotterdam Film Festival.

It took nearly 25 years for the Rotterdam International Film Festival to
launch a film competition award — the prize was started in 1995. The
1999 competition included 13 films from around the world — what the
festival calls, “the work of young filmmakers, whose presence at the
festival might otherwise remain unnoticed.” A $10,000 prize, donated by
the Dutch public broadcasting organization — VPRO — is awarded to each
of the three equal award winners.

Meanwhile, the festival’s Fipresci prize went to Sandrine Veysset’s for
Victor…Penant Qu’il Est Trop Tard” (France), while the KNF prize went
to Fernando Perez for “La Vida es Silbar” (Cuba), the NETPAC Award was
presented to Mani Kaul, “The Servant’s Shirt” (India), the “De Citroen
” went to Thomas Vinterberg for “Celebration” (Denmark),
and the Moviezone Award went to Vincent Gallo’ s “Buffalo ’66” (United

[For more information on the festival, visit the official website.]

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