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DAILY NEWS: “Girlfight” Night; Ft. Lauderdale Fest Lineup; Another Letter about AtomFilms and VW

DAILY NEWS: "Girlfight" Night; Ft. Lauderdale Fest Lineup; Another Letter about AtomFilms and VW

DAILY NEWS: "Girlfight" Night; Ft. Lauderdale Fest Lineup; Another Letter about AtomFilms and VW

by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

>> Michelle Rodriguez and Karyn Kusama Step Into The Spotlight at New York Premiere

Karyn Kusama (left) and Michelle Rodriguez at the Ziegfeld Theater in Manhattan

Photo by: Greg Varhely/Bravo Networks

(indieWIRE/ 9.29.00) — Commenting on the opening scene of “Girlfight” in today’s review, New York Times film critic A.O. Scott writes, “It’s a riveting, iconic moment, a glimpse into the soul of an angry, proud young woman. The shot also introduces a powerful, extraordinarily gifted young actress: Michelle Rodriguez. Remember the name.”

“Girlfight,” arguably one of the most acclaimed indie films from this year’s festival circuit, celebrated today’s theatrical debut with a party in New York City on Wednesday night and it was clearly star Michelle Rodriguez and writer/director Karyn Kusama‘s night.

Co-star Santiago Douglas at the “Girlfight” party

Photo by: Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

Guests gathered for the gala premiere at Manhattan’s Ziegfeld Theater, followed by a party at the spankin’ new Sports Club LA in Rockefeller Center. Kusama and Rodriguez joined a number of people who are behind the movie. Spotted in the crowd on Wednesday night were executive producers John Sayles, and from the IFC, Jonathan Sehring and Caroline Kaplan, producers Sarah Green and Maggie Renzi from Green/Renzi Productions, and attorney John Sloss. Other notables included actress Frances McDormand and actor Vin Diesel.

Kusama’s father snapped shots at the party with a disposable camera, while indieWIRE roamed with its own digital camera. Guests sipped colorful hybrid martinis and sampled mini-burgers, fries, popcorn and other snacks.

Producer Gill Holland (“Spring Forward”) and Screen Gems’ Exec VP Valerie Van Galder

Photo by: Brian Brooks/indieWIRE

DJ Funk Master Flex kept the crowd moving and once lead actor Santiago Douglas and friends began dancing, it was only a matter of time before most of the crowd was on the dance floor.

“The movie belongs to Rodriguez,” continues A.O. Scott in today’s review, “With her slightly crooked nose and her glum, sensual mouth, she looks a little like Marlon Brando in his smoldering prime, and she has some of his slow, intense physicality. She doesn’t so much transcend gender as redefine it.”

Screen Gems is opening the movie today. indieWIRE first published a profile of Kusama and the movie on the first day of the Sundance Film Festival and today we are publishing an interview with Karyn Kusama. [Eugene Hernandez]


+ INTERVIEW: Karyn Kusama, Insert Boxing Cliche Here

+ PARK CITY 2000 INTERVIEW: The Freshman Class, 3 Filmmakers Share the Fears and Thrills of Attending Their First Sundance

>> Ft. Lauderdale Fest Unveils Film Lineup

(indieWIRE/ 9.29.00) — The Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival has announced its roster of over 100 films including four world premieres and14 U.S. premieres for its 15th annual event. Opening the Festival, which runs from October 16th through November 12th (the world’s longest according to the Guiness Book of World Records), is “Il Cielo Cade” (“The Sky is Falling”) directed by Adrea and Antonio Frazzi and starring Isabella Rossellini. Also on opening night, director John Waters will make a special presentation preceding the screening. Scheduled world premieres include “Herman USA,” “Sleep Easy,” “Hutch Rimes,” and “The Code Conspiracy.” Other highlights include a tribute to George Sidney who will receive the Robert Wise Director of Distinction Award. Sidney has directed over 50 films including “Bye Bye Birdie” and “Ziegfeld.”

Other Festival screenings include David Mamet‘s “State and Main,” “The Yards” from James Gray and “About Adam” by Gerard Stembridge. Closing the Festival are two very different films, “Shadow of the Vampire” by E. Elias Merhige and starring Willem Dafoe and John Malkovich as well as “Fast Food, Fast Women” by director Amos Kollek starring Anna Thomson. [Brian Brooks]

>> LETTER IN RESPONSE TO: A Response From Atom Films Regarding: AtomFilms and VW Open Doors For Makers of Online Film…and They Take a Road Trip

I was gratified to read Patrick Long’s plug for “Spring Forward” and though I agree with much of what he has to say, I believe he is confused about a number of things.

First off, as a point of clarification, the industry we at IFC (and I believe HBO) are in is the entertainment industry. Personally, when I seek out film or music on the web, television, or on a radio, my first stop isn’t an auto manufacturer’s web site (but I do think that new Jaguar concert film featuring Sting has some pretty catchy tunes).

Corporations such as Texaco sponsoring a radio broadcast (which, incidentally, one listens to over our grandparents favorite form of entertainment – the radio – and not over Texaco’s web site) and corporate partners aligning themselves with arts groups is good for both the arts groups and the corporations. It is the culmination of these marriages which allow the folks on Madison Avenue to exist.

It is perfectly fine for Atom and VW to become involved in a corporate venture. The partnership announcement is great for both brands. To claim it is something more than a benefit to the VW and Atom brands is silly. Is it about the filmmaker and new platforms, well, unless the new VW has a monitor and wireless internet access next to the bud vase, I don’t think so. Tom was correct in his assessment of the deal.

Aside from the major shareholders in Atom, and VW accessing all those Dockers-clad film school students looking to own their first car, I don’t see how anyone can claim this is blowing apart any model. What filmmaker is making money off of this deal? Will anyone ever remember the films they saw on VW’s site?

Wall Street keeps asking the right question – how do you make money off the Web? Traditional ways, such as advertising revenue, seem to be the logical answer. Nothing is wrong with ad revenue, it is how they reached our grandparents on the radio. Incidentally, my grandfather had some of the coolest tattoos I have ever seen.

Jonathan Sehring

[Jonathan Sehring is the president of IFC Entertainment and an executive producer of “Spring Forward.”]

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