DAILY NEWS UPDATE: IFC Distribution Company and Other Late News; ALWAYSi Reps Market Film; AtomFilm and VW's "Journey" and Björk's Night in NYC
by Eugene Hernandez and Jeffrey M. Barker/indieWIRE
>> ALERT: IFC Announces Theatrical Distribution Company; Up To a Dozen Films to Fill Annual Pipeline
(indieWIRE/ 9.25.00) — The Independent Film Channel (IFC) has announced its long-anticipated theatrical distribution company. Distribution veteran Bob Berney is joining the company to head the new division. He will serve as Senior Vice President of Marketing and Distribution.
An announcement today indicated that the distribution arm will release 10 – 12 films per year, culled from in-house productions and acquisitions. [Eugene Hernandez]
[A complete story will be published in the next edition of indieWIRE.]
>> BRIEFLY: Lions Gate Confirms Plans to Release Toronto Films, “Chasing Sleep” and “Bruiser”
(indieWIRE/ 9.25.00) — According to a report in today’s Hollywood Reporter, Lions Gate Films has confirmed its acquisitions of Michael Walker’s “Chasing Sleep” and George Romero’s “Bruiser.” Both films have been in the company’s sights since their screenings at the recent Toronto Internatinal Film Festival.
Lions Gate, which is finalizing its acquisition of Trimark and planning for a major executive shift to Los Angeles, closed deals on three other films in Toronto, including Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Weight of Water,” Alejandro Gonzalez Innaritu’s “Amores Perros” and Bryan Johnson’s “Vulgar.” [Eugene Hernandez]
>> BRIEFLY: Dennis O’Connor Named VP at New Universal Specialty Division
(indieWIRE/ 9.25.00) — According to a report in today’s Hollywood Reporter, former Trimark executive Denis O’Connor will serve as the VP of distribution at Universal Studios’ new specialty arm, Universal Focus.
Next month, the Indiewood company is releasing “Billy Elliot,” a film that was popular at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> ALWAYSi Repping Strom’s Market Film, Aiming At First Full-Fledged Offline Venture
(indieWIRE/ 9.25.00) — A wide theatrical release is only the first of many
goals ALWAYSi has planned for “On the QT,” the Yale Storm-directed feature
it picked up at last week’s IFP Market in New York.
The highly-regarded online resource and catalog to the independent film
world will represent “On the QT” as its sales agent. In what is arguably the
company’s most visible venture offline, ALWAYSi will seek distribution for
the film, starring James Earl Jones, from video and DVD releases to deals
with cable stations.
“We want to get a theatrical release,” said Gary Zeidenstein, ALWAYSi’s
co-founder who is now in charge of content and acquisition. “We know it has
potential — with the cast and content.” Zeidenstein said that making moves
into the traditional film world was always in the game plan for ALWAYSi.
Only recently has a film representation division been formalized within the
company. In the few weeks ALWAYSi has been representing films as a sales
agent, it has gotten distribution for seven of them through cable outlets.
What is unique about ALWAYSi’s approach to film representation is the
non-exclusive agreement it enters into with filmmakers.
ALWAYSi is not a film’s sole decision-maker. Most notably, a filmmaker must
approve a distribution deal before ALWAYSi will agree to it.
Picked up by ALWAYSi at last week’s Independent Feature Project Market in
Manhattan, “On the QT” tells the story of a subway-platform violinist
struggling to make his way into the high-caliber music world. The film was
directed by Yale Storm, award-winning director of the documentary-trilogy
“At the Crossroads: The Last Klezmer,” and “Carpati: 50 Miles 50 Years.” It
was co-written by Storm and Elizabeth Schwartz. [Jeffrey M. Barker]
>> AtomFilms and VW Open Doors For Makers of Online Film…and They Take a Road Trip
(indieWIRE/ 9.25.00) — Volkswagen of America and AtomFilms will announce today their corporate-sized thumbs up to the online film industry: an
alliance aiming to revamp VW.com and to sponsor several Atom endeavors.
In a vote of confidence for the online film world reaching far past the
simple purchase of a banner ad, Volkswagen will feature 60 short films —
10 different shorts each month for the next six months — on its site.
Attempting to create a more entertainment-based site, VW will host some of
Atom’s lifestyle-based films: “Kung Pao Chicken” and episodes of Aardman