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DAILY NEWS: “Believer” Deal; “Vengo” Pact; Cannes Thoughts; Chicago Latino Fest; and OUTFEST Honor

DAILY NEWS: "Believer" Deal; "Vengo" Pact; Cannes Thoughts; Chicago Latino Fest; and OUTFEST Honor

DAILY NEWS: "Believer" Deal; "Vengo" Pact; Cannes Thoughts; Chicago Latino Fest; and OUTFEST Honorees

by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE with a report from Gabe Klinger

>> Showtime Nabs “The Believer,” 2001 Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner; Fall Theatrical Release Being Negotiated

(indieWIRE/04.20.01) — Showtime has acquired Henry Bean‘s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, “The Believer.” The movie, which stars Ryan Gosling, will have its North American premiere on the cable network in September. The limited window release on the cable network is expected to precede a
theatrical run, according to Peter Hoffman, President of Seven Arts
. Hoffman told indieWIRE yesterday that negotiations are underway
with Shooting Gallery for a theatrical release later this fall, adding that
another distribution company is also being considered.

The film will have a theatrical life only after it first airs on Showtime, a
rep for the cable channel told indieWIRE yesterday. Showtime made the deal
with Fireworks Pictures, which co-financed the movie. Susan Hoffman, also of Seven Arts, co-produced the movie with Christopher Roberts.

“The Believer,” the story of a Jewish Yeshiva student who transforms into
the leader of a Neo-Nazi skinhead leader, provoked strong reactions at
Sundance where Gosling’s starring role as the film’s lead, Danny Balint, was
heralded by audiences and critics alike. Also featured in the film are
Summer Phoenix (“The Faculty“), Theresa Russell (“Wild Things“) and Billy Zane.

“We are supremely proud of the picture and are delighted that so many people
will have the opportunity to see the film on Showtime,” commented Fireworks
Pictures President Daniel Diamond in a prepared statement.

Peter Hoffman of Seven Arts indicated that the film’s theatrical debut is
expected to incorporate a limited release that begins in Chicago, Los
Angeles and New York. [Eugene Hernandez]

>> Code Red Dances with Gatlif’s “Vengo”

(indieWIRE/04.20.01) — Code Red has acquired U.S. rights to “Vengo,” the
latest movie from Gypsy director Tony Gatlif (“Latcho Drom,” “Gadjo Dilo“), and will distribute the film through Cowboy Releasing this fall.
Inter-cutting images of the Andalusian plains with intricate shots of
flamenco dancers, “Vengo,” which closed last year’s Venice Film Festival,
tells the story of a blood feud raging between two families.

“We intend to build on the foundation of the fans of Tony’s past films and
find new audiences for this unique combination of music, dance and
passionate drama,” commented Code Red partner John Vanco in a prepared
statement. “If we can reach out to the audiences who love Carlos Saura‘s
great dance films with the ‘Buena Vista Social Club‘ crowd, I think we can
find a large, appreciative audience for this wonderful film.”

The movie’s U.S. theatrical premiere will take place on August 31st at The
Screening Room
in New York. Code Red recently announced the acquisition of
Kiyoshi Kurosawa‘s “Cure,” which they will release this summer. Other Code Red/Cowboy titles include “George Washington” and the upcoming “In the Winter Dark.” [Anthony Kaufman]

>> Godard vs. Shrek; Cannes’ Wide World of Film

(indieWIRE/04.20.01) — Jean-Luc Godard vs. Dreamworks‘ “Shrek” — it’s a match-up one could only find at the Cannes Film Festival. Godard’s
competition entry “Eloge de l’Amour” (“In Praise of Love”) skewers his
nemesis at Dreamworks: one of his new film’s plots concerns two WWII
resistance veterans whose life story Steven Spielberg wants to make into a
movie (Godard is well-known for his criticism of Spielberg’s “Schindler’s
“). Who will come out on top: French art film or Hollywood blockbuster?
We can only wait and see when the 54th edition of the fest runs May 9-20.

While Godard need not worry too much about the animated “Shrek,” directed by
two first-timers, several seasoned directors will be hitting the Croisette
with major new works. Fellow New Waver Jacques Rivette (“Va Savoir“), the Coens (“The Man Who Wasn’t There“), David Lynch (“Mulholland Drive“), Mohsen Makhmalbaf (“Kandahar“), Manoel de Oliveira (“I Return Home“), and a handful of Asian masters are set, among them Hou Hsiao-hsien (“Millennium Mambo“),
Tsai Ming-liang (“What Time is It There?“), and Japanese director Shohei Imamura (“Lukewarm Water Under the Bridge“) who won the Golden Palm in 1997 for “The Eel.” Challenging such notables is the surprising inclusion of
Bosnian first-time feature director Danis Tanovic, with his Yugoslav war
film, “No Man’s Land.”

This year’s official selection was whittled down from 1,798 submissions (854
features, 944 shorts), a whopping 29% increase from last year. Judging the
22 films that made the competition cut will be jury head Liv Ullman,
actresses Charlotte Gainsbourg, Sandrine Kiberlain and Julia Ormond, directors Moufida Tlatli, Mimmo Calopresti, Terry Gilliam, Edward Yang, filmmaker-actor Matthew Kassovitz and French writer Philippe Labro.

More than years past, Americans are well represented across the fests’
sections. Notable world premieres in the Un Certain Regard sidebar include
opener Abel Ferrara‘s “R-Xmas,” which is available for U.S. distribution
from Studio-Canal, Todd Solondz‘ “Storytelling,” starring James Van Der Beek and Heather Matarazzo in a not-for-prime-time high school story (Fine Line), Hal Hartley‘s “No Such Thing” (formerly “Monster”), starring Sarah Polley (United Artists), and Jennifer Jason Leigh and Alan Cumming‘s digital video debut “The Anniversary Party” (Fine Line), Michel Gondry‘s “Human Nature” (Fine Line) and Roman CoppolaCQ” (United Artists) will premiere out of competition.

In Thursday’s announcement, organizers made special note of a strong
Japanese presence at this year’s fest. In addition to Imamura’s competition
slot, Shinji Aoyama (“Eureka“) returns with “Desert Moon,” and “After Life” director Kore-eda Hirokazu will compete with “Distance.” Un Certain Regard will showcase three more Japanese titles, including the latest from prolific auteur Kiyoshi Kurosawa, “Kairo.” A special midnight screening of Mamoru Oshii‘s epic “Avalon” is also set, which Miramax recently acquired.

Acquisitions business at this year’s fest should yield some surprises. With
most North American films already sold, not a single UK feature in the
official selection, and the possibility of strikes still lurking, domestic
distribs will be looking to accessible foreign fare to fill release slates.
Expect Cedric Kahn‘s serial murder suspenser “Roberto Succo” to be on
industry radar — the same for Claire Denis‘ conspiracy drama “Trouble
,” starring Tricia Vessey, Beatrice Dalle, and Vincent Gallo; Catherine Corsini‘s “The Rehearsal,” with Emmanuel Beart; “Ponette” director Jacques Doillon‘s “Carrement a l’Ouest“; and Italy’s recent Best Picture winner “The Son’s Room,” from favorite son Nanni Moretti, who garnered a Cannes Jury Prize and Fine Line release for 1994’s “Caro Diario.”

Special screenings at the fest include three anticipated documentaries:
Abbas Kiarostami‘s examination of the AIDS crisis “ABC Africa“; Claude
‘s look at the October 1943 Jewish uprising at the Sobibor
concentration camp; and Martin Scorsese‘s ongoing Italian cinema chronicle.
Italy will also be celebrated at Cannes with a special tribute to “Bicycle
” director Vittorio de Sica, who would have turned 100 this year. A
retrospective, “The Golden Age of American Comedy” will also screen and an
international symposium on the theme “transmitting knowledge and love of
cinema,” will take place on May 16, uniting various members of the film
industry, along with a special film class given by Wong Kar-wai. [Anthony

Links to the complete Cannes lineup follow:

l”>Competition || href=”/onthescene/fes_01Cannes_010419_OutCom.htm
l”>Out of Competition

l”>Un Certain Regard || href=”/onthescene/fes_01Cannes_010419_SpecSe.htm
l”>Special Sessions

l”>Shorts || href=”/onthescene/fes_01Cannes_010419_Cinefo.htm
l”>Cinefondation || href=”/onthescene/fes_01Cannes_010419_Retro.html

>> Chicago Latino Film Fest hosts Ripstein and 13 Premieres

(indieWIRE/04.20.01) — The Chicago Latino Film Festival opens tonight
(Friday) with Juan Carlos Tabío‘s “Waiting List,” closes with the Chilean hit “Coronación” (Coronation), and features a special evening with guest honoree Arturo Ripstein. Alongside 50-plus guests, Luis Felipe Tovar and Paz Alicia Garciadiego, Ripstein’s lead actor and screenwriter, respectively,
will also be in town. The program offers a mini-retrospective of the
renowned Mexican director’s work, including his two latest, “Such is Life
and “The Ruination of Men.” “Ripstein is only 57-years-old. Given his age,
he has been extremely productive and creative, an inspirational figure in
Latin American cinema,” commented festival director Pepe Vargas. “The idea
of this event is to serve the community in showing a unified vision of what
it means to be Latino. Ripstein is one of the best.”

While the recent U.S. Census results might have dictated the “Made in
” programs, categories like “The Jewish Experience” and “Cross
Cultural Perspective
” reveal the festival’s more worldly ambitions. As noted
in the catalogue, “[We] bring you some of the best Latino films the globe
has to offer.”

Over 15 countries are represented, with 13 American premieres, including
Maria de Madeiros‘ acclaimed “April Captains.” With about a dozen
after-parties scattered around town, the festival’s “Cha-Cha schedule” makes
for an exhausting extension to the daytime activities. The festival runs
through May 2. [Gabe Klinger]

[For more information, visit:]

>> OUTFEST Names Redgrave and Downey, Jr. Recipients of New Awards

(indieWIRE/04.20.01) — Vanessa Redgrave and Robert Downey, Jr., have been named the recipients of first Outfest Screen Idol Award, prizes created by
Los Angeles’ Gay and Lesbian Film Festival to recognize performances in a
gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered role on film or television. Redgrave
is being honored for role in HBO‘s “If These Walls Could Talk 2,” while
Downey is being recognized for his role in “Wonder Boys.” The winners were
determined by balloting online after nominees were chosen by OUTFEST

“We are thrilled to present the first annual OUTFEST Screen Idol Awards to
two such highly respected, critically admired actors as Vanessa Redgrave and
Robert Downey, Jr.,” commented OUTFEST’s Executive Director Stephen
said in a prepared statement. “The overwhelmingly positive public
response to the creation of the awards, and the number of people who
participated in the voting process, far exceeded our expectations.” The
awards will be presented at a ceremony, with a date and time to be
announced, while OUTFEST 2001 will run July 12 – 23 in Los Angeles.
[Eugene Hernandez]

[For more information on OUTFEST, visit:]

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