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DAILY NEWS: Cannes Do; Sundance Nabs Cannes 2000 Film; Lake Placid Plans

DAILY NEWS: Cannes Do; Sundance Nabs Cannes 2000 Film; Lake Placid Plans

DAILY NEWS: Cannes Do; Sundance Nabs Cannes 2000 Film; Lake Placid Plans

by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE

>> CANNES 2001: Festival Opens with Dances of Death; from “Moulin Rouge” to Suicide

(indieWIRE/05.09.01) — Sunshine greeted early arrivals in Cannes yesterday
(Tuesday) — a welcome change for many here who were anticipating cool,
rainy weather.

For the thousands of industry professionals, journalists, filmmakers,
publicists and viewers descending upon the small patch of French Riviera
coastline this week, the waiting, the preparing, the nervous anticipation is
over; the 54th Cannes Film Festival finally opens tonight, appropriately
enough with Baz Luhrmann‘s Can Can musical “Moulin Rouge.” While the “Can” pun seems to befit the film’s inclusion in Cannes’ prestigious opening night
competition slot, the muddled grandiose previews for “Rouge” playing in
theaters across the U.S. to promote the film’s opening next Friday might
indicate otherwise.

In contrast to the inaugural dance, drink, and bacchanalia of Luhrmann’s
opener, the first few days of Cannes’ official selection screenings reek of
death. There’s enough suicide, murder, and mortality in the initial round of
competition entries to make anyone feel like sitting this dance out.
Following “Rouge,” the next competition screening goes to Japanese director
Hirokazu Kore-eda‘s “Distance.” If Kore-eda’s name sounds familiar, it’s
because his critically acclaimed previous films “Maborosi” (1996) and “After
” (1999) — about several employees of a transit station for the
recently deceased — won awards the world over and small distribution in the

“Distance” continues Kore-eda’s fascination with death. The film is about
four friends who have lost loved ones to result a religious cult’s mass
murder. They journey to the spot where the executions took place, and there,
according to the official synopsis, “their pilgrimage takes a strange
unexpected turn.” Playing in the competition along with “Distance” on
Thursday is Catalan filmmaker Marc Recha‘s “Pau I El Seu Germa” (“Pau and His Brother”), the story of Pau, a man who discovers his long lost brother
has committed suicide and his journey to rediscover his brother’s past.

If these journeys to the heart of darkness don’t suffice, there’s always the
original tale to fall back on, Francis Ford Coppola‘s “Apocalypse Now,”
screening this Friday, which has been newly refurbished and extended an hour
to a running time of 3 hours, 23 minutes. New footage includes the French
plantation scene; one of the last American camps deep in the jungle; an
earlier sequence that builds the Laurence Fishburne character; a speech by
Robert Duvall; and a scene with Marlon Brando‘s Kurtz reading Life magazine to Martin Sheen‘s Captain Willard. Miramax will release the new cut stateside in August.

Also on Friday, Iranian master Mohsen Makhmalbaf brings “Qandahar,” his 18th directorial outing to the competition and his second time competing as
a director (he also wrote and edited daughter Samira‘s 2000 award-winning
entry “Blackboards“). Another story dealing with suicide, “Qandahar” follows
Nafas, an Afghan journalist taking refuge in Canada, who discovers her
younger sister back home has decided to kill herself and travels to reach
her by crossing the Iran/Afghani border.

Taking our own trip to the Un Certain Regard sidebar — described by
festival organizers as particular strong this year, with entries that could
have made the main competition cut — add prolific Japanese auteur Kiyoshi
‘s latest, “Kairo,” to the morbid proceedings. When a computer
analyst is found hanging dead in his apartment, a colleague searches to find
the reason for his suicide, uncovering a deadly virus that is spreading
throughout Tokyo.

Also screening in Un Certain Regard in the fest’s first days is the
directorial debut of Wisit Sasanatieng, “Tears of the Black Tiger,” the
first film from Thailand to screen in the official selection. “Tears” has
lost 20 minutes, it has been reported, since it won the Dragons and Tigers
Award for Young Cinema at last year’s Vancouver Film Festival. Judging from
the advanced positive buzz on “Tears” and the recent worldwide success of
Aditya Assarat‘s Thai short film “Motorcycle,” it looks like Thailand may be
a new breeding ground for international talents. Un Certain Regard’s early
days will also see new films from downtown New York legend Abel Ferrara
(“RXmas“), “Ponette” director Jacques Doillon (“Carrement a L’ouest“), and first-time director Lisandro Alonso‘s, “La libertad,” which received high praise at its Buenos Aires Film Festival premiere last week.

Outside of the official selection, the Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des
Realisateurs) will open with “Martha, Martha,” the latest film from “Will
There Be Snow for Christmas?
” director Sandrine Veysset. Early Fortnight
screenings will also see Ethan Hawke‘s highly anticipated InDigEnt entry,
Chelsea Walls,” about a smattering of aspiring artists living at New York’s
legendary Chelsea Hotel. Lions Gate is set to release “Walls” in the fall.

Meanwhile, “The Biggest Film Market in the World,” according to its website,
the Cannes Market will also kick-off today (Wednesday), with screenings
starting at 11:30 AM and continuing non-stop throughout the day and late
into the evening. The maze-like market site at the Cannes Palais was still
undergoing major construction yesterday as participants hung banners and
contructed temporary walls for their temporary offices.

At the Cannes Market, in venues across town, one can find several entries
from this year’s official lineup, a number of films from last year’s
festival circuit still looking for international buyers (“Devils on the
,” “Seance,” “The Hundred Steps“), and some new, shall we say, less esteemed market premieres (“,” “Bad Actors – Dogme #16,” “The Legend of Ginko: Ginko Bed II“). In Cannes, dancing, death, auteur-driven and B-grade movies all go hand in hand. [Anthony Kaufman in
New York; Eugene Hernandez in Cannes contributed to this report.]

>> Michael Haneke’s “Code Inconnu” Acquired by Sundance Channel

(indieWIRE/05.09.01) — The Sundance Channel has acquired U.S. cable
broadcast rights to Austrian director Michael Haneke‘s 2000 Cannes
competition film, “Code Inconnu,” starring Juliette Binoche, and will
premiere the film on the network on July 6.

The movie will then be released theatrically in the fall by Leisure Time
. Haneke is competing again in Cannes this year with a second French
language film, “La Pianiste,” starring Isabelle Huppert. It currently does
not have U.S. distribution. [Anthony Kaufman]

>> Lake Placid Picks Pics and Participants for 2nd Outing

(indieWIRE/05.09.01) — “Do filmmakers have social responsibility?” is one
of the central topics for the second annual Lake Placid Film Forum (June
6-10), a conference and film festival that takes place in the Adirondack
resort village in upstate New York. This year’s Forum will also focus on the
“practical problems and impact of digital technologies on all aspects of
filmmaking,” according to an announcement yesterday (Tuesday). More than 32
features and documentaries will screen at the 5-day event, along with short
films and three films by teenagers, as part of the Adirondack Film Society‘s
Fledgling Film Program.

The festival will open with Ed Burn‘s “Sidewalks Of New York” and be
followed by a diverse program of dramatic features (John Cameron Mitchell‘s
Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” Eric Valli‘s “Himalaya,” Raoul Peck‘s “Lumumba,” to name a few) and documentaries (Mitko Panov‘s “Comrades,” Barbara Hammer‘s “Devotion,” Mira Nair‘s “The Laughing Club of India,” the world premiere of “Sounds Sacred,” director Barbara Rick‘s examination of sacred music, and many others.) A couple new digital features will also screen: in addition to Allison Ander‘s “Things Behind the Sun,” Jon Zeiderman‘s “Artifacts” and Josh Little and Calum Grant‘s “Ever Since the World Ended” are also on tap.

Most notable at the Forum, however, are the panels, discussions and master
classes. Some highlights this year are sure to be “Real to Reel: When Does
Creativity Become a Lie?
,” “Where Are the Women? Or Climbing Out of the Girl
,” “Can Movies Think? The Dumbing Down of American Movies,” and “Back to the Future: Is It Too Soon to Pronounce Film Dead?” Guests include
Kimberly Peirce, Allison Anders, Lisa Cholodenko, Liz Manne, John Irving, Michael Barker, and Alison Maclean, among others. The festival will also tribute producer-director Norman Jewison.

There’s also classes in producing with Ben Barenholtz and Ezra Swerdlow,
directing with Robert Downey, Sr. and Albert Maysles, a seminar on
adaptation with Russell Banks and Stephen Schiff, pitching tactics with
Eamonn Bowles, The Internet and the Independent Filmmaker with Jamie Levy and indieWIRE’s Eugene Hernandez, just to name a few.

Founded by Artist and Executive Director Naj Wikoff, Film Critic and
Artistic Director Kathleen Carroll, and Novelist and Artistic Advisor
Russell Banks “to advance the human experience through film and the
electronic media,” the Forum was created under the aegis of the Adirondack
Film Society, an organization begun to celebrate and encourage the art of
film. [Anthony Kaufman]

[For more information, call 877/609-3456, or visit:]

>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: Sony Gets Doc; Nantucket Fest Plans; Swedish Director Dies and Williamsburg Fest

(indieWIRE/05.8.01) — Sony Classics has nabbed the rights to the
award-winning Sundance 2001 doc, “Dogtown and Z-Boys.” Meanwhile, the
Nantucket Film Festival announces its lineup, a Swedish Director Dies and
Williamsburg Fest Blues.”


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