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DAILY NEWS: Godard Speaks; Amin Forms Company; L.A. Asian Fest; and Hartley Merrill Prize

DAILY NEWS: Godard Speaks; Amin Forms Company; L.A. Asian Fest; and Hartley Merrill Prize

DAILY NEWS: Godard Speaks; Amin Forms Company; L.A. Asian Fest; and Hartley Merrill Prize

by Eugene Hernandez, Anthony Kaufman/indieWIRE

>> CANNES 2001: An Hour with Godard (and a roomful of journalists)

(indieWIRE/05.16.01) — Jean-Luc Godard enters a room here in France and the
stereotypically cynical media applaud. “In Godard there is God,” is how
press conference moderator Henri Behar introduced the director, referring to
a comment from an American journalist earlier in the day.

The French New Wave maverick spent an hour with the media yesterday
(Tuesday) to discuss his competition film, “Eloge de l’Amour” (In Praise of
Love), a rare chance for most journalists here, since Godard is said to be
only granting interviews to Russian and Czech writers.

Entering the room, Godard skipped the traditional pre-conference photo-op,
much to the chagrin of the large group of gathered photographers. Sitting
down quickly without acknowledging the horde of cameras before him, Godard
was also joined by others involved with the film, but no member of the press
directed a question to anyone but the auteur.

The discussion began by touching upon the Internet and email, technologies
that Godard says he has not embraced, stating simply, “I still have a very
old typewriter. Typewriters were invented for blind people, so that is
exactly what I need.” The fact that he does not use the Internet would be a
recurring comment. Another frequent subject touched upon by Godard was
television, a medium that, in the mind of the director, is better suited for
coverage of live events. “Television does not produce anything — films are
produced to be distributed.”

When asked by another writer if he ever considered returning to the role of
film critic (the filmmaker was a writer at Cahiers du Cinema), Godard
responded, “Yes, very often, but you don’t swim twice in the same water.”
Continuing he offered without a grin, “I am afraid that I might say nasty

Godard is critical of the changes in the movies over the past few decades,
specifically singling out filmmaking from Hollywood. “Nothing has changed
since the advent of cinematography — I thought that filmmaking was to show
things big and in a very different way. That didn’t really succeed.”

Seeking a quip to fuel an apparently lingering rivalry, a few journalists
tried to get Godard to criticize director Steven Spielberg. “I am not very
fond of his films,” Godard said. He explained, however, that the only way he
could imagine critiquing the American director would be if he were to sit in
a screening room watching a Spielberg film so that he could stop the movie
at points and offer his views.

It will, of course, be interesting to see if Godard remains so silent should
his “L’Amour” lose the Palme d’Or to “Shrek,” a film from Spielberg’s
Dreamworks studio. [Eugene Hernandez]

>> Former Trimark Exec Launches Sobini Films; Maintains Ties to Lions Gate

(indieWIRE/05.15.01) — Mark Amin, founder and former CEO of Trimark
Holdings, Inc
, announced yesterday the formation of Sobini Films, a new
production company that will produce four to six specialized and mainstream
films a year with varying budgets. Sobini will independently fund the
development, production and packaging of its projects.

“The autonomy of Sobini affords us the rare opportunity to collaborate with
proven artists while discovering and nurturing new voices,” Amin commented.
(The company’s name comes from an amalgamation of the names of Amin’s three
children.) Joining Amin will be Robin Schorr, former Head of Production at
Trimark, who will serve as President of Production at the new company.

Sobini’s first projects will be an adaptation of Dan Millman‘s bestseller,
Way of the Peaceful Warrior,” and Alex Rios‘s thriller “Dog in the Night.” The company maintains a first-look deal with Lions Gate Entertainment with whom Amin successfully negotiated the merger of Trimark Holdings Inc. last
year. Amin will still remain involved in Lions Gate’s day-to-day operations,
serving as Vice Chairman, a member of the Board of Directors and one of the
company’s major shareholders. [Anthony Kaufman]

>> LA Asian Pacific Fest Fires Up with “Green Dragon”

(indieWIRE/05.16.01) — Opening at the Directors Guild of America tomorrow
tonight (Thursday) with Timothy Bui‘s Sundance entry “Green Dragon,” the 16th Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film & Video Festival (May 17-24) will
showcase over 90 films and videos for its week-long-run. It will close with
a rare showing of John Korty‘s 1976 tele-film “Farewell to Manzanar.” Both
films deal with the WWII internment of Japanese Americans as their

“This year’s featured Asian American directors have served up a variety of
works that pull no punches in being distinctly American while keeping true
to their Asian roots,” Festival Co-Director David Magdael said. “It’s all
about pride — both Asian and American.”

Featured works include the L.A. premieres of Anurag Mehta‘s Slamdance Film
Audience Award winner, “American Chai,” Rod Pulido‘s “The Flip Side,” Yongyooth Thongkongtoon‘s “The Iron Ladies,” Amy Chen‘s documentary “The Chinatown Files,” Fatimah Tobing Rony‘s “Everything in Between,” Raymond Red‘s Cannes-winning short “Anino,” and the world premiere of Seung-Hyun Yoo‘s “Daughters of the Cloth,” a look at the American dream from the perspective of a Korean family in Los Angeles. [Anthony Kaufman]

[For more information, visit:]

>> Deery Wins Hartley Merrill Script Award

(indieWIRE/05.16.01) — The Hartley Merrill International Screenwriting
was presented yesterday, here in Cannes. John Deery, from England, won the award for “Conspiracy of Silence.” The award, founded by actress Dina Merrill and her husband, RKO Pictures CEO Ted Hartley, includes a stipend and a trip to the Sundance Institute.

The script, described as “a story about the fragile lines of faith and
devotion that are tested as two men search to uncover a deadly consipracy
hidden deep within the Catholic Church,” is being developed by the film
finance company, Future Film Group. [Eugene Hernandez]

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