DAILY NEWS *UPDATE*: Landmark Execs Return; R&B FM Plans; and "Our Song" Party
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>>Richardson & Manzari Return to Landmark Theaters
(indieWIRE/05.25.01) — Landmark Theaters has confirmed that it was
purchased by Oaktree Capital Management, LLC, and that former Landmark
executives Paul Richardson and Bert Manzari will return to the company with the goal of getting the specialized film exhibition chain out of bankruptcy.
Richardson will serve as President & CEO and Manzari will become Executive
Vice-President — the two will guide Landmark Theaters’ 166 specialty
screens and Silver Cinemas‘ 150 discount screens. Richardson and Manzari
were involved with running the company for 17 years. [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Fresh From Cannes, Beer and Fragner Push R&B FM, New Film and Music Outfit
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R&B FM’s Lisa Fragner (left) and Steven
Photo by Brian BrooksindieWIRE
(indieWIRE/05.25.01) — Among the legions pounding the Croisette earlier
this month and participating in the dizzying frenzy of business at the
Cannes Film Festival were entertainment lawyer Steven Beer and former Fox Searchlight exec Lisa Fragner. Beer is a familiar figure in the indie arena
through his involvement in such projects as “Sling Blade,” “Star Maps,” and
2001 Sundance entry, “L.I.E.” and others as well as his partnership in
entertainment law firm Rudolph & Beer. Fragner, former Head of East Coast
Production & Development at Fox Searchlight Pictures, earned her stripes in
development and production through her involvement in films ranging from
“The Full Monty” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to “Boys Don’t Cry,” and “Kingdom Come” among others.
Both were in the South of France to trumpet their new joint effort, R&B FM,
a project announced earlier this month by Rudolph & Beer. R&B FM, a
division of Rudolph & Beer that will be headed by Fragner, will perform an
array of services from producing films and licensing music to negotiating
soundtracks and working as an overall producers’ rep. The idea is for the
new undertaking to be a mechanism for the extensive roster of recording
artists and other talent who already work with Rudolph & Beer, in addition
to others who would like to extend their interests into film.
The law firm, founded in 1993 by Steven Beer and Larry Rudolph specializing
in music, film, licensing, new media and sports law, has amassed an
impressive group of young talent who would be likely recipients of the R&B
FM division’s services. Rudolph & Beer count among their clients Gen-Y pop
icons Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake of ‘N Sync, Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and his younger rising siblings Aaron Carter and sister Leslie. In addition to other chart busting acts such as 98 Degrees, LFO, O-Town, Mikaila and Tanya Mitchell as well as urban artists Sugar Hill Gang, Ruff Ryders, members of the Wu Tang Clan and Blackground Records.
Beer and Fragner envision the new venture as a conduit for independent
filmmakers and producers they have ties with, in addition to new ones.
Commenting on his view of the state of indie film, Beer told indieWIRE
during a conversation in Cannes, “This presents an opportunity for the
independent filmmakers and producers we represent to think more broadly.
The last couple of years, we’ve witnessed a sea change in the commercial
viability of independent film. I am encouraging our clients to think
broader with a view to the marketplace which really desires multi-faceted
product and not merely a well-executed script.” Beer and Fragner were quick
to point out that they encourage the filmmakers they work with to advance
themselves creatively, but that it is also important to keep an eye on the
Always ready to tout the new project, Beer offered, “[R&B FM] will empower
and enable our filmmakers and producers to achieve the holy grail which for
many of them is a broader audience seeing their films in a meaningful
theatrical release which has become more difficult.”
Beer credits the presence of Lisa Fragner as a boon to the project,
gleefully calling the young dynamo “a star,” and continuing, “She’s worked
in this field and made a commitment to independent film and worked on
successful projects for many years. Lisa can assess casting and other key
relationships in conjunction with productions. That’s a plus for any
filmmaker, producer or artist.”
On the subject of the Cannes Film Festival, Beer and Fragner appeared
positive if not a bit fatigued by the busy schedule of meetings. Describing
the event an “eye opener,” Beer indicated they had been involved in some
positive financing discussions while at the Festival including some
first-look opportunities, but he shied away from specifics. Fragner
meanwhile, offered her take in light of having previously attended festivals
scurrying from screening to screening. “For me it’s been on the meeting
side, another interesting side of the Festival I never really new existed —
meeting people and making the connection you might not necessarily get to
make [elsewhere].” Fragner went on to say she hoped Cannes 2002 would
include the films R&B FM are selling.
Already, R&B FM are involved in projects with Britney Spears, as well as the
verite project about the 2000 presidential race called “The Last Party“
directed by Donovan Leitch and featuring narration and interviews by Philip
Seymour Hoffman. Also in hand is “My Generation” by two-time Academy Award winning director Barbara Koppel which takes a look at the three Woodstock festivals.
As the conversation with indieWIRE closed, Steven Beer said of the new
initiative, “At the end of the day, it’s fun, we’re doing what we love,
combining music and film, without this being fun, it wouldn’t be as
worthwhile.” [Brian Brooks]
>> iPOP Photo Gallery: “Our Song” BBQ in Crown Heights
(indieWIRE/05.25.01) — A party at I.S. 390 in Crown Heights, Brooklyn last
week celebrated the opening of Jim McKay‘s new film, “Our Song.” The BBQ included a performance by the Jackie Robinson Steppers Marching Band, in the same schoolyard were parts of the movie were filmed, and an outdoor
screening of the movie. Among the 1,200 people who attended the free event
were director Jim McKay and stars Anna Simpson, Melissa Martinez, and Kerry Washington. [Eugene Hernandez]
CHECK OUT THE PHOTOS @ indieWIRE.com.
>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: New ITVS Chief; IFP/West Lab; Godard and Manhattan
(indieWIRE/05.24.01) — BAVC‘s Sally Jo Fifer has been selected as the new
Executive Director of ITVS and IFP/West reveals its 10 choices to
participate in the Spring Screenwriters Lab. Also, French New Wave guru,
Jean-Luc Godard‘s lates, “Eloge de L’Amour” will be distributed in the U.S.
by Manhattan Pictures.”
GET YESTERDAY’S Daily News @ indieWIRE.com.