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DAILY NEWS: Fest Lineups: Toronto and New York; Atom & Shockwave “Re-Launch”; “The Believer” Theatr

DAILY NEWS: Fest Lineups: Toronto and New York; Atom & Shockwave "Re-Launch"; "The Believer" Theatr

DAILY NEWS: Fest Lineups -- Toronto and New York; Atom & Shockwave "Re-Launch"; "The Believer" Gets Theatrical Deal

by Eugene Hernandez and Anthony Kaufman

>> 26th Toronto International 326-Films Strong

(indieWIRE/08.22.01) — With 326 films in 10 days, amounting to 27,091
minutes of celluloid, one very passionate cinephile, taking no time off to
sleep or eat, could only manage to see about 53% of the film showings at the
26th Toronto International Film Festival. That’s just how big it is. During a
press conference at Toronto’s Windsor Arms hotel yesterday (Tuesday),
Festival Director Piers Handling announced the complete lineup for North
America’s biggest international industry event — and boy, must he have been
out of breath.

Opening on September 6 with the world premiere of Canadian director Bruce
Sweeney’s “Last Wedding” and closing on September 15 with Ray Lawrence’s
recent Australian fest hit “Lantana,” Toronto’s vast selection is divided
amongst several main categories: Galas, Special Presentations,
Contemporary World Cinema, Masters, and Discovery, among others.

New Gala screenings announced yesterday include the world premieres of
Istvan Szabo’s “Taking Sides” and Peter Chelsom’s “Serendipity,” as well as
Clare Peploe’s “The Triumph of Love,” Michael Apted’s “Enigma,” Benoit
Jacquot’s “Tosca,” and Gabriele Muccino’s “The Last Kiss.”

This year’s Special Presentation section includes several high profile
English-language world premieres, including Bart Freundlich’s “World
,” Erik Skjoldbaerg’s “Prozac Nation,” Rose Troche’s “The Safety of
,” and the North American premieres of David Mamet’s “Heist,” and
Guillermo del Toro’s “The Devil’s Backbone.”

The immense Contemporary World Cinema sidebar, consisting of 93 features
from 38 countries, will include several high profile English-language
features, as well, with new films from Nicole Holofcener (“Lovely and
Amazing”), George Hickenlooper (“The Man From Elysian Fields”), Tim Blake
(“The Grey Zone”), David Cunningham (“To End All Wars”), and Don Boyd
(“My Kingdom”).

But English is not the dominant language of Toronto’s 2001 line-up. A solid
58% of the films are in a foreign tongue. Contemporary World Cinema will
also feature the world premiere of Sunji Iwai‘s “All About Lily Chou-Chou,”
Venice opener “Dust,” Zhang Yang‘s latest “Quitting,” Darezhan Omirbaev‘s
“The Road,” and several French-language and Spanish-language entries,
including “Bad Company” director Jean-Pierre Ameris’ “C’est la Vie,” Laurent
Cantet’s “Time Out,” Alfonso Cuaron’s “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and “Lovers of
the Arctic Circle” director Julio Medem’s “Sex and Lucia,” among many

The venerable Masters section includes two world premieres, Paul Cox’s “The
Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky
” and Carlos Saura’s “Bunuel and King Solomon’s
,” along with already internationally acclaimed works from David Lynch,
Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Jean-Luc Godard and other Cannes

Alongside these filmmaking vets, Toronto’s Discovery section will present 16
works from first and second-time directors: among them, Singapore director
CheeK’s “Chicken Rice War,” Atom Egoyan cinematographer Paul Sarossy’s
debut “Mr. In-Between,” Moon Seong-wook’s “The Butterfly,” Damien Odoul’s
Deep Breath” (screening in both the Venice and New York Film Festivals),
and two new films from Australia, Robert Connolly’s “The Bank” and Steve
Jacobs’ “La Spagnola.”

And just when you thought you’d seen enough films for one day, Toronto
offers Midnight Madness, late night crowd-pleasers including Rob Green’s
horror-thriller “The Bunker,” Thai war movie “Bang Rajan,” some Asian
actioners (“Electric Dragon 80,000 V,” “Full Time Killer,” and Takashi
Miike’s “Ichi, The Killer”), a video package with works from, among others,
Chris Cunningham, Spike Jonze, and Michel Gondry, Sundance entries “American
” and “Dogtown and Z-Boys,” French blockbuster “Brotherhood of the
,” and others.

Lineups for the Planet Africa, Perspective Canada, Director’s Spotlight, and
Real to Reel (documentary) sections have been announced previously, as have
two special programs this year, Nordic Visions, screening works from
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, and Wavelengths, devoted to
experimental film. [Anthony Kaufman]

2001 Toronto International Film Festival Lineup:

Canadian Open Vault
Contemporary World Cinema


Director’s Spotlight
|| href=”/onthescene/fes_01Tor_010822_Discovery.html”>
Discovery || href=”/onthescene/fes_01Tor_010822_Galas.html”>Galas

Jean Pierre Lefebvre

|| href=”/onthescene/fes_01Tor_010822_Midnight.html”>
Midnight Madness

National Cinema Programme

Perspective Canada

Planet Africa ||

Real to Reel

Special Presentations


>> French Invade New York Film Fest; 39th Lineup Announced

(indieWIRE/08.22.01) — “We never go into this with any preconceived
notions,” commented the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Richard Pena, in a
conversation with indieWIRE. “Each year is an absolutely clean slate,” he
continued, defending the huge preponderance of French and French-produced
films in this year’s New York Film Festival (September 28 – October 14,
2001), the venerable U.S. event that provides a launching pad for many of the
fall’s arthouse releases.

In addition to the already announced glitzy opening slot for Jacque
Rivette’s “Va Savoir” (“Who Knows?”), fellow French New Waver Jean-Luc
Godard’s “Eloge de l’Amour” (“In Praise of Love”) is in the prestigious
closing night spot. Even the coveted Centerpiece premiere, David Lynch’s
Mulholland Drive,” is a co-production of Gallic producer Alain Sarde,
French giant Studio Canal and Lynch’s Picture Factory. “It’s a very strong
year for French films,” admitted Pena. “How often do you have four great
masters of French cinema all making films in the same year?” The lineup’s
other legends include Eric Rohmer’s “The Lady and the Duke,” and Claude
Lanzmann’s documentary “Sobibor, Oct. 14, 1943, 4:00 P.M.

Other French entries include the latest work from Catherine Breillat,
Patrice Chereau, “Human Resources” director Laurent Cantet, and two
first-time feature filmmakers, Damien Odoul’s Venice 2001 premiere “Deep
,” and Alain Guiraudie’s 2001 Directors Fortnight featurette, “That
Old Dream That Moves
.” French co-productions include Manoel de Oliveira’s
I’m Going Home,” Egyptian director Youssef Chahine’s “Silence, We’re
,” and Nanni Moretti’s Cannes winner “The Son’s Room.”

Besides Lynch’s latest work, this year’s U.S. entries will feature the world
premiere of Wes Anderson’s Buena Vista film “The Royal Tenenbaums,” the only
studio project in the festival, Todd Solondz’s provocative “Storytelling
and Richard Linklater’s Sundance favorite “Waking Life.” Commenting on the
American films, Pena noted, “These are the finest American independent
filmmakers, exploring new forms, offering a very different vision. It’s good
cutting-edge stuff and it’s where I’d like to see American cinema going.”

After dominating last year’s fest, Asia is only marginally represented this
year, with two films from Japan, one from Taiwan and one from Iran.
Unexpectedly, the only other country with a presence at this year’s fest is
Argentina with two films (“La Cienaga” and “La Libertad”). Having recently
screened a series of Argentine films at Lincoln Center’s Walter Reader
Theater, Pena admits, “We have been pushing Argentine cinema quite a bit,
but that’s not to say that we planned it this way.” [Anthony Kaufman]

GET THE COMPLETE New York Film Festival Lineup here at

>> Remember Atom Films? Site Re-design Launches, Company Declares
“We’re Back!”

(indieWIRE/08.22.01) — Consumating its deal with Shockwave and boldly
declaring, “We’re Back,” Atom Films has re-launched its online entertainment
site ( The site, and sister website Shockwave
(, quietly debuted yesterday as two separate online
destinations. AtomShockwave, parent of the two sites following a merger that
closed earlier this year, will officially tout the debut in an announcement
this morning (Wednesday). One of the first five people to join Atom Films
more than two years ago, Scott Roesch, General Manager and Executive
Producer at AtomShockwave, discussed the changes with indieWIRE yesterday
(CEO Mika Salmi was unavailable due to the birth of his second
daughter on Monday night).

The news comes after a period of considerable change for AtomShockwave. The
outfit laid off its entire workforce as the combined company was re-imagined
— the new staff of 45 is mostly based in new San Francisco office and
comprised mainly of employees from the old companies, according to Roesch.

Rather than create one combined destination housing Atom and Shockwave
content, AtomShockwave decided to develop two sites to serve the distinct
audiences — film & animation at Atom and games & interactive at Shockwave
— according to Roesch.

“We tried to make it very easy for people to find what they are looking
for,” Roesch said yesterday. “We are hoping that increased consumer
satisfaction will increase advertising revenue.”

The size of that audience is clearly a key part of the equation as the
number of users with higher speed Internet connections increases but the
online entertainment business battles ongoing negative publicity following
an almost complete collapse of the entire sector. “I am sure that we are all
experiencing a hit from [the negative press,” Roesch admitted, adding, “We
haven’t seen great growth or decline in our traffic. He admitted that the old
Atom Films site was not regularly updated during the makeover. It will
return to a weekly update going forward.

“I’ve gotta believe that more and more of the overall audience will get
directed towards us,” Roesch added.

The Atom site, a home for independent short films since it launched in the
Spring of 1999, is offering a few new shorts as part of the re-launch.
Today’s announcement will indicate that Jim Belushi‘s comedy series, “The
Greedy Show
” will hit the site, in a deal brokered by Weisman Worldwide
. Also on tap is the debut of Jeff Lester‘s “The Last Real
,” which stars Billy Bob Thornton.

“We are doing a lot less production, (but) we have a large audience that is
demanding cutting edge content — now that we have spent the summer getting
our feet under us, filmmakers are going to be hearing more and more from
us,” Roesch said. “Basically we are back, in a little different form.”

Key to the company’s ability to establish, or in some cases re-establish,
roots in the independent filmmaking community will clearly revolve around
the deals they make and the relationships they cultivate with creators.
Roesch confirmed that deal structures will remain similar to AtomFilms pacts
signed prior to the merger — low up-front fees paid, with royalties on
revenues for the filmmaker. The executive also added that the company is
aware that it must make amends for the decrease in its previously solid
filmmaker relations.

“We have taken some flack, probably justifiably,” Roesch admitted. “People
got used to a level of interaction with the company that we just couldn’t
sustain — we had to trim back on that — we’re trying to make sure going
forward that we don’t bite off more than we can chew as a business.”
Concluding, Roesch added, “Bear with us.” [Eugene Hernandez]

>> “Believer” Gets Theatrical Deal

(indieWIRE/08.22.01) — Henry Bean‘s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner, “The
,” has secured a deal for a theatrical release following its debut
on Showtime next month. Fireworks Pictures will release the movie early next
year through IDP, the company announced yesterday (Tuesday).

“‘The Believer’ is a film that richly deserves a big screen theatrical
feature film release so we are thrilled to be able to support Henry Bean’s
vision,” commented Daniel Diamond, President of Fireworks Pictures. “To be
associated with the kind of challenging, cutting edge independent filmmaking
represented by ‘The Believer’ is a true gift and one we want to share with
theater audiences.”

The film will screen at next month’s Toronto International Film Festival and
Bean is nominated for a n Open Palm Award at this year’s Gotham Awards in
New York.

Fireworks, a subsidiary of CanWest Entertainment (a division of CanWest
Global Communications Corp.), co-financed the film. IDP is a consolidated
distribution company that was formed by Fireworks Pictures, Samuel Goldwyn
and Stratosphere and is headed by CEO Michael Silberman. Upcoming releases
include Maria Ripoll’s “Tortilla Soup,” Paul Cox’s “Innocence,” and Jonathan
Teplitzky’s “Better Than Sex.” {Eugene Hernandez]

>> YESTERDAY in indieWIRE DAILY NEWS: New Cannon News; IFFCON Hiatus; Miramax Gets Rights to More “Apocalypse”

(indieWIRE/08.21.01) — Evgeny Afineevsky has been named the new president of New Cannon Inc; IFFCON, the annual film financing conference, has announced that it will take a year off; And Miramax announced it has received the rights to several foreign markets for Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now Redux,


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