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DAILY NEWS: “Secretary” Deal; Berlinale Daily Report; and Crossover Plans

DAILY NEWS: "Secretary" Deal; Berlinale Daily Report; and Crossover Plans

DAILY NEWS: "Secretary" Deal; Berlinale Daily Report;
and Crossover Plans

by Eugene Hernandez and Jacque Lynn Schiller/indieWIRE

>> Secretary Acquired by Lions Gate

(indieWIRE: 02.12.02) —Lions Gate Releasing President Tom Ortenberg has
announced the acquisition of the Sundance 2002 debut, “Secretary.” The film,
directed by Steve Shainberg, stars Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader
in the story of a woman (Gyllenhaal) who gets a job working for an attorney
(Spader), ultimately leading to what the company calls “an intense, albeit
unorthodox love affair.”

Produced by Double A Films (“Hamlet,” “Thirteen Conversations About
One Thing
“) and sold by ContentFilm (it was exec. produced by Content’s
Michael Roban), the film also stars Lesley Ann Warren, Jeremy
, Patrick Bauchau, and Stephen McHattie.

“‘Secretary’ is an inspired comedy, and one of the most original love
stories to come along in quite some time, anchored by truly standout
performances by Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Spader,” commented Ortenberg in
a prepared statement. “Steven Shainberg is a filmmaker with a truly
distinctive voice, and we are looking forward to sharing his singular
creation with audiences all over the country.” [Eugene Hernandez]

>> BERLINALE 2002: Envisioning the Next
Generation and Considering the European Star System

(indieWIRE: 02.12.02) — The Berlinale‘s first step towards next year’s
Talent Campus,” took place yesterday in Berlin with the festival’s “Vision
.” Panel discussions were held, along with a morning press conference and
an afternoon reception. Participants included filmmakers Robert Altman,
Catherine Breillat, Istvan Szabo, Terry Gilliam, Claude
, Danis Tanovic, and actors Moritz Bleibtreu, Ludvine
and Jurgen Vogel.

Talent Campus will serve as a way to connect established film professionals
with the younger generation, building on the Festival’s current program that
offers event credentials to 1,000 emerging filmmakers from around the world,
as well as 500 film students. The five-day campus program, to be held during
the 2003 Berlinale, will include lectures, panels, and workshops targeted at
both the selected attendees and a more general professional audience. The
site, at The House of World Cultures near Potsdamer Platz, will include
theaters, a lounge and conference rooms.

Among the panel topics at the Vision Day event here Monday was the idea of
energizing the European “star system” to compete with Hollywood.

“The American star system is a way of life,” commented casting director John
, “We should not fight it, we should build on it.” Hubbard, who cast
such films as “Bloody Sunday” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of
the Ring
,” encouraged, in part, that emerging European actors learn English
as a step towards making themselves as marketable as possible for Hollywood
projects. It was a position that was not entirely embraced by the European
actors on the panel.

Actor Moritz Bleibtreu (“Run Lola Run, “Das Experiment“) acknowledged
the importance of learning the language, but praised Bjork for her work in
Dancer in the Dark” for keeping a connection to her native tongue in her
performance. “You have to find your English,” he emphasized.

Concluding the session was showcased participant, director Istvan Szabo
(“Taking Sides“), who advocated a definition of the term “star” and
weighed in on the English-language thread. He explained, “A star is someone
who can express or represent the society — society creates stars, not
agents”.” With that in mind he explained that stars must “lift emotions
using their mother tongue — my emotions are Hungarian emotions, I am sorry
about it.” [Eugene Hernandez]

[indieWIRE will be reporting from Berlin all week. indieWIRE
Editor-in-Chief Eugene Hernandez and Associate Editor Brian Brooks can be
reached at the Grand Hyatt in Potsdamer Platz, or by email at:]

>> Leading Independent Film and New
Media Minds Crossover

(indieWIRE: 02.12.02) — Web Lab, a non-profit new media think tank, has
announced the creation of Crossover, a unique endeavor designed to join
independent film and videomakers with new media producers for the
development of interactive projects.

From February 20-25, thirty-two participants and ten guest artists will
attend Studio A, a workshop to promote project ideas combining the
storytelling skills of independent filmmaking with new emerging technology.

“We’ve seen great Web sites draw people in, get them involved, and change
the way they think about themselves and the world,” Web Lab founder Marc
commented in a prepared statement, “If that’s possible with text and a
few images, how much more powerful might it be to build new environments –
on the Web or elsewhere – that combine sound and moving images with
innovative uses of interactive technologies?”

Studio A attendees are known around the world for their work in various
areas of the film, technology and arts industry. The goal is to encourage
participants to explore concepts for 100 new projects meant to engage the
audience as active creative partners.

“When we talk about interactivity, we don’t mean a mouse click,” added
Weiss. “We don’t mean selecting A, B, or C for the ending to a story. The
kind of interactivity we’re looking to explore is much more intricate and
daring than that. It means changing the relationship between artist and

Upon the workshop’s completion, participants can submit proposals for ideas
they’d like produced. Web Lab will then select five to ten for further
development at Studio B, an intensive seven-day lab planned for later in the

Studio A participants and guest artists include: Romy Achituv, Jorge
Aguirre, Rachel Baker, Henry Bean, Alan Berliner, Carroll Parrott Blue,
Linda Goode Bryant, Liz Canner, Adam Chapman, Pratap Chatarjee, Brian Clark,
Brad deGraf, Sharon Denning, DJ Spooky, Toni Dove, Sidney Fels, Franz
Fischnaller, Adam Frank, Ze Frank, Ryan Gibson, Jacqueline Goss, Sarah Gray,
Chris Hackett, David Kaplan, Andruid Kerne, Victoria Mapplebeck, Paul
Marino, John Cameron Mitchell, Hajoe Moderegger, Lynn Phillips, Josh
Portway, Julia Reichert, Jeff Stark, Peter Stein, Daniel Torop, Tara
Veneruso, Peggy Weil, Virgil Wong, and Adrianne Wortzel. [Jacque Lynn

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