DAILY NEWS: Miramax Cuts; "The Cockettes" Return, Golden Trailer Awards Announced and THINKFilm's New Venture
with articles by Eugene Hernandez, Matthew Ross and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> 75 Miramax Staffers Lose Jobs
(indieWIRE/03.18.02) — Media outlets called it a “bloodbath” this weekend,
reporting on Friday’s cutting of about 75 employees at Miramax. The
company’s staff size had grown by nearly 17 percent since October according
to reports. Friday’s cuts have erased that expansion.
The Associated Press reported that the cuts came from all departments of the
company, taking the positions of midlevel executives and assistants in New
York, Los Angeles and overseas. Miramax spokesman Matthew Hiltzik told AP
that the re-evaluation came after the company hired Ross Landsbaum as its
new CFO and Amanda Lundberg as the new head of publicity. [Eugene
>> Strand and Sundance Channel Sign “The Cockettes”
(indieWIRE/03.18.02) — The rights to Bill Weber and David Weissman‘s doc, “The Cockettes,” have been nabbed. Strand Releasing has acquired North American theatrical and ancillary rights to the picture, while Sundance
Channel has secured a U.S. pay television pact. In what is described in an
announcement Friday as an “unusual arrangement,” Strand and Sundance Channel
will market the film together, including a national sneak preview on the
Channel after the San Francisco premiere of the film, but before the
“The Cockettes,” a look at the legendary, flamboyant gender-bending hippie
drag-queens from San Franciso, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in
January and screened at last month’s Berlinale. It also won the Best
Director prize at the US Comedy Arts Festival.
“This deal is in harmony with the imaginative and creative spirit of the
film,” commented Strand co-president Jon Gerrans in a prepared statement.
“We know after the response at Sundance Film Festival and Berlin that there
is an audience for this film that spans all age groups and we look forward
to this innovative marketing strategy fashioned specifically for this
The movie, sold to Strand and Sundance by reps Jonathan Dana and Jeff Dowd and attorney Irwin Rappaport, will open at the Castro in San Francisco on May 10 and will open throughout the United States this summer. The special
Sundance Channel sneak preview will air on June 21.
International rights to the film are being sold by Tomorrow Films chief
Yoram Pelman. It will be screening in the Cannes Market in May.
>> Golden Trailers Honor “Royal Tenenbaums,” “Memento,” and “Amelie”
(indieWIRE/03.18.02) — Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre was the site of
Thursday’s Third Annual Golden Trailer Awards, hosted by comedian Kathy
Griffin with “The Royal Tenenbaums” winning three awards including Best in
Show. Winners were selected by a panel of industry judges, including actor
Ben Stiller (“Zoolander“), producer Kathleen Kennedy (“Jurassic Park“), and director Brett Rattner (“Family Man“).
The Best Drama prize went to editor Kevin Childress for “Memento,” and
“Amelie” editor James Blunden won in the Best Foreign category. The Saul and Elaine Bass Award for Best Titles was awarded to “Waking Life,” editor Michael Blackburn and “The Business of Strangers” received the Golden Fleece award (Kevin Childress). Best Documentary Trailer was awarded to “Go Tigers” (Pete Demirai) and Best Independent went to “Series 7“‘s Redband Trailer (Jason King). “Moulin Rouge” won the Best Romance category (Oreet Rees) and Best Music went to “The Royal Tenenbaums” (Paul Vincent).
Sisters Evelyn and Monica Brady, both industry veterans, started The Golden Trailers to honor feature film trailers. “It’s the movie awards show
guaranteed against attention deficit disorder,” said Monica Brady in a
prepared statement. “Not only is it perfectly paced for our society, it
celebrates the people who condense 120 minutes of movie into a two-minute
minor opus.” [Brian Brooks]
>> THINKFilm Launches Direct-To-Video Label
(indieWIRE/03.18.02) — It’s been less than a year since THINKFilm announced
its launch at the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, but the independent distributor
has already begun to diversify. The company has launched a new division,
Velocity Home Entertainment, a direct-to-video label “dedicated to bringing
retailers and customers the selection they want and the titles that move.”
THINKFilm president and CEO Jeff Sackman will head the imprint, which will
be overseen by Marc Hircshberg, THINKFilm’s VP of finance and operations.
David Rand will act as Velocity’s general manager.
“The home entertainment business has shifted and Velocity is in a position
to stay ahead of the curve and adapt with changes,” said Hirschberg in a
prepared statement. “What this means to retailers is a distributor that has
their interests in mind in terms of rentability and profitability.”
“We chose the name ‘Velocity’ to express the speed with which we would meet
clients’ needs,” said Rand. “Our goal is to put the right titles in the right
stores at the right time. We are constantly moving forward.” Velocity titles
will initially be available through VPD and Ingram Entertainment. The company plans to release 15 to18 genre films each year.
Recent THINKFilm acquisitions include Peter Care‘s “The Dangerous Lives of
Altar Boys” and Gus Van Sant‘s “Gerry,” both of which screened at Sundance 2002. The company also owns the Canadian rights to such prestigious titles
as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” “Pollock,” and “You Can Count On Me,” formerly controlled by Blackwatch Releasing. [Matthew Ross]