DAILY NEWS: Showtime's "Lift"; Stony Winners; and "Spooky" Plans
with articles by Brian Brooks and Jacque Lynn Schiller/indieWIRE
>> Showtime Offers Long-Awaited “Lift”
(indieWIRE/03.07.02) — Sometimes good things do come to those who wait.
And wait is exactly what directors DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter
(“Black & White & Red All Over“) have had to do with their highly praised
film “Lift.” Despite being a favorite at Sundance 2001, the Urbanworld Grand Jury Prize winner that same year and a featured presentation at the New
Directors/New Films festival, the duo’s tense urban drama was only recently
acquired by Showtime Networks.
After its run on Showtime, “Lift” will have its basic cable premiere on BET,
which will share the presentation credit on the film. This marks the first
venture between the two companies since Viacom purchased the BET parent
company last year.
Kerry Washington (“Our Song“) and Lonette McKee (“Jungle Fever“) star in this Hart Sharp Entertainment (“Boys Don’t Cry,” “You Can Count On Me“) presentation.
“Lift” will premiere on Showtime on June 26 as a lead into this season’s
premiere of the series “Soul Food.” [Jacque Lynn Schiller]
READ indieWIRE’s INTERVIEW with DeMane Davis and Khari Streeter
>> “Blow,” “How High,” and “Together” Win Stonys
(indieWIRE/03.07.02) — Sunday night revelers packed into Manhattan’s B.B.King
restaurant/club for High Times magazine’s Stony Awards — a high-flying event that served up prizes, good times, laughs from host Jim Breuer, and a rousing performance by George Clinton. The awards, now in their third year, recognize films that typify the High Times philosophy with Best Movie going to Ted
Demme‘s “Blow” while “How High” by Jesse Dylan took the Best Stoner Movie prize.
The trophy itself symbolized the night’s seemingly irreverent atmosphere. In
a conversation with indieWIRE, IFC Films‘ David T. Mueller, who accepted the Best Foreign Movie award for Lukas Moodysson‘s “Together” on behalf of the New York-based film company, described the award as quite simply, “a small
functional bong.” Mueller spoke glowingly of the night’s festivities calling
it a “blast” and hyped the ceremony’s “casual atmosphere,” which allowed for
free exchange with celebs including Ethan Hawke (Best Actor) and Snoop Dogg (Stoner of the Year) and Clinton.
Additional Stonys went to Marlon Wayans for Best Pot Scene in Keenan Ivory
Wayans‘ “Scary Movie 2,” and to trio Daniel Franzese, Michael Pitt and Heather Swaller for their Best Psychedelic Scene in Larry Clark‘s “Bully.” Gillian Grisman‘s “Grateful Dawg” won Best Documentary while Coppola‘s “Apocalypse Now Redux” received the Stonys’ Thomas King Forcade Film Achievement Award. Host “Jim Breuer was out of his mind hilarious,” said Mueller, clearly on a high from having attended the Stonys for the first time. “[The event] was a hazy, laid back chilled experience.” [Brian Brooks]
>> Newly Created Entertainment Highway Announces its First “Spooky” Release
(indieWIRE/03.07.02) — L.A.’s newest production/distribution company,
Entertainment Highway, has announced its first film release, “Spooky House,” starring Academy Award winners Ben Kingsley and Mercedes Ruehl. The feature, produced and directed by self-described “film doctor” William Sachs — Entertainment Highway’s president — is described in a company release as
“a family feature [about] a renowned magician (Kingsley) who, after his wife
mysteriously vanishes during a performance, grows embittered and reclusive,
only to be befriended by a group of young neighborhood children who are
enthralled by the man’s talents and his pet black jaguar.”
The film premiered at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
winning the “Best of Fest” award and the first prize, Children’s Jury Award.
Speaking of his new venture in a prepared statement, Sachs commented,
“Entertainment Highway is fiercely independent. We have secured major
private financing through independent sources in and out of the usual
channels of the film business. This allows us to acquire and release a wide
variety of product.” “Spooky House” is slated for release in the Southwest
beginning April 19. [Brian Brooks]