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DAILY NEWS: ON THE SCENE: A Week of Parties and Events in NYC — David O. Russell, “The Last Waltz,

DAILY NEWS: ON THE SCENE: A Week of Parties and Events in NYC -- David O. Russell, "The Last Waltz,

DAILY NEWS: ON THE SCENE: A Week of Parties and Events in NYC -- David O. Russell, "The Last Waltz," "Human Nature," and "Manito"

with articles by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

(indieWIRE/04.12.02) — The New York City film scene felt a bit like a film
festival this week, with a number of events, parties and premieres jamming
the early Spring calendar.

MoMA Honors David O. Russell

On Wednesday night, The Museum of Modern Art kicked off what is intended to
be a new annual film event. Dubbed “A Work in Progess,” the benefit was
designed, in the words of organizers, to pay tribute to the career and
artistic vision of a young film director. New Yorker David O. Russell,
director “Spanking the Monkey” (1994), “Flirting with Disaster” (1996) and
Three Kings” (1999), was singled out for the inaugural event, which was led
by the MoMA’s Department of Film and Media.

The star-studded fete, which drew such notables as John Leguizamo, Mary Tyler Moore, Wes Anderson, Patricia Arquette and Macaulay Culkin, kicked off in the paparazzi-filled lobby of the Museum with a cocktail party. After some schmoozing, guests were herded to the downstairs Titus theater for a Q & A session (with films clips) led by Lily Tomlin (star of Russell’s “Flirting
with Disaster”).

“Its great that MoMA’s going to honor younger filmmakers that are a little
older,” quipped O. Russell, early in the session, later adding, “It is so
surreal being up here, it doesn’t make sense in a lot of ways — I just had
to say that.”

That aside, O. Russell and Tomlin scratched below the surface at times to
offer some insights into the filmmaker’s work. The concept of “the
double-bind” was a term that came up more that once in the conversation.
The director sees that as a core element of his stories, that is impossible
situations that lead people to lies and deception. It’s an idea that is
clearly seen in “Spanking The Monkey,” a movie that Russell admits he no
longer likes to talk about too much, because, in his own words, its a “feel
bad movie.”

A highlight of the session was the surreal moment when Saturday Night Live‘s
Will Ferrell entered the auditorium, masquerading as James Lipton, the
fawning host of Bravo‘s “Inside the Actors Studio.” Gathering Russell film
actors Mary Tyler Moore, Patricia Arquette, Glenn Fitzgerald and Richard
from “Flirting,” Spike Jonze and Mark Wahlberg from “Kings” and Carla Gallo & Alberta Watson from “Spanking” on stage, Ferrell as Lipton peppered the participants with questions about themselves and their work
with Russell. It was a hilarious celebrity “roast” moment that was funnier
than most recent SNL sketches.

After the skit, Ferrell invited guests upstairs to Sette MoMA for “all the
ham you can eat.” Guests dined on the buffet, but after about an hour, a few
made their way to the door for the short walk to The Supper Club in Times
Square for another high-profile Wednesday night event.

Check out iPOP ON THE SCENE PHOTOS from the event.

“The Last Waltz” Back on the Big Screen

While some were dining and toasting over at MoMA, a full-house gathered at
the massive Ziegfeld Theater Wednesday night for a screening of Martin
and Robbie Robertson‘s legendary concert film, “The Last Waltz.” Celebrating the film’s 25th anniversary, United Artists decided to top the
DVD release with a small theatrical release of the movie.

The picture, looking at the final performance of the famed group The Band,
includes such musical luminaries as Robertson, Ringo Starr, Muddy Waters,
Neil Young, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, Dr. John, Emmylou Harris, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrisson and Bob Dylan.

Guests raved about the quality of the restored film print and the remastered
sound. Michael Stipe, Steve Buscemi, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, and Fisher Stevens were among the celebs who stopped in for the crowded screening, which had guests cheering after each performance. After the event, a huge group headed over to The Supper Club for drinks, snacks and musical performances.
Scorsese’s reserved table at the side of the stage was a crowded spot for
gawkers and celebrity well-wishers. Once he departed around midnight, Winona
staked out a spot nearby and held court for a bit.

“Human Nature” Revealed

Fine Line Features celebrated today’s opening of “Human Nature,” with a
celeb-studded event in NYC on Tuesday night. After an evening screening,
guests jammed into The Park for what one attendee called, “a real,
old-fashioned movie premiere.”

On a muggy Spring night, the tented area on the roof provided only a bit of
relief for the sweaty hordes. The rooftop wooden jacuzzi was turned on and
warmed up for the event, but perhaps due to the weather, no one took a dip.

Writer Charlie Kaufman and director Michel Gondry mixed with the crowd, as did film stars Tim Robbins, Patricia Arquette, Rhys Ifans, Rosie Perez.

Check out iPOP ON THE SCENE PHOTOS from the event

Details Magazine Celebrated “Manito”

Eric Eason‘s Sundance debut, “Manito,” was shown Monday night at The Screening Room, with a requisite after-party. The event was presented by
Details Magazine to tout the nine-page Girbaud fashion spread of Sundance
favorites featured in the mag’s April issue. “Manito” stars Leo Minaya and
Frankie G. lead off the Patrick McMullan spread with a sultry, shirtless shot atop the hood of a 2002 Hummer H1. Jake Gyllenhaal, Frank Whaley, and others are among the participants as well.

Minaya and G are at the heart of Eason’s tough and well-told Washington
Heights tale. The low-budget Latino story, spoken at times in Spanish, has
already launched the career of Frankie G, even though the film is still
hoping to find a distribution deal.

Eason got the movie in the can for a mere $24,000 he told indieWIRE at the
after-party, but more work was later done as subtitles were added and prints
were made for the festival campaign. Andrew Herwitz is repping the picture
for sale.

Frankie G, who told indieWIRE that he recently signed with AMG, is onboard
the upcoming James Foley film “Confidence,” playing an Italian thug alongside Dustin Hoffman, Ed Burns and Rachel Weisz. He will start shooting the picture this month. Minaya, who like Frankie G was cast in the picture via
Backstage, is still lining up his next role.

Check out iPOP ON THE SCENE PHOTOS from the event

The partying continued last night as Sony Classics celebrated the debut of
it award-winning doc, “Dogtown and Z-Boys” and Gen Art welcomed guests to its annual pre-fest fete. [Eugene Hernandez]

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