BUZZ for January 17, 2003: “Bloody Sunday” Oscar Confusion, A New Directors/New Films Sneak Peak, and Staffing Changes
by Wendy Mitchell
INDUSTRY MOVES: Robert Cooper has left his posts as CEO of Artisan Pictures and vice chairman of Artisan Entertainment. Cooper will now re-launch film and TV production company Landscape Pictures, formerly owned by Artisan. Artisan will keep a financial stake in the projects that were already in development at Landscape, and Cooper remains a shareholder of Artisan. Artisan’s Richard Saperstein will now have day-to-day oversight and responsibility over Artisan Pictures theatrical film productions, and he will report directly to Artisan Entertainment CEO Amir Malin.
French director Patrice Chereau (“La Reine Margot,” “Intimacy”) has been selected as the head of the jury for the 2003 Cannes Film Festival, which will run May 14-25. The full jury will be announced later.
Richard Crudo was elected president of the American Society of Cinematographers. His credits include “American Buffalo,” “Music From Another Room,” “American Pie,” and other films.
Lisa Fragner has left Rudolph & Beer to become head of feature film development for Blue Sky Animation Studios/Fox Animation East Coast. She starts the new position, based in Blue Sky’s White Plains, NY office on January 28.
Finally, congratulations to the Association of Independent Video & Filmmaker’s Membership/Advocacy Director Priscilla Grim on the birth of her baby daughter, Sophia.
SOLOMON IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Director Ed Solomon, in Park City with his opening night film, “Levity” spoke briefly with indieWIRE after an interview with Sundance Channel. “I’m just overwhelmed,” said Solomon as he walked down Main Street on the way to his car to pick up his daughter from ski lessons. “Just happy to be a part of it…and in such a visible spot. Sundance is an amazing organization,” the director continued, obviously excited and thankfulfor the spotlight position given to “Levity.” “They (the Sundance Film Festival) actually act on their mission statement of giving a voice to independent filmmakers.” The film kicked off Sundance with a Salt Lake City screening at Abravnel Hall and a post-screening party at The Grand Hall at Union Pacific Depot
‘BLOODY’ CONFUSION: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences already told Paramount Classics that Paul Greengrass’ acclaimed feature film “Bloody Sunday” wouldn’t be eligible for Oscar consideration because it had aired on British and Irish television. But now it seems that “Bloody Sunday” is listed in an official Academy mailing of a “reminder list” to voting members. An Academy spokeswoman told indieWIRE that despite the listing, any votes for “Bloody Sunday” wouldn’t be counted. Even without a chance at Oscar, “Bloody Sunday” is already an award-winner: it picked up the Golden Bear award at the 2002 Berlin Film Festival, an audience award at Sundance 2002, several British Independent Film Awards, and is also a nominee for the forthcoming Independent Spirit Awards.
A VARGAS OPENER: Peter Sollett’s “Raising Victor Vargas,” screening in Sundance’s American Showcase section, has also been selected as the opening night film at the prestigious New Directors/New Films festival. The Film Society of Lincoln Center and the Department of Film and Media at the Museum of Modern Art will present New Directors from March 26-April 6 in New York. Samuel Goldwyn/Fireworks will release the film in New York on March 28, followed by a national rollout in April. “Vargas,” which is Sollett’s feature debut based on his earlier award-winning short “Five Feet High and Rising,” stars newcomer Victor Rasuk as a teenager struggling with first love and family life in New York’s Lower East side. This year’s festival screenings will be held at Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall and Walter Reade Theatre and at MoMA’s temporary film headquarters at the Gramercy Theatre. The complete lineup for the festival will be announced in late February.
BONE UP: Producer Susan Leber, who worked on 2002’s “Margarita Happy Hour” and the Sundance 2003 competition entry “The Technical Writer,” is now producing “Down to the Bone,” directed by Debra Granik. The film, about “a woman struggling to balance the needs of her family with her own needs, fears, and desires,” is being shot near Woodstock, New York. The “Bone” script previously won the screenwriting prize at the Nantucket Film Festival after it was workshopped at the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. The director’s short “Snake Feed” won the Sundance jury prize in 1998.
ASSISTANT STRIKES BACK: Azita Zendel, the former assistant to Oliver Stone, is screening her film “Controlled Chaos” in Park City this week, at 5 p.m. tomorrow and noon on Monday at the Treasure Mountain Inn’s Fireside Saloon at Slamdance. Zendel perhaps drew on her own experiences for this one — she describes it as “the story of the assistant to a famous film director who must protect her womanizing boss when a reporter implicates him in a scandal.” The narrative feature runs 92 minutes.
POST IN NYC: Technicolor Creative Services announced plans to open a digital post-production facility in New York’s West Village. The facility, slated to open in spring 2003, will be located at 110 Leroy St., former home to the Shooting Gallery and Gun For Hire. Execs attached to the facility include Claude Gagnon, president of Techicolor creative services east coast, Alfie Schloss, who will join as president and GM of the new facility, and senior colorist John Dowdell.
PEDRO GOES GLOBAL: indieWIRE writer Matthew Ross spotted famed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar walking around the East Village on Monday morning. Almodovar said he was in New York to receive the National Board of Review’s best foreign film of the year award, and then he’ll jet to Los Angeles for the Golden Globes. Despite rumors that he’d be next working on his first English-language film, Almodovar is instead ready to soon begin shooting his delayed “La Mala Educacion” (“The Bad Education”), set in a 1960s Catholic school.
QUOTABLE: “I never wanted to be a documentarian, but I had to tell the story of these amazing people. I knew that if I didn’t, nobody would. They represented a part of New York history that was disappearing.” — Josh Pais tells Time Out New York about his fascinating documentary “7th Street,” exploring the history of Alphabet City block he grew up on.
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