After a quick 2-day turnaround back in Orlando, I headed out to NYC for this year’s 28th annual IFP Market. This is now 11 in row for me. Easing the cultural whiplash I generally get from the transition of watching 25 – 30 mostly accomplished and finished features up in Toronto to some narrative and doc shorts and dozens of doc feature works-in-progress, the IFP thankfully scheduled a Sunday morning screening of THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND in preparation for the panel at the Puck building later in the day. Though the screening was free to both DGA and IFP members, I guess people didn’t notice the invite in the IFP e-mail blast since there was only about 15 of us in the theater. What a shame–this is a superb historical drama inspired by real events, and Forest Whitaker’s performance as Idi Amin, the terrifying yet charming leader of Uganda in the 1970’s, will certainly be talked about come awards time. The panel with Whitaker, director Kevin Macdonald (TOUCHING THE VOID) and co-lead James McAvoy, was titled “Passport Required” and went into great depth about the film’s production and the logistics of shooting in a foreign country. Too bad more people didn’t see the film prior to attending.
Once again the Market seems to have less projects than the year before and a greater concentration on meetings for the filmmakers and panels, yet there are still a number of familiar names with new projects that bear checking out. Things I’m interested in viewing either in the Angelika or in the video library if necessary include: EMILE NORMAN – BY HIS OWN DESIGN, a film about an artist produced by Michael Tucker and Jill Eikenberry (of “LA Law” fame); SECRECY, a film about classified secrets by Robb Moss (THE SAME RIVER TWICE); THE TEAM, which deals with a soccer team that recruits the homeless, and is directed by James Marsh (THE KING, WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP); ADOPT ME, MICHAEL JORDAN, from Susan Motamed, producer of ENRON: THE SMARTEST GUYS IN THE ROOM; THE AXE IN THE ATTIC by Lucia Small (MY FATHER THE GENIUS); BLAST, the new work from FFF Grand Jury Prize winner Paul Devlin (POWER TRIP); FREEHELD, a new film from FFF veteran Cynthia Wade (SHELTER DOGS); JUMP!, a film by Helen Hood Scheer, producer of Arlene Donnely’s FFF faves NAKED STATES and POSITIVELY NAKED; THE TOY MOVIE, from 2006 FFF award winner Dori Berinstein (SHOWBUSINESS: A SEASON TO REMEMBER); WAITING FOR ARMAGEDDON, a film listed as being directed by Franco Sacchi but will actually be made with FFF award winners Kate Davis and David Heilbroner (PUCKER UP, SOUTHERN COMFORT) as well; and even a couple of narrative shorts including KUBUKU RIDES (THIS IS IT), directed by Steppenwolf Theater Company’s Terry Kinney (“Oz” and Tim McCann’s RUNAWAY), and THE SHOVEL, starring Oscar nominee David Strathairn and Tim Guinee from SWEETLAND.
And these are just the titles where I’ve got some familiarity with the talent involved. I’m sure they’ll be a few surprises and discoveries along the way.