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QuickShots | FIND/Sloan grant; Denver to fete Holbrook; “Collapse” Pact, Gravitas deal & more news

QuickShots | FIND/Sloan grant; Denver to fete Holbrook; "Collapse" Pact, Gravitas deal & more news

iW: Film Independent awards Sloan producers grant

Film Independent has awarded Jenny Deller and Kristin Fairweather its 3rd annual Sloan Producers Grant for their feature film project “Future Weather,” it was unveiled at the recent conclusion of Film Independent’s Filmmaker Forum. Deller and Fairweather will receive a $25,000 production grant, and participate in Film Independent’s 2009 Producers Lab, as well as receive year-round support from the organization. Future Weather was also a finalist in the “Netflix FIND Your Voice Film Competition” and was selected to participate in Film Independent’s 2009 Screenwriters Lab.

The grant is funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, which seeks to create and develop new scripts and films about science and technology, and to see them into commercial production with national and international distribution.

iW: Denver Fest to fete Holbrook

The Starz Denver Film Festival will present Hal Holbrook with the 2009 Excellence in Acting Award following a screening of his new film, That Evening Sun, on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 4:15 p.m. at the Starz FilmCenter. Holbrook was nominated at 82 for his role in Into the Wild, making him the oldest performer to ever receive such recognition.

iW: “Backyard” strikes Lightning

Santa Monica-based sales and distribution company Lightning Entertainment has acquired all sales rights, excluding the United States and Latin America, to Carlos Carrera’s crime thriller “Backyard” (El Traspatio), which has been selected as Mexico’s entry for best foreign-language Oscar consideration.

iW: FilmBuff and Vitagraph partner to release Chris Smith’s “Collapse”

Chris Smith’s 2009 Toronto doc “Collapse” will come to audiences in a deal between FilmBuff and Vitagraph Films. Vitagraph will handle the film’s theatrical release and FilmBuff will launch the film on VOD simultaneously to its theatrical run. The film will open the film at New York’s Angelika Theater and FilmBuff will premiere the film on cable providers nationwide on November 6th. “Collapse” will also rollout theatrically into other markets while also being available on FilmBuff. Landmark Theatres will play the film day and date on December 4th in both the Bay Area (San Francisco and Berkeley ) and in San Diego. This is the first time a film will be released this soon after it premiered at a festival without distribution, according to the principals involved. In the film, Smith spotlights Michael Ruppert, a former LAPD officer turned reporter who predicted the current financial crisis in his self-published newsletter.

iW: “The Greening of Whitney Brown” begins production in GA

Production started October 8 on Perfect Weekend’s film “The Greening of Whitney Brown in Atlanta, Georgia. The family comedy stars Aidan Quinn, Brooke Shields, Kris Kristofferson and fourteen-year-old Sammi Hanratty (“A Christmas Carol”). Peter Odiorne makes his feature directorial debut guiding an original script by Gail Gilchriest (“My Dog Skip”). Justin Moore-Lewy and Charlie Mason are the producers. Ed Fitts and Sue Rathbone are the executive producers. The film follows the misadventures of Whitney Brown (Hanratty), a privileged and popular Philadelphia teenager whose world is upended when her parents, Henry (Quinn) and Joan (Shields), experience sudden economic problems that necessitate a family move to Whitney’s grandparents’ old farm in the country.

iW: Gravitas Ventures expands digital offerings via partnerships with distributors

Gravitas Ventures will expand its digital film offerings through collaborations with independent film companies Empire Film Group, Imagination Worldwide, Johnson Production Group, Liberation Entertainment, Submarine Entertainment, The Film Sales Company, Traction Media, Well Go USA, and Zeitgeist Films. “The caliber of films from our new partners enhances our mission to garner attention to talented filmmakers and bring their high-quality content to audiences through video on demand distribution,” said Nolan Gallagher, founder and CEO of Gravitas Ventures in a statement. “Working with so many industry leaders will enable us to deliver more than 250 programs to the VOD marketplace in both 2009 and 2010 and allow film lovers across North America an increased selection of theatrically released films and audience approved movies straight from their film festival premieres.”

iW: 50 Eggs Films parnters with AMC for doc, “TEN9EIGHT: Shoot for the Moon”

With an unprecedented level of support for a documentary film, AMC Entertainment Inc. (AMC) will exclusively release “TEN9EIGHT: Shoot for the Moon” on Nov. 13 during “Global Entrepreneurship Week” at 15 theatres in eight markets (New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Washington, DC and Kansas City). AMC will also offer a free screening on Nov. 12 in each market for teachers and their students. “We are delighted to partner with 50 Eggs Films to offer TEN9EIGHT exclusively to our AMC guests, ” said Robert J. Lenihan, president of programming for AMC in a statement. “The film’s message of entrepreneurship as a vehicle for keeping students in school is a powerful one, and we believe the film has the potential to positively influence every child that sees it.”

HR: Fox Searchlight, one year after hitting the “Millionaire” jackpot

…There is the possibility that Searchlight has, through its own success, inadvertently set too high a bar. The studio has already been trying to manage (admittedly high) expectations for the upcoming season. When we caught up with co-topper Nancy Utley for an interview recently, she tellingly noted, when asked how much of a player she expected her company to be in light of last year’s success, that “It’s important to recognize that ‘Slumdog’ is an anomaly. If we look for it every year we’re going to be disappointed.” Steven Zeitchik reports.

NYT: Polanski Says Some Support Counterproductive

A lawyer for Roman Polanski said on Sunday his client realized that some of the support he had received since his arrest had not been helpful to securing his release, Agence France-Presse reported. Adding that he was concerned for Mr. Polanski’s health, the lawyer, Herve Temime, spoke to Agence France-Presse after visiting Mr. Polanski on Friday in a Swiss prison. Dave Itzkoff reports.

Screen: Berlin kicks off birthday year with Market pass discounts

The Berlin Internationa Film Festival has kicked the celebrations for its 60th birthday next year by slashing the price of its Market Badge and European Film Market (EFM) Screening Pass for a limited period. The festival is cutting the price of the Market Badge by $148 (O100) to $444 (O300) between October 15, when accreditaiton opens, until November 30. Martin Blaney reports.

LAT: Mike Nichols named to receive AFI’s 38th Life Achievement Award

Oscar-winning director Mike Nichols has been selected by the American Film Institute Board of Trustees to receive the 38th annual AFI Life Achievement Award. Nichols will receive the Life Achievement Award at a gala tribute next summer in Los Angeles.

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