‘Party’ makes splash but helmer makes waves

Described in a Variety review as the “junior cousin to Larry Kasdan’s ‘Grand Canyon,’ “”When the Party’s Over” has established first-timer Matthew Irmas as a director capable of handling low-budget, character-driven ensemble pieces. But the 36-year-old former Kings Road production executive wants more.

Irmas outlined a slate of five projects in development for his Emby Eye production company, including two budgeted in the $ 10 million to $ 15 million range.

An eight-digit budget would be a directorial step up for Irmas, considering that “Party’s Over” was produced for $ 600,000 and will be distributed theatrically on a platform basis by Strand Releasing beginning March 12. But Irmas has worked in the big leagues before, having just completed work as producer (with Joel Michaels) on New Line Cinema’s “Three of Hearts.”

“Essentially I’ve been working on two different levels — director and producer,” Irmas said. “I’m obviously more advanced as a producer, and have a couple of fairly big projects that I’m ready to tackle (‘Angel’s Flight,’ ‘New York, N.Y. 10022’ and ‘Mount Manhattan’). As a director, I’ve just gotten my feet wet and feel the next step would be a project in the $ 5 million range.”

Currently in development at Emby Eye:

“Angel’s Flight,” from an original screenplay by Jill Isaacs, is a 1940s detective thriller about the “conspiracy to rid Los Angeles of its Red Cars — the world’s best rapid transit system of its day.” The movie is in development for HBO Prods. Irmas will executive produce.

“New York, N.Y. 10022,” based on novelist Steve Kahn’s caper story, is about a mail heist in which all the mail in New York’s 10022 Zip code is stolen by a band of thieves. Irmas and Elliot Rosenblatt will produce. The writer’s assignment is open.

“Mount Manhattan” is based on Irmas’ original story. Written by Scott Schneid and Tony Michelman, it puts a modern-day, New York spin on the legend of Cupid and Psyche. Irmas will produce.

“Coming of Age,” described as an amalgam of “Educating Rita” and “The Lover,” about an 18-year-old girl who becomes romantically involved with a college professor. Written by Tim Burns, “Age” will be directed by Irmas and produced by James Holt.

o “Eldorado,” from a screenplay by Robert King, traces the history of a 1959 Cadillac through the rock ‘n’ roll era. Irmas will direct.

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