Homecoming for helmers

Indie directors return to support IFFM

NEW YORK — Alumni of the Independent Feature Film Market along with talent in this year’s crop of indie pics are turning out to show their support for the market, which runs through Friday at the Angelika Film Center, the Tribeca Film Center and the Anthology Film Archives.

“Chasing Amy” director Kevin Smith came by the Anthology on Sunday to introduce “Clerks,” which is part of an IFFM retrospective playing there.

Tom Musca, who is at the market this year with “Melting Pot,” was on hand for the Anthology screening of “Stand and Deliver,” which he produced and co-wrote, while Richard Fisher introduced “The Brothers McMullen,” the Ed Burns film on which Fisher was d.p.

“Next Stop Wonderland” helmer Brad Anderson also was been spotted in the auditoriums at the Angelika. Anderson’s first feature, “The Darien Gap,” received early industry exposure at the market, which is sponsored by the Independent Feature Project.

Actor/director Sam Seder, who has a supporting role in “Wonderland,” was at the Angelika Wednesday to screen his comedy “Who’s the Caboose?”

Starring Andy Dick (“Newsradio”), Sarah Silver and Seder, “Caboose” is a guided tour of the network TV pilot season. It made its world premiere at the Aspen Comedy Film Festival and has received a commitment for a two-week run from Boston’s Coolidge Corner theater.

Sylvia Miles was in the house for Wednesday’s screening of “Rose’s,” a drama that is set in a small Georgia town on Valentine’s Day. Miles stars with Leslie France and Wayne Dehart in the film, which was written and directed by Frank Patterson.

Will Patton came to the IFFM to tub-thump for Gary Hawkins’ documentary “The Rough South,” which stars Harry Crews, Patton and Natalie Canerday.

Frank’s place

On Friday, “Angela’s Ashes” author Frank McCourt, his brother Malachy and other family members are expected to attend the Tribeca Film Center screening of “The McCourts of New York.” The documentary is the sequel to last year’s IFFM discovery, “The McCourts of Limerick.” Conor McCourt directed both docs.

“Henry Fool” star James Urbaniak, who is also featured in Woody Allen’s 1998 fall project, is expected to appear at Friday’s screening of Madeline Schwartzman’s “Aphrodisiac,” in which Urbaniak stars.

At the IFFM, specialized film distributors have been keeping a close eye on “The Waiting Game,” writer/director Ken Liotti’s ensemble comedy about a group of aspiring actors who wait tables at a Gotham restaurant. Pic stars Will Arnett, Terumi Matthews and Dwight Ewell and is being repped by Loeb & Loeb’s Jeremy Barber.

Buzz is also strong for “The Life Jacket Is Under Your Seat,” which was directed by Leonardo Ricagni and was written by Ricagni, Nestor Pinton and Pato Lopez. Pic tells the story of a recently released convict who comes to a South American city seeking redemption.

New sponsors

This year’s IFFM has attracted two new sponsors — Carl Icahn’s specialized film startup Stratosphere Entertainment and Imperial Entertainment Group. Stratosphere president Paul Cohen and Imperial vice president Patrick Lee hosted a cocktail party Wednesday night at the Gotham nightclub El Flamingo to celebrate a special IFFM screening of the Stratosphere release “The Last Big Thing,” directed by and starring Dan Zukovic.

The principals of Tokyo-based Fab Films are scouting the Angelika for six features that will unspool in a showcase of American independent film to be held next year in Tokyo. The event, which was announced at this year’s Cannes fest, will be called “The Soho IFFM.”

Fab president Mathew Jacobs explains that the hip New York district south of Houston Street is well-known to the young Tokyo natives that the showcase is trying to target. “New York is a mecca for young Japanese,” he said.

Fab, whose principals also include Jun Goto and Makoto Nishimura, recently acquired its first film for Japanese theatrical distribution. Fab has picked up Carrie Ansell’s “Flushed,” a comedy set in the bathroom of a Greenwich Village nightclub. Pic screened at last year’s IFFM.

Fab has also acquired Japanese theatrical rights to Eric Bross’ “Restaurant” starring Adrien Brody. “Restaurant” does not currently have a U.S. distributor, but its prospects should improve after Brody hits the bigscreen later this year in Terence Malick’s “A Thin Red Line.”

Fab also plans to open its own theater in Tokyo dedicated exclusively to American and European independent fare. “We want to become the Angelika of Tokyo,” said Jacobs as he sat in the lobby of the said theater.

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