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‘September’ bows Down Under

GOOD MORNING: With the Olympics a week away it’s worth noting that “One Day in September,” Arthur Cohn’s Oscar-winning docu about the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics, has opened Down Under, successfully playing in three theaters. Olympics president Juan Samaranch screened it and termed it “a significant document of history.” Sony Classics, believing the film has such power (and it has), they have agreed to distribute it theatrically in the U.S. next month even after HBO’s single airing Monday. TriStar follows later with the video and DVD. In the past week, Cohn has shown “One Day” in Israel, Telluride, Washington, Boston and N.Y., but he has been unable to get a theatrical distributor in Germany and was also turned down by the Berlin Film Festival. But Germany’s ARD TV channel director Gunter Struve agreed to show the film pre-Olympics. Cohn is now off to Brazil, the site of his Oscar-nominated feature “Central Station” to start another pic with director Walter Salles. Titled “Behind The Sun” (based on the book, “Broken April”) about two feuding families and will be shot in “extremely hard to get locations,” says Cohn.

HILLARY CLINTON HAS BEEN INTERVIEWED for “The White House: The First Two Hundred Years” to air on the History Channel — after the election. Producer-director Noah Morowitz has interviewed all former living presidents (with the exception of Ronald Reagan) on what the White House has meant to them. Morowitz will be filming behind the scenes footage at a White House state dinner (for the prime minister of India), Sept. 17. It will be the last state dinner of the White House’s first 200 years. The first president to spend a night in the White House was John Adams on Nov. 1, 1800. Hillary noted, “If I go into the state dining room, there’s that extraordinary portrait of Abraham Lincoln and he’s always watching us. His presence permeates the house.” And as the Clintons ready to move out of the White House, she tells the experience of moving in — immediately after he was sworn in. “We had a moving truck filled with our belongings out in the driveway, but no one could move anything in until after Bill actually became president. There were boxes piled up everywhere. There were crates of things and all kinds of confusion in the house. That actually lasted for a number of years.” … DGA president Jack Shea puts the upcoming strikes in perspective in his report to the membership in DGA’s upcoming magazine, saying, “It is our responsibility as leaders to make sure there is a fair deal without disruption of the industry. Those who lead the companies have the same responsibility.” He encourages “our sister Guilds to put aside issues that might divide us as we enter what the ancient Chinese proverb would undoubtedly refer to as ‘interesting times’.”

L.A. WELCOMED HER WITH open arms — “Aida,” that is, the L.A. Opera’s first production of Verdi’s opera and under the watchful eye — and arms — of Placido Domingo, the new artistic director who conducted, but did not sing, the season’s opener. But he was ever the star — even with his back to the audience. The SRO Dorothy Chandler Pavilion audience cheered and applauded lengthily. As did the 800 who attended the gala which followed outdoors in an Egyptian-decor’d and Spanish tasty’d tables — plus Rob Rio and the Revolvers music. Domingo was intro’d by Leonard Green, the Opera’s prexy and CEO, and Placido, in turn graciously brought on the opera’s principals and crew — to more applause. Placido who will not sing this season, will, however, concert — the first is Sunday. He launches next season in “Queen of Spades.” Ian White-Thomson is the Opera’s new exec director. Placido will definitely have time away from the Opera this season to receive his Kennedy Center Honor during the Dec. 3 weekend … Alberto Vilar, who underwrote “Aida,” will reveal details of further contributions to the L.A. Opera at a Tuesday press confab along with Valery Gerfiev. I asked Placido if he and son Alvaro will follow up their feature, “The Other Conquest” (Placido put up the $3 million) with a second film? He said they haven’t found a suitable follow-up story. Among the many Los Angelenos supporting the Opera, Fred Hayman and wife Betty who hosted these opera lovers on opening night: Cyd Charisse and Tony Martin (he opens the 10th season of the “Palm Springs Follies,” Nov. 7), Ginny Mancini and Jay Weston, the George Schlatters, Rosemary and Bob Stack, Jacqueline Bisset and Emin Boztepe, Donanne and Ali Kasikci, Pat and Michael York (he starts a second “Omega Code”). Among other showbiz opera lovers, Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance and Doris Roberts … At today’s Women in Film Lucy Awards at the BevHilton, winner “If These Walls Could Talk” will be repped by Sharon Stone, Cher, Anne Heche and Michelle Williams. Debbie Allen presents to winner Marcy Carsey and Camryn Manheim hosts.

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