While the jury is still out on how much profit will be reaped by either IFC Films or Lions Gate from the “Fahrenheit 9/11” juggernaut, this year doc features irrefutably provided a healthy shot in the arm for IFC, led by Michael Moore’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner.
But elsewhere too, non-fiction has boosted IFC’s profile. IFC did well with its Jan. 23 release of Kevin Macdonald’s “Touching the Void.” The mountain-climbing suspenser’s $4.7 million gross outperformed Sony Classics’ Oscar-winner “The Fog of War.” More recently, the distrib launched Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky’s heavy metal therapy session “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” to stellar reviews and buoyant specialty business.
IFC hopes to keep the non-fiction momentum going with the release in early 2005 of “Dust to Glory,” Dana Brown’s account of legendary off-road racing event Baja 1,000, acquired by the distrib out of Cannes and now in post.
The feature front has been less fruitful for IFC, with modest results from pickups like Norwegian comedy “Kitchen Stories,” Irish Colin Farrell starrer “Intermission” and Canadian maverick Guy Maddin’s Depression-era beer hall musical, “The Saddest Music in the World.”
The company is looking to heat up its feature slate in the fall with two steamy releases. Set to premiere in Toronto, James Toback’s thriller “When Will I Be Loved,” with Neve Campbell; and French iconoclast Catherine Breillat’s “Sex Is Comedy.”
IFC’s 2005 slate includes four inhouse productions: Rebecca Miller’s “The Ballad of Jack and Rose,” with Daniel Day Lewis; Aric Avelino’s “American Gun,” with Forest Whitaker, Donald Sutherland and Linda Cardellini; Michael Showalter’s “The Baxter,” starring Showalter, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Williams and Justin Theroux; and performance artist Miranda July’s debut feature, “Me and You and Everyone We Know.”
IFC SHORT TAKE:
KEY EXECS: Jonathan Sehring, prexy, IFC Entertainment; Caroline Kaplan, senior VP, production and acquisitions; Greg Forston, VP, distribution
M.O.: Goes for an eclectic mix of indie features, non-fiction titles and esoteric foreign-lingo pickups, releasing 10-12 titles per year. Docus look to play an increasing part both theatrically and on DVD through deals with MGM and New Video.
HIGHS/LOWS: “Fahrenheit 9/11” ($115 million, in release); “The Intended” ($8,106)
FIRST LOOKS: None
PICKUPS: “CSA: The Confederate States of America” (Sundance); “The Edukators,” “Nobody Knows,” “Dust to Glory” (Cannes)
KUDO WATCH: Doc categories for “Touching the Void” and “Metallica,” and wider for “Fahrenheit 9/11”