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Hawke’s ‘Hottest’ in IFC’S nest

Blum will produce film based on novel

A correction was made to this article on July 24, 2003.

NEW YORK — IFC Films has committed to finance and distribute Ethan Hawke’s second feature as writer-director, “The Hottest State,” adapted from his novel of the same name about the discovery of love in New York City.

No cast has been announced for the film, to be produced by Jason Blum of Blumhouse Prods., who previously worked with Hawke on “Hamlet.” Anthony Katagas and Callum Greene will co-produce for Keep Your Head Prods.

Chronicling the desperate, consuming rush that accompanies young love from its first hints to its ultimate disintegration, the story focuses on two young aspiring performers grappling with questions of self-identity and emotion that neither is equipped to handle.

“The Hottest State” was published by Little, Brown in 1996.

“I’ve been thinking about making this movie for a number of years and have now found the perfect place with IFC Films,” Hawke said.

As one of the founders — with producer-director Gary Winick and Cinetic Media chief John Sloss — of digital filmmaking initiative InDigEnt, IFC was behind Hawke’s 2001 directing debut, “Chelsea Walls,” which premiered in the Directors Fortnight at Cannes and was released domestically by Lions Gate.

Shooting will begin on “The Hottest State” in January. IFC has not set a release date, but the deal with Hawke, announced by IFC Entertainment prez Jonathan Sehring, underlines the company’s intention to distribute its own productions.

IFC opens Todd Graff’s musical youth pic “Camp” on Friday in exclusive New York and Los Angeles engagements, expanding Aug. 8 into other key markets. Also upcoming for the company is John Sayles’ “Casa de los Babys” on Sept. 19.

Blum is in production on “The Fever,” written by Wallace Shawn and starring Vanessa Redgrave.

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