IFC Films

In wake of 'Big Fat' returns, IFC has some big challenges ahead

The problem with launching a film like IFC’s 2002 smash “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is that it’s not so much a movie as a cultural event. Afterward, mere motion pictures tend to pale in comparison.

True, IFC did find success with a docu about a failed movie, “Lost in La Mancha.” But other titles simply fell flat. Features such as “Manic,” “XX/XY,” “The Safety of Objects” and in-house production “Ash Wednesday” did little to raise the company’s profile.

Another IFC production, doc “A Decade Under the Influence,” received good notices for its profile of 1970s filmmaking but didn’t make a blip at the box office. It stands to do better on DVD, and might also get noticed in its serial version on the cabler this month.

Still to come this year is drag comedy “Girls Will Be Girls,” John Sayles’ “Casa de los Babys,” and two French-language pics, “Novo” and “Sex Is Comedy.”

However, IFC’s biggest bets are reserved for 2004, when the company will release two significant films produced by IFC Prods. These include the Colin Farrell comedy, “Intermission,” which will bow at the 2003 Toronto Film Festival, and “Rose and the Snake,” starring Daniel Day-Lewis and directed by Rebecca Miller, who also helmed “Personal Velocity” for IFC’s digital initiative InDigEnt.

Exec ranks: Jonathan Sehring, prexy, IFC Entertainment; Caroline Kaplan, senior VP, production & development; Caroline Bock, senior VP, marketing; Greg Forston, VP, sales & distribution; Sarah Lash, director, theatrical acquisitions

First-looks: None

Recent pickups: “Lost in La Mancha” (Telluride 2002), “Novo” (Toronto 2002), “Camp” and “Girls Will be Girls” (Sundance 2003), “Sex Is Comedy” (Cannes 2003)

Year at B.O.: Top grosser: “Lost in La Mancha” ($732,000); lowest grosser: “Ash Wednesday” ($4,624)

Kudo watch: Look for “Lost in La Mancha” as a possible contender in docu categories.