New York, NY (November 9, 2011) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers announced today that award winning actors, Oliver Platt and Edie Falco, will serve as co-hosts of the IFP’s Gotham Independent Film Awards™ show on Monday, November 28th, 2011 in New York City. Also announced today are the Top 5 nominees for the Gotham Independent Film Audience Award. First round voting took place from October 18th to November 2nd and comprised 29 audience awards winning films from the top 50 US and Canadian film festivals. Round two voting began on November 7th to select a final winner and ends on November 20th at 11:59 pm EST. Filmgoers can vote online for their favorite film at http://gotham.ifp.org/audience_award. The Top 5 Nominees for the 2nd Annual Gotham Independent Film Audience Award powered by Festival Genius are:
Director/Producer: Justin Lerner
Producers: Jerad Anderson, Kristina Lauren Anderson, Shaun O’Banion
Director: Cindy Meehl
Producer: Julie Goldman
BEING ELMO: A PUPPETEER’S JOURNEY
Director/Producer: Constance Marks
Co-Director/Writer/Editor: Philip Shane
Producer: Corinne LaPook
Producer/Cinematographer: James Miller
WILD HORSE, WILD RIDE
Directors/Producers Alex Dawson and Greg Gricus
THE FIRST GRADER
Director: Justin Chadwick
Producers: Sam Feuer, Richard Harding, David M. Thompson
Last year’s Toronto Film Festival started slow for acquisitions, but finished with a flurry of modest distribution deals that served notice the specialty film business had finally pulled out of its nosedive. This year’s festival hasn’t started and already there are fireworks. Deadline broke news yesterday that Harvey Weinstein would start a VOD business, making the acquisitions market for fringe films more competitive; and last night, I heard that a bidding battle had already broken out for the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which should be sold by the time it screens Sunday. Fox Searchlight is the favorite, Sony Pictures Classics is in the mix and I’ve heard that The Weinstein Company is hovering. Bidding began right after its Telluride screening, and the mid-six figures thrown around yesterday will probably go higher. That’s huge, considering the movie is an unabashed NC-17, McQueen has final cut, and the sex-obsessed protagonist is unlikable. Oh, yeah, and the sellers want it released this year for Oscar consideration to capitalize on Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan’s Oscar-caliber performances.
Does this mean we’re in for a drunken buying frenzy? Hardly, buyers tell me. They are eager to see the films, but say there’s no title here that’s going to guarantee somebody will overpay. They are also mindful that many of last year’s deals turned out to be box office busts. More deals will be made than …
EXCLUSIVE: Add Oliver Platt to the cast of X-Men: First Class, the Matthew Vaughn-directed spinoff that 20th Century Fox puts into production next month in London. I’m told that Platt will play a role called The Man in Black, who is not a mutant. The film stars James McAvoy as Xavier, Michael Fassbender as Magneto, Alice Eve as Emma Frost, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Lucas Till as Havoc, and Edi Gathegi as Darwin. Kevin Bacon is playing the villain and Rose Byrne will play McAvoy’s love interest Moira MacTaggert.
The Big C executive producer and cancer survivor Jenny Bicks bought a Porsche when she was diagnosed with cancer. “Don’t wait to get cancer to make yourself happy,” she said at the TCA panel for the upcoming Showtime dark comedy series starring Laura Linney as a woman diagnosed with cancer.
Creator/executive producer Darlene Hunt dismissed suggestions that terminal cancer would be an off-putting subject for TV. “My favorite series ever is MASH… And who likes a war? Not me. A lot of people watched that show.”
Co-star Oliver Platt was very poetic. “The show asks an incredibly beautiful question: Why do we start to live beautifully only when we get a death sentence,” he said before turning to executive producer Vivian Cannon: “It’s time for a cancer comedy?”
After the session, Deadline contributor Diane Haithman asked series regular Gabourey Sidibe to comment on Howard Stern’s tirade about her on his radio show. “Everyone makes rude comments, it’s not the first rude comment I’ve heard it my life,” she said. “People outside of my life, it doesn’t matter what they say because they have no idea what’s in my life.”
At the panel, The Precious star reflected on what she called “a strange year,” in which the showbiz novice landed an Oscar nomination for her film debut.
“Geez, I thought I’d be a receptionist. I’m always middle of the main, I’ve always led a very normal life…, I ride the subway, I ride the bus… It just shows that whatever plan you have for your life, …