PARK CITY, Jan. 19 - What's grabbing the spotlight at the Sundance Film
Stratosphere Entertainment, the new independent film company formed by longtime
producer Paul Cohen and takeover mogul Carl Icahn, introduced its inaugural
slate of films here this weekend. Highlighting Stratosphere's film list
is "One Tough Cop" a biographical crime drama starring Stephen
Baldwin and Gina Gershon. Scheduled for a fall release, the script was penned
by Martin and Michael Bregman and will be direcdted by Bruno Baretto of
"Carried Away" fame.
Among the rest of Stratosphere's films are German jailhouse pic "Bandits,"
Adam Bernstein's black comedy "Six Ways to Sunday" and writer/director
Dan Zukovic's satirical Hollywood send-up "The Last Big Thing."
Cohen praised the roster of films. "These are challenging voices, but
their independence and originality do not restrict them to a narrow audience,"
said the veteran "Bad Lieutenant" producer. "What will distinguish
Stratosphere is our goal to exist at the crossroads where filmgoers match
the daring of the filmmakers"...
The controversy over Nick Broomfield's documentary on celebrity, "Kurt
and Courtney," is still heating up dinner converstations. After Sundance
announced the film's withdrawal on the eve of the festival over "unresolved
legal matters" including music rights, Broomfield sounded off to the
trades. The British filmmaker claimed his insurance covered music rights
and insinuated lawsuit threats by Courtney Love led to the film's removal
from the fesitival. Holding court at a makeshift press conference in his
hotel room, Broomfield - who is also a jury member for the documentary competition
this year - confirmed that he'd been meeting with Slamdance officials to
discuss screening "Kurt and Courtney"...
Even Robert Redford chimed in on the issue at his annual media press conference
and brunch. Redford, who made a brief appearance at Sundance in between
edit sessions for his film "The Horse Whisperer," said he had
hoped the film would see the screen but was told the festival's "hands
[were] tied." The Sundance founder even took a shot at Love, saying,
"As an artist who's benefited so much from freedom of speech in her
career, I find it highly ironic that she chose to prevent another artist
from showing his work." Take that, Miss World...
Finally, one of the most bizarre cameos in recent memory can be found in
the festival entry "Slam." An otherwise nameless film about street
hoods in prison, "Slam" contains a curious choice of casting for
the role of a drug abuse counselor - Washington, D. C. mayor and crack video
star Marion Barry.