News from January 25, 2001

Man alive, are you ready for this?

Miramax has teamed with one of the NSync boys to produce vacuous high-concept films featuring athletes, pop stars and musicians with soundtrack driven story ideas.

Even Don Simpson is rolling in his grave over this one.

Is Kathyrn Bigelow the next George Lucasr We’ll find sometime next summer, when her independently financed $80M opus “K-19: The Widowmaker” hits screens. (Of course, Ms. Bigelow is not spending her own money.) To add to the comparison, she’s signed on former “Star Wars” stars Harrison Ford and Liam Neeson to topline her ambitious story of a Soviet submarine crew’s race to stop their payload from becoming a nuclear meltdown. Shooting is scheduled to begin next month.

This just in. New Line and Fine Line to merge their operations and rename the new entity Bottom Line.

Okay, that’s not quite the story, but it might as well be. Looking to become a headline on f***, the company was forced to cut back one-fifth of their employees thanks to their new owners, AOL. Included in the firings were several members of the Fine Line team currently in Park City.

“Hey, man, we really appreciate all the effort you’ve put into the company. Now get your ass out of this screening, get your bags out of our hotel suite and find your own way home.”

Class act, that AOL. But you already knew that.

There was a panel discussion in Park City on Tuesday, where the topic was the lack of personal stories within the modern American independent film. One of the participants, Sundance Lab founder and director Michelle Satter, really pinned the tail on the donkey when she wisely noted films were less eclectic now. She must have gotten her first glance at this year’s Sundance calendar earlier in the day.

And how in the hell did Patrick Swayze become this year’s Sundance poster