Occasionally even us jaded critic types can be bowled over by a film, which is exactly what happened Tuesday when Raw Deal: A Question of Consent threw us for a loop. The film, directed by University of Miami student Billy Corben, has sent many an audience member walking due to its explicit sexual content, but those who sit through it are passionately divided over whether the documentary's subject, Lisa Gier King, was raped in a Florida fraternity house in 1999. [For more about Raw Deal, read this story.] Corben lets the film speak for itself. After the screening, he even admitted that both he and his producer, Alfred Spellman, have done complete turnarounds with their own opinions in the time since the film was been completed.
Raw Deal is likely to find distribution in the next few days, as numerous acquisitions execs have been spotted at screenings. Sources tell Mr. Showbiz that it's unlikely that the film will go to the art-house division of a major studio, due to its explicit nature. That leaves true independents like Artisan and Lions Gate — both of which have experience with provocative material — as likely distributors.
Corben told the audience at Tuesday's screening that this was probably the last time anyone would ever publicly see the film as the filmmakers intended. "This uncut, unadulterated version will probably not remain this way," he said.
Deals Galore While Raw Deal continues to receive major attention, many other films are beginning to heat up the rumor mill as well. Business of Strangers, featuring a breakthrough performance from the already-red-hot Julia Stiles, will likely have a deal in place by close of business today. And the romantic comedy Jump Tomorrow (aka Joel Hopkins Untitled) had finished all of its festival screenings when it was announced that the movie would receive an additional public screening to satisfy distributor demand to see the film in front of an audience.
And while numerous distributors were spied walking out of the premiere of Richard Linklater's animated digital feature, Waking Life, Tuesday night, many major distributors remained and demanded time with Linklater and his reps following the screening to discuss immediate acquisition.
High on the Hedgehog A chance meeting on a Park City shuttle bus led the Mr. Showbiz gang to the party for old-school porn star Ron Jeremy — a living god to some — who's the subject of a new biopic screening at Sundance alternative fest No Dance. (Why it's not screening at the Lapdance fest, we don't know.)
Jeremy, traveling from the Salt Lake City Airport to Sundance, was initially coy with the Mr. Showbiz mole about his profession. Nonetheless, some of our knowledgeable staffers — whose appreciation of cinema is as wide as it is deep — admitted that they knew him as the man nicknamed The Hedgehog, which makes sense if you've ever seen him naked. (And we know you have.)
At the party on Main Street, a handful — OK, more like a couple of handfuls — of real live silicone- and collagen-enhanced porn stars had local security guards standing at attention when they began bumping, grinding, and simulating various lesbian love acts. Naturally, Mr. Showbiz was in the, er, thick of it as the rapt crowd looked on in awe at the impressive contortions of the extremely enthusiastic exhibitionists. As the dancing progressed to stripping, a baby-faced, crewcut guard blew his whistle, so to speak, stopping the pneumatic extravaganza and leaving the audience agonizingly unfulfilled.
Although Jeremy has done some legitimate film work (well, barely; he played the evil porn director in Orgazmo) and has, uh, hung in the past with Charlie Sheen, the only celeb your mother might have heard of in attendance was L.A. Law's Corbin Bernsen.
It's Gone Too Far Reality TV satire Series 7 has received accolades at this year's festival for its skewering of the genre. Meantime, some former Real World folks have been in town promoting their new film, The Real Movie, and stumping for alternative fest No Dance. We hooked up with former cast members Syrus (Boston), Beth (Los Angeles), Nathan (Seattle), and Ruthie (Hawaii), who were more than happy to talk our ear off about themselves and Real Movie, which supposedly takes on reality TV the way Scary Movie did the horror genre. And since no industry event can transpire without an appearance from a member of the ubiquitous Survivor cast, Gervase was spotted on Main Street at the Showbiz Data Interactive Lounge.
It's All Over There's no need for us to go to any more parties at Sundance this year. Tuesday night we witnessed the most organic, off-the-hook extravaganza the festival has seen in recent years. In celebration of the release of hip-hop turntablism films Scratch and Wavetwisters, the dance party at Harry O's had the 700-plus crowd screaming and chanting for more from artists like Cut Chemist, DJ Z-Trip, Q-Bert, Mixmaster Mike, Beat Junkies, and the brilliant hip-hop collective Jurassic 5. While the party was without the usual celebrity contingent (many of them were at the packed Waking Life party: 200-person capacity, 500 invitations), we did spy Enigma star Jeremy Northam getting down with a particularly flexible companion. The party's over, and we're ready to go home happy now.