Cinematical's Indie Roundup

After a one-week break for bad behavior, Indie Roundup returns, refreshed and ready to sum up what's new and what's been happening in the independent film community.

Deals. Multiple deals have been made in the last two weeks, indieWIRE reports, notably involving higher-profile directors Catherine Breillat (Bluebeard, based on a classic fairy tale, will hit theaters next spring, courtesy of Strand Releasing) and Atom Egoyan (Chloe, starring Julianne Moore, Liam Neeson, and Amanda Seyfried, due in the first half of 2010 through Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Group). Of the latter, an erotic thriller, Monika Bartyzel wrote: "Chloe might not connect on a personal level, it does trap you into these lurid lives that flirt with every notion of bad behavior. I just wish they were characters I could love or hate, or simply feel for."

Director Chris Smith may be lower-profile, but fans of American Movie and The Yes Men (me! me!) will be glad to know that his latest work, Collapse, will hit theaters and VOD simultanteously next month. Kevin Kelly posted an exclusive poster and provided release dates, as well as a tidbit about the doc. Also coming to theaters and VOD next month is suspense thriller Uncertainty, starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins; indieWIRE has more details on that one.

Online Viewing. As practically the only film critic in America who liked Couples Retreat, I feel honor bound to tell you that one of its stars, Faizon Love, had a much better showcase for his talents in Tao of the Golden Mask, which he wrote and directed. It streams exclusively on Babelgum this month. And Ti West's Trigger Man is finally available at iTunes Movie store.

The Maid cleans up -- after the jump!
Indie Weekend Box Office. The little horror thriller that could continues to rack up box office bucks, averaging an amazing $25,813 per-screen at 760 theaters, according to Box Office Mojo, for a total of $19.6 million over the weekend. Paranormal Activity has earned $33 million so far in four weeks of release.

'The Maid' (Elephant Eye Films)Among new, non-horror, but still lower-budgeted independent releases, The Maid (pictued) debuted in one theater to the tune of $17,036. The Spanish-language film is a "pitch-black Chilean comedy," Scott Foundas wrote in The Village Voice. "The Remains of the Day as reimagined by a budding Luis Buñuel, The Maid was co-written and directed by 30-year-old Sebastián Silva, who shot the film in the house where he grew up and based it, in part, on events from his childhood." Foundas also praised the lead performance by Catalina Saavedra as a long-time live-in maid who resists her employer's attempts to hire another maid to help her.

As my compadre Eric D. Snider noted in a recent Indie Spotlight, coming-of-age story An Education "was a huge hit at Sundance this year, with raves all around for its star (Carey Mulligan) and its director (Lone Scherfig)." In its second week of release, audiences are responding as well; the film drew $12,882 per-screen as it expanded into 15 theaters. The slow roll-out by Sony Pictures Classics continues in the coming weeks.

Film Festivals. What makes AFI Fest in Los Angeles stand out this year? Our own Jen Yamato highlighted the FREE! admission to every screening, which is undoubtedly the best deal in town. But beyond the attraction of FREE!, the line-up is a cinephile's dream, packed with just about every buzzed-about critical darling from the past nine months. The fest starts on October 30, and it makes me yearn to live once again in the City of Angels-- or at least to wish that I could spend the week watching movies for FREE!

Doug Jones is Senior Programmer for the other big festival in town, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and he also happens to be a fine writer. Check out his impressions of the Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea, which recently concluded; indieWIRE has his full report.

From the other side of the world, Karina Longworth filed a series of dispatches from the Middle Eastern International Film Festival in Abu Dhabi at Spout, which are definitely worth sitting back and reading.