the Chevy Chase-based film company that produced such moderately budgeted films as Dreamscape, Hell Night, Fear City and The Seduction -- has split up after the partners couldn't agree on movie budgets.
"We want to go back to making pictures in the two-ge," says Tom Curtis, who, with his brother Bruce Cohn Curtis, has broken off business dealings with real estate developer Stanley R. Zupnik. "Stanley feels more comfortable with bigger budgeted films."
Curtis says the parting was friendly.
According to this month's Washingtonian magazine, Zupnik plans to begin shooting his $14 million Going to the Chapel in New York sometime this spring.
The trio formed Zupnik-Curtis Enterprises Inc. four years ago and attracted about 45 investors in their venture, which focused on the production of low-budget, low-risk films. Its 1982 The Seduction, starring Morgan Fairchild and Michael Sarrazin, cost under $4 million and has grossed more than $12 million from combined box-office and video rental receipts, according to Curtis.
The Curtis brothers see the ever-growing video rental market as a "can't-lose proposition" in the low-budget movie business and plan to continue making movies that can be channeled into the video market.
"We are going back to making the successful pictures we made before," says Tom Curtis. "I'm not finding it hard at all to put together deals. I intend to stay in Washington and produce movies from Washington," adds the flamboyant former disc jockey and nightclub owner. "Besides, I can get a better table in Washington than in Hollywood."
The Courage to Care, the 281/2-minute documentary made in Washington by Robert Gardner and nominated for an Oscar in the Documentary Short Subject category, will be shown free Friday evening at 7:30 in American University's 100-seat Wechsler Theater in the Mary Graydon Center. The film tells of the rescue of Jews from the Holocaust by non- Jews. For details, call 885-2040.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington has added two more days to see Claude Lanzman's two-part, 91/2-hour Holocaust epic Shoah. The additional screenings for Part I are March 1 at 2 and 7; Part II on March 2 at noon and 6. Seats are $10 per segment. Call 881-0100.
The Hirshhorn Museum on Friday will offer "Beyond Cartoons: New Japanese Animation" beginning at 8 with about a dozen short flicks. Included are Broken Down Film, a spoof of silent films, cowboy movies and cartoons; Four Seasons of Japan, a catalogue of Japanese traditional art and nature; and Pica Don, about the bombing of Hiroshima. Call 357-3700.
The Reston Community Center celebrates Black History on Friday evening at 8 with Paul Wagner's 1982 documentary Miles of Smiles, Years of Struggle, a story of black Pullman porters. The 59-minute film was produced by the Columbia Historical Society in cooperation with the Smithsonian Institution, and incorporates archival films and photographs. Producer/director Wagner will attend the screening along with Happy Davis, a retired porter who is interviewed in the film. Call 476-1111 to reserve free tickets.
The Martin Luther King Library winds up Black History Month on Thursday at the Van Ness Campus of the University of the District of Columbia with a free program of new black independent films. Beginning at 6 p.m., see Warrington Hudlin's 1985, 45-minute video The Bucket; Debra Robinson's 1983 58- minute movie I Be Done Was Is; Ayoka Chenzira's 1982 Hair Piece: A Film for Nappy- Headed People; and Julie Dash's Illusions, made in 1982. Hudlin, Robinson and Clyd Taylor, a professor of history at Tufts University, will conduct a panel discussion following the screenings in Building 41, Room A03. Call 727-1271 or 727-2396.
In Baltimore, the Walters Art Gallery concludes its salute to Black History Month on Wednesday evening with Oscar Williams' 1973 comedy Five on the Black Hand Side. The free film series is being held in conjunction with the exhibits "Sharing Traditions: Five Black Artists in 19th-Century America" and "Harlem Portraits: Photographs by Carl Van Vechten." The gallery is at 600 North Charles Street. Call 301/547-9000.
George Mason University's main campus has begun a Foreign Film Festival concentrating on rarely seen French films. On Wednesday, see Jean Luc Godard's Les Carabiniers at 7:30 in Lecture Hall No. 1. Call 323-2220.
The Washington Society of Cinematographers, a local organization of film and video makers formed in 1937, will screen The Santos Family, a documentary about a karate black belt family, on Monday at 8 in Bethesda. The 28-minute video was produced, edited, written and filmed by Ray and Judy Schmidt, who will answer questions after the screening. Richie Schmidt, their 15-year-old son, will also show his music video spoof, Inside the Zaps, at the society's monthly meeting at the Bethesda Public Library, 7400 Arlington Road. It's free. Call 589-5982 or 525-8262 for details.
CLASSES -- The Animation House in Alexandria begins a four-week class, "Intro to Animation Techniques," on Saturday. The course, which runs each Saturday from 9:30 to noon, covers character animation, computer animation, motion graphics and special effects. The cost is $150 and includes materials. Call Larry Lauria at 684-1050.
Women in Film and Video will sponsor a lighting workshop at R&R Lighting, 813 Silver Spring Avenue, Silver Spring, on Saturday from 8:30 to 3:30. Cost is $45 for members; $60 for non-members. Call 759-3365 or 620- 4490.
Dan Rainey and Robert Starbird will begin an eight-week music video seminar this Monday evening from 7 to 10. All materials and fees are included in the $300 registration fee. Call 234-3754 or 243-1276.
SHORT SUBJECTS -- The National Gallery's free "Country House on Film" series winds up this weekend with the 1952 The Importance of Being Earnest and the 1945 Blithe Spirit on Friday and Saturday at 2:30 in the East Building Auditorium. Call 737-4215.
The Saul Landau series at the Institute for Policy Studies, 1901 Q St. NW, offers his 1971 spy story musical Que Hacer? on Sunday at 7. It probes the nature of Salvador Allende's election in Chile, the violent opposition and film as a political vehicle. Cost is $2.
The American History Museum's "America on Film" series shows the song-filled Words and Music, starring Judy Garland, Mickey Rooney and Gene Kelly, on Wednesday at noon in Carmichael Auditorium. It's free. Call 357-3030.
Robert Kolker, professor of film studies at the University of Maryland, will introduce the Smithsonian Resident Associates' Orson Welles retrospective on Monday evening starting at 7:30 in Carmichael Auditorium. The Magnificent Ambersons is the first of the six-part weekly series. Cost is $22 for members; $28 non-members. Call 357-3030.