Two Films Based On Same Story Compete For Cable/Ace Award
by Jessica Shulsinger
The upcoming Cable/ACE Awards will provide an unusual head-to-head
competition for indies and studio projects. This year’s nominees for Best
Dramatic Special include two different movie versions of the same short
story. One film is a high-budget, HBO production — the other an
independent, sponsored by New York-based Trinity Television and aired on
Odyssey Cable, a basic cable channel, formerly known as the Faith and
Values Channel. The Odyssey version of the film was made for a fraction of
the cost of the HBO version — less than $200,000, according to producer
Linda Hanick. If one of these films does win — there are just three
nominees in the category — it may provide an interesting contribution to
the independent vs. studio controversy.
Both films are based on a short story that appeared in The New Yorker a few
years ago, titled “In The Gloaming“, by Alice Elliot Dark. HBO acquired the
rights to the story after Trinity Television gained non-exclusive rights,
with a promise to remain true to Dark’s original version of the story.
Details on the amount either paid for the rights were not released. The
Odyssey version was directed by Helen Whitney, an independent filmmaker who
has won a DGA Award for her documentary on Richard Avedon. The screenplay
for Whitney’s version was adapted by Robert Owens Scott, executive produced
by Jeffrey Weber, and stars New York-based actors Diane Kagan, Lonny Price,
and David Howard. Christopher Reeve directed the HBO version, which stars
The HBO version has already been released on video; the Odyssey version
will soon be available on video, said producer Linda Hanick, who also noted
that Odyssey will re-air the film on December 1st.
The Cable/ACE award in the Best Dramatic category will be announced Nov. 14
in a non-televised ceremony. In a conversation with indieWIRE, a
spokesperson from the National Cable Television Association said she
believed that two films adopted from the same story have never been
nominated in this category. The Cable/ACE awards began in 1979.