DAILY NEWS: Entertainment News Start-Up; Latino PBS Grants; Sundance and Spacey
by Eugene Hernandez and Maya Churi
>> Anderson, Brown and Hirschhorn Team for Entertainment News Site; Start-Up
Lures Variety News Editor Petrikin
(indieWIRE/12.7.99) — A new Internet site from a seasoned group of media
executives and magazine editors is targeting the Hollywood news
establishment — namely Variety. The new site will be launced by Powerful Media
Inc, a new company from former New York Magazine editor-in-chief Kurt Anderson,
former Brill’s Content president Deanna Brown, and former Spin Magazine
editor-in-chief Michael Hirschorn. The outlet, which will debut in the
Spring, has already lured Variety’s Chris Petrikin as its Film Editor.
Petrikin, who started as an assistant to Variety editor-in-chief Peter Bart,
was recently named News Editor at the traditional Hollywood trade publication.
The departure is the latest high-profile move by a Variety editor into new media
publishing (Andrew Hindes left the Hollywood trade recently for iFilm).
A press release announcing the new venture anticipates that the service will
be “the most authoritative, timely, intelligent source of news, analysis and
data about the entertainment and media industries.” In a coversation with
indieWIRE via email, Powerful Media’s Kurt Anderson explained that the as yet
unnamed site will cover film, TV, radio, music, journalism in all media and
Variety’s Peter Bart is skeptical, telling the New York Times yesterday (Monday),
“I feel that to succeed with that game plan would require such an enormous
staff — and a sophisticated staff — that it is way beyond their resources,”
he continued. “I think what they are going to do, frankly, is make big
promises, and strike out.”
Unfazed by Bart’s quip, Kurt Anderson told indieWIRE, “‘But….they’re not
huge and slow and cumbersome like we are!’ remarked one skeptical dinosaur
as the strange new creatures–the mammals–stampeded toward them.”
>> Latino Public Broadcasting Announces Grants for Latino-Oriented Programs
(indieWIRE/12.7.99) — Latino Public Broadcasting Chairman Edward James Olmos
has announced that 12 television projects, focusing on the U.S./Latino
experience, will receive grants totaling $600,000 to cover different stages
of development, production and completion of the projects. Of 132 proposals
submitted, 12 were chosen that reflect the diverse talent prominent in the
Latino community. [Maya Churi]
The winning projects include:
— “The Head of Joaquin Murrieta” by John Valdez — an hour long
documentary about the life of the 19th century bandit.
— “Red Water” by Ray Telles and Vincent Gutierrez — a narrative story
about a Los Angeles Chicano policeman who leaves the city for small town
— “Bomba: A Life in Dance” by Ashley James — a one hour documentary
about the legendary Cepeda family of Puerto Rico.
— “Demystifying The Demon” by Stephanie Rauber — a document of the
director’s journey from NYC to Brazil where she confronts her 75 years
old abusive father.
— “Death Comes To The Maquilas” by Lourdes Portillo and Jennifer
Maytorena — an investigative documentary about the unsolved serial
killings in Cuidad Juarez;.
— “Playing The Game: Soccer and Life In The City” by Walter Schlomann —
a film that uses soccer to depict the lives of Latino children in New
— “Cuban Roots/Bronx Stories” by Pam Sporn — a documentary about 3
siblings who immigrated from Cuba in 1962.
— “Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas” by
Jonathan Meyer Robinson — about the 71-year-old Afro-Latino writer,
educator and activist.
— “The Blue Diner” by Natatcha Estebanez — a feature, fiction film about
Latino experiences in the U.S.
— “The Puerto Rican Soldier” by Noemi Figueroa Soulet — a historical
chronicle of the Puerto Rican 65th Infantry Regiment during the Korean
— “Land of 1,000 Dances” by Hector Gonzalez — a feature length
music-filled documentary about the Mexican-American community of East
— “Foto Novelas” by Carlos Avila — an anthology series utilizing magic,
realism and fantasy to tell Latino stories.
>> Spacey to Receive Sundance Prize
Kevin Spacey, who garnered widespread acclaim in Bryan Singer‘s 1995 Sundance
Film Festival premiere “The Usual Suspects,” and returns to Park City in the
Sundance premiere “The Big Kahuna,” will be honored in Utah with the Festival’s
Piper-Heidsieck Tribute to Independent Vision.
Spacey, who went on to win an Oscar for his role in Singer’s “Suspects,” is
an early favorite for an Academy Award nomination this year for his role in
Sam Mendes‘ “American Beauty.” Previous recipients of the Sundance award
include John Turturro, Nicolas Cage, Gena Rowlands and Tim Robbins and
Frances McDormand. [Eugene Hernandez]