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IFP To Honor Cuban & Wagner at ’06 Gothams

IFP To Honor Cuban & Wagner at '06 Gothams

IFP announced today that it will honor 2929 Entertainment‘s Todd Wagner & Mark Cuban with a Gotham Award at the 16th Annual Gotham Awards ceremony, November 29th in Manhattan. Through their Wagner/Cuban Companies the duo own 2929, Landmark Theaters, Magnolia Pictures, and HDNet Films, among other holdings. They recently produced Good Night and Good Luck, and Akeelah and the Bee.

“I cannot think of more deserving honorees than both Todd and Mark,” said IFP’s Executive Director Michelle Byrd, in a stateemnt. “Both exemplify true passion for bringing independent cinema to mainstream America. They are proven leaders in cutting-edge technology, delivering quality entertainment in unique and innovative formats. They are visionaries that have introduced exciting and new distribution models and who continue to showcase tremendous diversity in the films they produce, release and exhibit.”

Nominees for competitive prizes at the Gotham Awards will be announced in October. Entry forms for the categories are available on the IFP website. [Eugene Hernandez]

This Article is related to: Awards



If Michelle Byrd truly cannot think of more deserving honorees, then she’s just not thinking hard enough. Leaving aside the very mixed bag that is day-and-date releasing, Cuban and Wagner have consistently put their own corporate considerations before any considerations of the independent community. As owners of Landmark Theatres, they have actively been trying to close truly independent cinemas across the country, leading to the closing of theatres in Washington, DC and Indianapolis, and adding to the declining health of the Brattle Theater in Cambridge, MA.

The outfitting of Landmark Theatres with digital projection is, by Cuban and Wagner’s own admission, a way to gain the flexibility to replace poor-performing indies with televised sporting events.

If this were not enough, Mark Cuban’s using Caveh Zahedi’s “I Am a Sex Addict” as a pawn in his corporate fight with Comcast should warrant reproach by IFP. This is not the act of someone friendly to independent film, but of corporate titan putting his own profit above the life’s work of a filmmaker.

Cuban and Wagner are not “bringing independent cinema to mainstream America” as Byrd states. They are mainstreaming independent cinema. Mark Cuban’s bottom line approach is a threat to the health of independent film. The fact that two of his theaters have unionized should tell people something about his corporate mentality. 2929’s increasing monopoly over independent film should be met with alarm, not accolades.


A pat on the back is only 18 inches away from a kick in the ass- Gorilla Monsoon.

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