By Indiewire | Indiewire November 16, 2001 at 2:00AM
DAILY NEWS: AFI Winners and a Letter to the Editor
by Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks/indieWIRE
>> AFI FEST 2001 Closes in LA Awarding Big Prizes
(indieWIRE/11.16.01) -- Christian Gaines, Director for AFI FEST 2001
announced the honorees for the eleven day festival which closed Sunday.
Prizes totaling over $30,000 were awarded with Swedish director, Geir Hansteen
taking the Feature Jury Prize for "The New Country." The film is described
in a press release as a road movie about two refugees denied a residence
permit in Sweden. "Pie in the Sky: The Brigid Berlin Story" by Vincent
Fremont and Shelly Dunn Fremona, about the former Andy Warhol superstar, was awarded the Documentary Jury Prize. American director, Daniel Loflin's "Delusions in Modern Primitivism" received the Short Jury Prize while the
Audience Award for Documentary went to Stacy Peralta's look at skateboarding
phenomenon, "Dogtown and Z-Boys." Danis Tanovic's Bosnian war story, "No Man's Land" was awarded the Audience Award for Feature Film.
AFI FEST prides itself on its huge array of international offerings, presenting
films from around the world through its special sections including the Latin
Cinema Series, Asian New Classics, European Showcase, and American Directions
sidebars. This year, the event opened with Oscar-winner, Jan Sverak's "Dark Blue World" and closed with Marc Forster's "Monster's Ball" starring Billy Bob Thornton, Halle Berry and Heath Ledger. Other film highlights included Faye Dunaway's directorial debut, "The Yellow Bird" and a filmmaker tribute to Ang Lee featuring six of the celebrated director's films. [Brian Brooks]
>> LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Miramax Independent? With a Response from indieWIRE
IN RESPONSE TO: Soderbergh Shooting "Full Frontal" for 2002 Release
Let's see. It's a Thursday morning, mid-November -- in fact exactly the
fifteenth. I'm depressed. I could use some good news. I know -- I'll read
indieWire for some uplifting news about the independents. Independents?
You know, those folks who, like myself, struggle to get merely an email
answered regarding our projects.
Let's see -- oh, yeah -- an article in first position about Soderbergh. Is
he still struggling? He is sure working. Look at that -- David Duchovny,
Julia Roberts, George Clooney, Matt Damon, Andy Garcia, Brad Pitt and, oh,
Julia Roberts again. Boy, would it be fabulous or what if one of these
actors would answer an email from me. Oh, well.
And look at this -- Warner Bros. and Miramax distributing his pictures.
Good for him. Does indieWire still consider Miramax an independent? I
wonder why I can't get anyone from either of these outfits to answer an
email from me? Oh, well.
Boy, there sure is big stuff happening in the independents. I'm an
independent but I haven't got stuff this big happening in my world. Maybe
this Soderbergh article isn't about independents. Couldn't be. indieWire
publishes news about independents, little guys like me. Therefore, this
article about Soderbergh's two pictures must be about independents. Oh, no.
That means my emails aren't good enough to be answered even in the
independents. Oh, well.
Let's see. What other uplifting news is there in today's indieWire?
[This letter was sent to indieWIRE by Tony Milch]
Thanks for your note.
The question that you raise about the definition of "independent" is one
that we have been discussing and debating here at indieWIRE since before our
launch back in July of 1996. And when it comes to studios like Miramax, the
issue gets even muddier.
I am not going to sit here and try to convince you that Miramax Films is an
indie company; they aren't. The bigger point is that over the past 10 plus
years, the term independent has been totally obliterated as it relates to
We try to be very sensitive to how we define movies and companies,
especially when we brand them indie, specialty, or independent. In the case
of Miramax, I can assure you that we are cautious about which of their
movies and announcements we cover. We tend to stay away from larger budget
Miramax movies or pictures from the Dimension label. However, we often
embrace their acquired films ("Amelie" or "In the Bedroom" to name two
In the case of Soderbergh, he falls into the small category of filmmakers
(the Coen Brothers or David Lynch to name recent examples) that we tend
to include in indieWIRE because of their roots in the independent community.
We may not write about every movie they make, but we will always track their
In the case of Soderbergh, I can tell you that a number of us here at
indieWIRE consider him one of the more exciting established directors
working today. His new movie is especially interesting given its link to his
earlier work ("sex, lies, and videotape" and "Schizopolis") and because of
its smaller budget and short production schedule.
As a warning, you may continue to see coverage about higher profile movies
in the future (maybe we'll do something on "The Royal Tenenbaums"), but we
will always devote significant space to films by emerging filmmakers and
from companies outside the Hollywood entertainment system, not to mention
festivals large and small from around the world.
Thanks again for your comments, I hope that you will keep reading and