DAILY NEWS: Jumping Ahead on Sundance; and Greek Series in NY
by Eugene Hernandez /indieWIRE
>> LETTER FROM THE EDITOR: Why indieWIRE Decided Not to Speculate on the 2001 Sundance Lineup
(indieWIRE/ 12.1.00) -- How fitting that a Variety article would speculate on the soon-to-be announced Sundance Film Festival lineup the same day that filmmaker
Katherine Dieckmann discussed (in indieWIRE) the frustrations of being on a
Hollywood hotlist of films tipped to screen at the Festival, only to be left
off the final lineup. It was a situation that Dieckmann called, in her
conversation with indieWIRE's Anthony Kaufman, "A horrifying story."
Variety jumped the gun yesterday, offering an article by Charles Lyons and
Dana Harris which, without attribution to any sources whatsoever, listed a
handful of films expected to screen at the Festival. The problem is, the
story is inaccurate.
A frustrated Festival insider detailed specific errors made by the Hollywood
trade's tipsheet in a conversation with me yesterday. Not to be outdone by
Variety, competitors The Hollywood Reporter and Inside.com weighed in with their own mini-lists of likely Festival attendees in the wee hours of
Thursday morning -- with more successful accounts. indieWIRE caught wind of
the move to speculate about the lineup (which will be announced early next
week) but we immediately decided to sit tight until a complete, and
official, lineup can be confirmed. Thus my decision to run this letter as
a bit of a look behind the scenes.
It should surprise no one that Sundance, like many other festivals and
companies, shares information with publications (including indieWIRE) prior
to making official announcements. It is common for publicity reps to
"embargo" information until they are ready to make the details public. In
the case of Sundance, the Festival has a history of making minor tweaks in
the lineup until hours before the embargo is lifted. Variety decided to jump
the gun and deserves criticism for its recklessness. We've made
mistakes too, yet in less than five years I'd say we've gotten better at
handling the responsibility that comes with news and information publishing.
It might sound trite, but in this case our decision to avoid speculation on
the Sundance lineup until we can confidently present it completely and
accurately was driven by a commitment to maintain the trust we have
earned within the indie community. Had we reported the details published
late last night by Variety, we'd have had egg on our face this morning.
Don't get me wrong, I am by no means discouraging reporters from being
aggressive in gathering news and information. But with increasing
speculation in an era of "all news all the time", perhaps I am more critical
of the media that I consume and thus more sensitive to certain fading
If you want the complete, accurate Sundance lineups when they are announced,
check in with us early next week.
I welcome your feedback by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Pomegranate Ripens Monthly Greek Series
(indieWIRE/ 12.1.00) -- A new distribution label devoted to Greek and Balkan cinema, Mad Pomegranate Films, has joined forces with The Museum of the Moving Image to present a new screening series of Greek films on the first Friday of every month at the museum's Astoria venue. Kicking off the Greek Cinema Showcase series
tonight (Dec. 1) will be a new English subtitled print of "Reconstruction,"
the first feature film from Greek film master Theo Angelopoulos ("Eternity
and a Day," "Ulysses Gaze"). Working with foundations, museums, and
universities to create film programs, Mad Pomegranate hopes to fill an
overlooked niche in the marketplace.
"What we're trying to do with Mad Pomegranate," says co-founder and partner
Valerie Kontakos, "is similar to what Cowboy Booking is doing. We're
providing an outlet for Greek films that have no outlet right now." Dimitra
Kessenides, another of the co-founders, adds, "A number of the films coming
out of Greece and other Balkan countries today deal with issues that are of
interest to a wider audience. Especially with documentary films, but even
with features, there's a lot of exciting new work by young filmmakers
tackling issues of the status of refugees in their countries and of the
changing face of their culture and society." Optimistic for the new venture,
Kessenides continues, "And from our experience over the last few years
organizing and working with a small festival of Greek and Balkan films in
New York City, we know there's an audience out there." [Anthony Kaufman]
For more on all things Greek, see indieWIRE's report from the 41st
Thessaloniki Film Festival in today's indieWIRE.