DAILY NEWS: MoMA Series Stopped by Strike; Also, CUFF Lineup and Queer Fest in Philly
By Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> First Run Features Retrospective Halted by MoMA Strike
(indieWIRE/ 7.27.00) -- A strike at New York's Museum of Modern Art
that will hit the three month mark tomorrow has delayed a First Run
Features retrospective that was to have opened today. More than 120
MoMA workers represented by the UAW went on strike April 28th, as a
result First Run decided to postpone its MoMA retrospective.
In a conversation with indieWIRE yesterday, First Run President
Seymour Wishman explained that the retrospective would have been
"a lovely tribute" to late First Run founder Fran Spielman. However,
he felt it would have been "inappropriate" to continue with the
two-month series given the subject matter of the company's social
issue documentaries that would have been shown. 50 films were set to
screen during the retrospective.
"We were delighted to have been given this terrific honor, and
thought it was particularly good for the filmmakers," commented Wishman,
"But it just seemed that the best thing was to postpone it and do it
in the Spring -- assuming the strike is resolved by then."
Since the strike began, MoMA has been hit with a number of high-profile
cancellations or postponements. The Museum's popular Summergarden
outdoor music series was canceled after musicians decided not to cross
the MoMA picket line. Additionally, a benefit concert by Sheryl Crow
The UAW represents more than 250 professional and administrative
employees at The Modern, including curators, librarians, educators,
store workers and graphic designers, according to striking Senior
Publicist for Film & Video Harris Dew. He indicated that the Union
members remain at odds over wage increases, health care issues, and
job security when the Museum begins its expansion in 2002.
"The Museum strongly believes that the strike is unjustified and is
determined not to let the strike interfere with its cultural and
educational mission," MoMA representatives commented in a prepared
statement, "However, it has agreed to postpone a handful of artist
appearances, lectures, concerts, and other events out of respect for
the individuals involved." The Museum is offering a preview of the First
Run retrospective over the next few days.
"We are extrememly thankful and very pleased that they (First Run) did
that," Harris Dew explained in a conversation with indieWIRE. A familiar
face among New York's indie film community, he added, "Of course it is an
honor to have a retrospective at the Museum, for them to put this
strike ahead of their own interest is really touching and really
appreciated by everyone." [Eugene Hernandez]
>> Chicago Underground Sets Seventh Slate
(indieWIRE/ 7.27.00) -- 18 feature films and 12 documentaries will screen
alongside 150 shorts at the Chicago Underground Film Festival's 7th annual
event organizers announced yesterday. Notably, the Festival will also
welcome cult director Alejandro Jodorowsky ("El Topo," "Holy Mountain," "Santa Sangre"), recipient of its annual Lifetime Achievement Award.
"In the wake of deadly indiewood fallout, CUFF strives to represent the
underground's vitality, programming films from the avant-garde of
experimentalism to the edge of transgressive media making," a Festival
announcement proclaimed yesterday. Continuing, in a prepared statement,
co-directors Bryan Wendorf and Jay Bliznick commented, "This is the
largest and most diverse line-up we've ever presented, featuring films
ranging from fine art experimentalism to over-the-top cult films and
everything in between. The growth of underground festivals like CUFF has
created a vibrant, artistically and culturally important community that
is keeping the true independent spirit alive even as the 'indiewood'
mainstream becomes more and more indistinguishable from Hollywood
The Festival will open with a movie that it partially financed through
its own film fund, Ben Berkowitz' "Straightman." The Festival will close
another CUFF film fund recipient, John Michael McCarthy's
"Superstarlet A.D." World Premieres include Clifton Holmes'
"In the Dark," Shawn Durr's "Fucked in the Face," and Rustin
Thompson's "30 Frames A Second: The WTO in Seattle." [Eugene Hernandez]
[The complete schedule will be available online on August 1st at:
>> BRIEFLY: Philly Gay/Lesbian Fest Wraps Record-Setting Year
(indieWIRE/ 7.27.00) -- Boasting record attendance, the 6th Annual
Philadephia International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival came to a close
on Monday. With 26 sell-out screenings and 25,000 tickets sold, the
Festival concluded with an awards ceremony. The jury prize for Best
Feature went to Jon Shear's "Urbania," while the Best Documentary prize
went to Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman for "Paragraph 175."
The Festival's top Audience Awards went to Del Shore's "Sordid Lives"
(Best Feature) and Brent Scarpo and Martin Bedogne's "Journey into a
Hate Free Millenium" (Best Documentary). Joel Schumacher was on hand
this year to receive the Festival's Artistic Achievement Award.
Celeb attendees during the Festival included Charles Busch
("Psycho Beach Party"), actor Guillermo Diaz ("Just One Time")
and David Drake ("The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me").