By Indiewire | Indiewire June 19, 2000 at 2:0AM
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: Reactions to AMPAS Internet Decision; Animated "Clerks" Criticisms
by indieWIRE Readers
>> IN RESPONSE TO: AMPAS Disqualifies Web-based Films from Oscars; Movie Must Premiere in Theaters First
I am writing this letter to express my extreme dissatisfaction with the
Academy's decision to disqualify ALL short independent filmmakers and their
films, from being viewed by the academy, if the film has first been screened
on one of the many internet sites available today.
As with all laws, a circumstance must have ensued that deemed an action to
be protected by a law. In this case, filmmakers that have been screening
their short films for the past year are now being punished by a law that was
instated last night. This is wrong. Given the lack of prominent venues
offered to the short film, the Internet has become a new home. The Academy
should recognize this, and institute a "grandfather" clause, that would
allow all filmmakers FROM THIS POINT ON, who have had their film shown on
the internet, to not be subjected by this new law.
This action could very well disqualify thousands of filmmakers who's time
and money have now fallen victim to a ruling of which there was no prior
heed or warning.
As a filmmaker, I agree with the Academy's decision. Films should be
screened in theatres, and the contents judged accordingly. However, given
the explosion of the Internet, it is imperative that the academy recognize
it's lateness in addressing the issue, and granting solidarity to the
filmmakers who now find their films snubbed from future awards and glory.
I sincerely hope this letter reaches those who care about the future of
The decision of AMPAS to disqualify online films from Oscar contention will
affect thousands of film makers. The following letter has been sent to AMPAS, Variety, Hollywood Reporter, LA Times, LA Weekly, and yourselves. Please run this in indieWIRE as this decision directly affects the core of
Reading about your recent decision to disqualify on-line films from Oscar
contention has made quite a few of my members - uneasy - to say the least.
Surely, as this rule was just passed, there must be a clause in place to
address the content already in cyber territory with aspirations of an
Academy run. While the AMPAS decision 'makes sense' when compared to a
television territory, the fact remains that this will affect thousands of
film makers - with quality films - from their deserved shot at film's
highest compliment. I urge AMPAS to recognize these films already online,
and put forth a loop hole in your ruling that states that if the content had
already been online, that the project should be taken off the internet
immediately in order to contend for an Oscar. I thank you for your time in
addressing this urgent issue.
American Federation of Film Producers
>> IN RESPONSE TO: "Clerks" Killed by ABC After Two Episodes
On Kevin Smith's continued whining about the trials and tribulations of "big
business" ABC, please spare us any more.
"Clerks" premiered at Sundance in 1994 alongside another scrappy little indie flick that was also cheaply shot in black and white with lots of dialogue,
little action and few locations. That film, Rose Troche and Guin Turner's
"GO FISH," showcased urban lesbian subculture in the same way CLERKS showcased suburban convenience store subculture. Smith has gone on to make multiple
films--not incidentally for big business ABC's subdivision Miramax--while
Troche has made only one subsequent feature and Turner has appeared in
and/or written only three subsequent films one of which was Smith's Chasing
If Mr. Smith feels so badgered by the colossus that is contemporary American
filmed entertainment, perhaps he should remember where he really stands in
the business, which is at a place far and away more privileged than most,
especially those two women filmmakers whose careers began at the same exact
moment in time as his.
Mark J. Huisman
It may not have been just the ratings which weren't great. Kevin Smith
should be lauded, heartily, for getting a film done on no budget. Every
filmmaker that gets his or her story told should. But Mr. Smith's stories
are simplistic at best. His approach to getting laughs is not very different
from Beavis and Butthead's, and they're yesterday's news; so, it appears, is
Mr. Smith. When someone champions a filmmaker, as Pauline Kael did to a
number of marginal and long-forgotten filmmakers, as John Sloss did to Kevin
Smith, sometimes the rest of the world just buys it, and doesn't question
whether the filmmaker really has talent. In a situation like this, perhaps
the filmmaker himself should question it.
To Mr. Smith: artists should question everything. Here are a few for you:
Does the world really need to see a cartoon version of a six year old,
no-longer-relevant movie? Is the public allowed to ignore such a cartoon?
Are low ratings a manifestation of executive evil or merely evidence that
the content was unengaging? Do you really have stories to tell which the
world needs to hear?