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The Rise of IndieWood — Looking Back at 2 Years of BIZ News

The Rise of IndieWood -- Looking Back at 2 Years of BIZ News

by Eugene Hernandez

The business of independent film has changed over the last two years.
Since the launch of indieWIRE, the rules and the players have shifted,
resulting in the emergence of a new sector of the business — we call the
current group of Hollywood studio specialty divisions, “IndieWood” (picking
up on a term that we first heard from filmmaker Sarah Jacobson). As our
BIZ section emerges, we continue to deliver timely news and information
that strives to be an alternative voice. We cover the indie community
from the inside, and are proud to offer a take that is independent of the
Hollywood trade publications.

Two years of indieWIRE has resulted in nearly 300 articles in our BIZ
section alone. We’ve seen the expansion of Miramax, October was acquired
and has done some expanding of its own, Paramount announced a new specialty
division, while Fine Line, Goldwyn, Fox Searchlight and other companies have
shaken up their executive rosters. Carl Icahn and Paul Cohen formed a new
distribution company called Stratosphere, its first releases are due in
theaters soon. Meanwhile, a small Canadian company called Cowboy Booking,
moved to NYC and has already released two films.

Along the way, a number of small companies have been established, hoping
to fill the gaps left in the wake of IndieWood’s emergence. As the summer
of ’98 continues, many in are left with questions about the future. October
Films is the talk of the town following its decision to drop Todd Solondz’
critically acclaimed new film, “Happiness” and Lions Gate is weathering
concerns about a proposed multi-million dollar film starring Leonardo
DiCaprio. Here at indieWIRE, its safe to say that nothing surprises us
anymore — if Disney were to announce the acquisition of Strand tomorrow,
we wouldn’t bat an eye. Ok, well maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration,
but you get the point.

The following is a list of headlines and URL links for a few interesting
indieWIRE BIZ stories from the past two years. For more, check out the
complete BIZ archive @

(Jan 28, 1997) Phaedra Cinema Opens Shop With Films By Shelley And Abramson

(May 01, 1997) October Films Goes Hollywood; Universal To Acquire Majority Interest In Indie Distributor

(Sep 05, 1997) Goldwyn Gone, MGM Plans To Keep Buying Indies

(Oct 01, 1997) Cohen Discusses Plans For Stratosphere Entertainment

(Nov 12, 1997)Aaronson Discusses Fox Searchlight Departure

(Nov 25, 1997) Vanco Leaves Miramax to Join Cowboy as Company Moves to NYC

(Dec 03, 1997) Shooting Gallery Aims to Distribute

(Dec 12, 1997) Urman Makes Surprise Move to CFP

(Jan 13, 1998) CFP Becomes Lions Gate Films, Inc.; Sackman Named President

(Jan 18, 1998) Park City 98: Stratosphere Picks “One Tough Cop”; Announces First Slate of Films

(Mar 02, 1998) Paramount Unveils New Specialty Division; Co-Presidents Vitale and Dinerstein Discuss Plans

(Mar 02, 1998) A Conversation with Ruth Vitale and David Dinerstein, Co-Presidents of Paramount’s New Specialty Film Division

(Apr 07, 1998) October Films Launches Rogue Division

(Apr 15, 1998) Jersey Launching Specialty Production Company

(Apr 27, 1998) Goldwyn (Re) Hires Lipsky To Run Marketing, Distribution

(Jul 01, 1998) October Films Drops New Solondz Film

(Jul 09, 1998) Miramax Creates New “Division”; Venture To Reunite New Yorker’s Brown and Vogue’s Galotti

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