DAILY NEWS: Maslin Leaving Times; IDA, Kodak & CMJ Winners; Lions Gate's "Kahuna"
by Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE
>> Exiting The Times, Maslin Talks About Her Decision
“After more than two decades of dedicated, distinguished service as our
film critic,” The New York Times‘ John Darnton wrote to his staff via email,
“Janet Maslin has decided to call it quits.” The electronic message
made its way to journalists shortly after it was sent, but was hardly as
insightful as Carl Swanson’s conversation with Maslin for the latest edition of
the New York Observer.
“I know this sounds impetuous,” she told Swanson, “But I’ve known this
wasn’t working for me and I didn’t want to blow a fuse.” Maslin continued,
“People like to read slams…I didn’t have the mean gene anymore. So I
guess that puts me pretty out of step.”
Darnton’s note indicated that Maslin, who joined the paper in 1977 and
replaced Vincent Canby as the lead critic in 1993, will remain on board
through the end of the year as The Times searches for a replacement. She
became film editor of the Boston Phoenix in 1972.
“In 1973, Hollywood turned out 229 movies. Last year, the figure was more
than double – 475,” wrote Darnton, “Janet’s workload doubled
correspondingly but she bore it with customary grace and Stakhanovite
fortitude.” He continued, “It is hard to think of any person working for a
daily newspaper all those years – from ‘The Godfather‘ down through last
week’s ‘American Beauty‘ – whose prose has had such a profound impact on
“I’m still somebody who would rather watch ‘Eyes Wide Shut‘ than ‘The
Thomas Crown Affair,'” Maslin told The Observer, “Something like ‘Austin
Powers,’ you didn’t even need a movie. A movie’s an option.”
>> IDA and Kodak Unveil Doc Grant Recipients
The International Documentary Association (IDA) has announced the
documentarian recipients of its 1999 Kodak Project Access grants. Cynthia
Travis, Paul Alexander Juutilainen and Ralph Arlyck have been chosen to
receive the awards.
“These grants are designed to help deserving filmmakers with limited
budgets to produce potentially important documentaries on film,” explained
IDA Executive Director Betsy McLane in a prepared statement.
New Mexico-based Cynthia Travis is exploring reconciliation among enemies,
through her project, “Everyday Ghandis,” while San Diego-based maker Paul
Alexander Juutilainen is documenting the failure to create a desert mecca
in, “Salton City — Miracle in the Desert.” Finally, New York-based
documentarian Ralph Arlyck is focusing on the aftermath of a hit-and-run
accident that killed an undocumented Mexican worker, in “Sister Cities.”
>> CMJ FilmFest Winners
The 5th CMJ FilmFest concluded last week, awarding its Best Feature award
to David Barker for “Afraid of Everything,” while the Best Short award went
to Stephen Stapinkski for “Sporting Dog.” The CMJ Sgnature Award for
Excellence in the Use of Music in Film, went to Molly O’Brien for her
short, “Some Common Things that Happen to Corpses.” Winners will have an
opportunity to show their films on the Independent Film Channel.
>> Lions Gate Buys “Kahuna”
After pursuing the movie following its debut at the Toronto Film Festival,
Lions Gate has acquired the North American rights to John Swanbeck‘s “The
Big Kahuna.” The film was produced by Kevin Spacey‘s Trigger Street
Productions. The actor stars in the movie with Danny DeVito and Peter
Facinelli. Lions Gate, which announced its acquisition of Kevin Smith’s
“Dogma” prior to the Festival, is planning a wide release of “Kahuna” in
…more TORONTO COVERAGE:
indieWIRE’s Toronto ’99 On The Scene.