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DAILY NEWS: Lions Gate/Trimark Pact; Doc Dissed for Pot Smoking Scene; Editorial Responses

DAILY NEWS: Lions Gate/Trimark Pact; Doc Dissed for Pot Smoking Scene; Editorial Responses

DAILY NEWS: Lions Gate/Trimark Pact; Doc Dissed for Pot Smoking Scene; Editorial Responses

Eugene Hernandez/indieWIRE

>> Lions Gate Expected to Announce Trimark Acquisition Today

(indieWIRE/6.5.00) — Lions Gate will announce today a deal to purchase
Trimark Pictures, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood trade indicated on Friday that the company would make the deal public at the close
of business today. The Reporter indicated that Lions Gate will pay about
$50 million for Trimark or $10 per share in cash and stock.

Trimark, which has a 650-film library according to the report, has been in
serious talks with Lions Gate for the past few weeks and last week the
prospects for a deal began to seem more and more likely. Both companies are
publicly traded and the deal is expected to pave the way for other
acquisitions. [Eugene Hernandez]

>> Canadian Province Bans New Documentary; Movie Faulted for Monkeys Smoking Pot

(indieWIRE/6.5.00) — Documentary filmmaker Ron Mann told indieWIRE
yesterday (Sunday) that the Canadian province of Ontario has banned his new
documentary, “Grass,” from theatrical screenings. The move came as a result
of a brief scene in which monkeys and chimpanzees smoke pot, according to

In an email message yesterday, Mann indicated that Ontario Film Review Board
report states that his movies is “not approved pursuant to Subsection 2 of
Section 14 Regulation 1031 under the Theatres Act — showing a scene where
an animal has been abused in the making of the film.”

“The scene of chimps smoking pot during a science experiment was produced by
the National Institute of Mental Health in 1970,” Mann told indieWIRE,
“The monkeys are not shown being harmed -in fact, they are likely to be
enjoying themselves with all the marijuana they got to smoke.” Continuing,
the filmmaker quipped, “No animals (or hippies) were harmed during the
making of this film.”

According to an article by Pete Howell in yesterday’s Toronto Star, Lions Gate (the movie’s Canadian distributor) will appeal the Board ruling today.
Mann vows to leave the film intact, without cutting the footage, according
to the article.

“I do not agree to any censorship at all and will take it to Court if
necessary,” Mann told indieWIRE, “This is a political film and this is
clearly suppression of free speech.”

The movie, which actually debuted in Ontario at last year’s Toronto
International Film Festival
, is currently screening at Film Forum in New
York City. [Eugene Hernandez]

READ indieWIRE’s REVIEW OF “Grass” at

>>LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: In Response to Rodney Evans’ “Keeping it Real” Editorial

Dear Editor:

With all due disrespect to James Toback, “Black and White” has to be the
biggest art-house fraud since “Kids.” Rodney Evans is right on the mark when he condemns the movie for rendering gay characters (a.k.a “come guzzlers”)
as flirty buffoons who deserve to be punched out by out-upon straight guys.
But, then again, the movie is an equal opportunity offender: “Black and
White” relies heavily, and obviously, on hoary cliches about the sexual
prowess of black men and the predatory sexuality of white women. For all
his canny insights into the cross-pollination of contemporary culture,
Toback appears to be hopelessly stuck in the 1970s, the period when he
famously befriended football star Jim Brown, and wrote a fawning biography
that made much of the moody black athlete’s bedroom activities. It’s worth
noting that Brown popped up in “Fingers,” Toback’s debut feature, cast as a
hot-tempered tough customer who brutalized two white women. In “Black and
White,” Toback ups the ante by casting another bad-ass black stud, Mike
Tyson, in a supporting role. Evans may be exaggerating when he refers to
Tyson’s performance as a “modern-day minstrel show,” but hyperbole in the
service of truth is not a vice.

And before I get a lot of dumb-ass e-mail taking me to task for being too
“sensitive,” or politically correct or whatever, let me close by adding that
I’m a straight white guy. See, Rodney: We’re not all voyeuristic and
culturally imperialistic homophobes. So when the revolution comes, don’t
kill all of us, OK?


Joe Leydon


Dear Editor:

Hi — I respect Mr. Evans’s eloquent and balanced assessment of the
imbalance in creative efforts of “Black” and White” people, but I’d like to
address the issue of ‘labels.” My intent is to evoke healthy dialogue as
oppposed to making the writer “right” or “wrong” for his feelings…and
believe me, I can dig ’em.

Yesterday, I had a conversation with a screenwriter who has been in the
business for a number of years, compared to me, a brand-new screenwriter
shopping two family/teen-themed screenplays. The woman is “White” (in this
case to get my point across I will use labels according to widely-accepted
use) I am “Black.” So far we’ve got two “screenwriters” one “White” and
the other “Black.” When I expressed my concern and opinion about the
tediuos protocol especially us new screenwriters must go through to play the
game of “shopping” our creative work, the “woman” offered that her husband
has started an initiative to financially support “women and minorities”.
Aaaaaargh! I can’t tell you how much I despise this phrase and ESPECIALLY
THE TERM “MINORITY.” Why? Well, for me, at this point in my life, nobody
owes me ‘nuthin’ — I have taken a stand on learning how to align myself
with the creative and intelligent power of God /The Creator/Conscousness/The
Lord, etc. (if you believe in such a phenomenon and if you don’t, I ain’t
judging nobody!)

We as human beings have bought into these and other labels we self-impose
and accept from others. This, in my assessment AND observation of students
I’ve taught and in conversation with friends and associates, more often than
not, stifles personal integrity and creative energy.

I am real clear that, for many, time is critical for whatever reason one may
have (for example, I’d like to disintegrate my five-figure student loan by
the end of the summer and right now, it looks like only a sale or an
“option” will be the answer!). I am also clear that it does take an
immense amount of patience on all levels of my being, to wait for the most
appropriate person/opportunity in order for my work to flourish in the most
meaningful and, yes, prosperous way possible. Many of you may disagree —
that’s cool too — it’s good to agree to disagree!

Anyhow, thank you and good luck to Mr. Evans in all his endeavors.


(name witheld by writer)

>> READ THE EDITORIAL, “Keepin’ It Real, Personal Notes on White Directors and
‘Minority’ Representation in ‘Our Song’ and ‘Black and White’ by Rodney
Evans at

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