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iW @ 12

iW @ 12

indieWIRE hits the 12 year mark today. Wow, twelve years!

We launched indieWIRE as an email newsletter and I sent it out via AOL to a couple hundred folks who had become active members of iLINE, the online film community that Cheri Barner, Mark Rabinowitz and I created on America Online and at the old VirtualFilmFestival website.

Note below our first typo (we dated the first edition as July 15, 1995), it was 1996. Anyway, as always, sincere thanks to our founding partners (Brian Clark/GMD, Karol Martesko, Ken Tabachnick) and ongoing staff (Brian Brooks, James Israel and Peter Knegt), readers, friends, colleagues, contributors, and members of the film community.

[Publishers note: This is the premiere issue of indieWIRE, a daily news service for the indie film community. To sign up for a FREE daily email subscription, please send a message to “theiline@aol.com” with SUBSCRIBE indieWIRE in the subject line.]

indieWIRE
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July 15, 1995 Vol. 1 Issue 1
(c) 1996 iLine Ltd.
theiline@aol.com
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indieWIRE is published by iLINE Ltd. Re-publication and re-distribution in any medium or in any platform of the Internet without the written consent of iLINE is prohibited.
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H E A D L I N E S

NEWS:

(1) + TRAINSPOTTING Rumors About Dubbing and Re-Cutting Put to Rest by Its Director. by Cheri Barner

(2) + ANTONIA’S LINE Banned in The Philippines

(3) + Angelika Film Center to be Sold to The Reading Investment Company

(4) + RAISING HEROES OutFest Wednesday Screening Sold out

(5) + TRAINSPOTTING Writer Spends Night in Jail

(6) + IMAGEFEST ’96 Now in its Third Year.

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FEATURE:
(7) + How The MPAA Ratings Sytem Works by Roberto Quezada-Dardon
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COLUMN:

(8) + Genealogy 1:1 by Roberto Quezada-Dardon

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CLASSIFIEDS

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D A I L Y N E W S

(1) + TRAINSPOTTING Rumors About Dubbing and Re-Cutting Put to Rest by Director Danny Boyle.

LOS ANGELES — There have been a number of rumors with regard to the “re-dubbing” done for this week’s U.S. release of “TRAINSPOTTING.” Some reports claim that for the United Stated release the *entire* film was dubbed and key scenes were removed.

In an interview yesterday with Cheri Barner of _iLINE_, Director Danny Boyle said, “we dubbed it _very_ slightly.” He acknowledged that they only did so to clarify specific dialogue and make it more understandable. The original actors were used to make these minor changes, and it was done only for the United States release. The Canadian market’s prints remain undubbed. Boyle said that he had no problem with having to dub the picture for American audiences, likening it to dubbing the film in German for its release in that country.

Actor Ewen Bremner, however, was not as forgiving. Bremner, who portrays the character Spud, was also present at the iLINE interview and said that it was true he had to re-dub the job interview scene, but he wished he had not been asked to do it.

When asked if scenes were cut from the American version of the British film, Boyle responded that two seconds were cut: One second of the sex scene between Renton (Ewen McGregor) and Diane (Kelly Macdonald), and one second of a needle piercing skin. The moment of sex that was cut involved Diane leaning back while on top of Renton apparently reaching too overtly for something between her lover’s legs. Boyle said that both cuts were at the request of the MPAA ratings board.

Also contrary to numerous reports, a scene which depicts the death of a baby was not cut from the film. Boyle acknowledged that had it come down to it, he would have refused to cut the scene; it was important to him that it remain in the film.
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(2) + ANTONIA’S LINE Banned in The Phillipines

MANILA — Censors in the Philippine essentially banned this year’s Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film by giving it an “X” Rating, which in that country means it is not fit for public viewing.

The Dutch film, ANTONIA’S LINE, has scenes depicting sodomy, pubic hair, and two women making love and it seems that this is the reason for the negative rating.

In phone calls to producers who have had such action taken against them, _iLINE_ was told that such decisions are not usually final. Local distributors are free to appeal as many as two or three times. Some appeals have gone as high as the to the President of the Philippines for re-consideration.
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(3) + Angelika Film Center to be Sold to The Reading Investment Company

NEW YORK — Angelika Film Center announced that its downtown sixplex will be sold to the Reading Investment Company, and that it will be operated by City Cinemas.

Reading recently acquired theaters in Australia and Puerto Rico and City Cinemas currently operates seven theaters in New York City.

indieWIRE’S attempts to contact the officers of The Angelika were futile. However, the company did issue a press release last week. According to Jessica Saleh Hunt, the president of the Film Center, both Reading and City Cinemas intend to “preserve the character and mandate of the Angelika,” which is to continue showcasing foreign and independent film.

It has been estimated that, on a per seat basis, the Angelika is one of the highest grossing movie theaters in the country.
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(4) + RAISING HEROES OutFest screening sold out

LOS ANGELES — Tickets for the OutFest screening of RAISING HEROES, billed as The First Gay Action Picture, have already sold out for the Wednesday, July 17th screening.

According to Douglas Langway, the film’s director and co-writer, there is so much interest in the John Woo-influenced shoot-em-up that a second screening has been set up at Laemmle’s Sunset 5 on July 20, Saturday Morning at 10.

OutFest is the gay and lesbian film festival taking place in Los Angeles from July 11th to the 21st.

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(5) + TRAINSPOTTING Writer Spends Night in Jail

EDINBURGH — According to a story in this week’s issue of _New Yorker Magazine_ (July 15, 1996) the novelist who wrote TRAINSPOTTING spent a night in jail following “a recent four-day binge which featured ‘everything–everything you can imagine.'”

Irvine Welsh spoke to the magazine who concluded that it was perhaps in the spirit of trying to get back to the basics which made _Trainspotting_ ,the novel, such a phenomenon that Welsh temporarily went back to the drinking and drugs. Critics have not been as warm to Welsh’s three novels that succeeded the one made into a film by Danny Boyle and being released by Miramax this Friday.

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(6) + IMAGEFEST ’96 Now in its Third Year.

SAN FRANCISCO — Now in its 3rd year, this noncompetitive short film and video festival is designed to showcase San Francisco Bay area
film/videomakers. San Francisco Bay area residents (408, 415, 510 area codes) can submit short films and videos under 30 minutes. Industrial, promotional, or instructional works not appropriate. IMAGEFEST 96 is sponsored by IMAGE (Independent Media Artists Group), a nonprofit organization of independent film/video/multimedia makers based in Palo Alto, CA. It is co-sponsored by the City of Palo Alto, Division of Arts and Culture, and CAPA (Council for the Arts, Palo Alto).

Formats: 16mm, SVHS, VHS; Preview on VHS.

Early Deadline: August 12, 1996 Entry Fee: $10 (IMAGE members are allowed one free entry by this date). Late Deadline: October 1, 1996 Entry Fee: $20

For Entry forms and information, contact IMAGE at (415)856-1305, image@mediacity.com; or IMAGEFEST 96, Palo Alto Cultural Center, 1313
Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303

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D A I L Y F E A T U R E

(7) + How The MPAA Ratings System Works

Basically the rating system is a service created and paid for by the Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owners to provide parents with advance information on films so they can make judgments on the movies they want or don’t want their children to see without giving the decision process much thought and to be able to yell at a wise-ass pre-pubescent, “because it’s R-rated, that’s why!”

Having a movie rated is a voluntary procedure, so to speak, but to play in most theaters in the U.S. a film must be rated by the board. According to the board, the board is comprised of a group of people–supposedly parents representative of parents across the country–who mostly live in the San Fernando Valley, a suburb of Los Angeles. This specially designed committee is called the Film Rating Board of the Classification and Rating Administration.

Everyone in the Film Rating Board views each film and then has a group discussion to try to guess what most people–parents just like them across the country–would think about showing this film to their kids, and then they vote on what its rating will be. This can lead to conclusions that seem historically contradictory. What was OK in the ‘seventies is not always OK today, and things they pass today would not have had a chance in the ‘seventies. Simply stated, sex was out then, violence was in. Now that the free-luvin’ flower-power generation is in the driver’s seat, it’s kind of reversed, within the boundaries of good taste.

Supposedly, the rating board uses the criteria it believes most good parents would use when deciding what is suitable viewing for their child. Theme, language, violence, nudity, sex, and drug use are among those content areas taken under consideration. Also assessed is how each of these elements is employed in the context of each individual film. The rating board claims that it places no special emphasis on any of these elements, and that all are considered and examined before a rating is given.

When these good people make their initial decisions on what to rate a film, I believe their intentions are sincere. I don’t know why I believe this, I just do. I guess it’s that they look like decent people and some of them drive Volvos. But what tips the scales and sometimes gets ratings changed (when endless re-edits, re-submissions, and re-evaluations don’t do the trick) is the fact that the entire process is being paid for by the Motion Picture Association of America. What is the MPAA? Why, the major Hollywood Studios, that’s who–business entities that have millions and millions of dollars riding on what their marketing departments say a movie must be rated to get it’s costs back. Or, to put it another equally accurate way, Not Indies.

It is a well known and documented bit of Hollywoodology that when it comes to getting a rating changed, it is more likely to happen when it’s a studio that has been contracted to distribute the offending roll of celluloid than when an honest-to-goodness indie is making the appeal.

When the appointees can’t get the votes to come out right, indie producers can appeal the decision that threatens to bankrupt them the same as a Studio can. They can both file their grievances with something called The Ratings Appeal Board. The MPAA Ratings Board tells us that this is yet another board, but one composed of Men and Women From the Industry Organizations That Govern the Rating System. This is Hollywoodese for “the Studios themselves that make up the MPAA.”

Now who stands a better chance of getting a rating reversed? The indie producer who can’t even get a secretary at a Studio to give him or her a call back, or a Studio that will be voting on another Studio’s film in the future that gets cursed with the wrong rating?

Sometimes this impartial board might even give a kid like Spielberg a break by inventing PG-13 especially for his movies so that younger kids in the eighth grade can watch stuff like a human being get punched in the chest and have a beating heart ripped out of it.

If you want further information about the rating system please write:

The National Association of Theatre Owners
4605 Lankershim Blvd., Suite 340
North Hollywood, CA 91602

or

The Classification and Rating Administration
14144 Ventura Blvd., Suite 210
Sherman Oaks, CA 91423

[ ROBERTO QUEZADA-DARDON ]

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D A I L Y C O L U M N

GENEALOGY 1:1

When the monthly e-mailed newsletter that I edited folded last December, I had been toying with the idea for some time of enlisting the help of other writers and making it a daily. My e-zine was called _INDIE: The Independent Filmmaker’s ELECTRONIC Newsletter_, and it was the first online periodical to deal exclusively with the study and making of Independent Film.

Although _INDIE_ could boast of an uninterrupted 20 month run,
conceptually it was flawed. At thirty to forty pages, it was more information at one time than most people wanted to find in their mailboxes. What’s more, as a monthly, it was not taking advantage of what an online publication can do best: provide news and information faster and more conveniently than traditionally printed and distributed “newspapers” are able to do. _The Hollywood Reporter_, for instance, arrives whenever the mail does for most of its readers in Los Angeles. It gets to most New Yorkers a day later.

Finding other writers to share in the costs and efforts of putting out any sort of a publication, let alone a daily, was very frustrating until I chanced upon a group of filmmakers and scholars who were not only putting up exceptional content in AOL and their own website, they were incorporated and getting tens of thousands of visits per month on their combined sites known as _iLINE_ .

_iLINE_ was the brainchild of Eugene Hernandez, Cheri Barner, Mark Rabinowitz, and friends active in the independent filmmaking community. The interactive sites this group puts up offers interviews with independent filmmakers and coverage of film festivals–often live– and reviews of independent films. They do it using text, stills, video, and audio platforms. When I met them, they had also been putting up stories of relevance to independent filmmakers three or four times a week in a small side section of their website called _indieWIRE_. Naturally, I asked them for a job.

What we’ve come up with is what you’re holding in your eyes: a daily newswire service that will deal with the business of Independent Film Making, Distribution, and Exhibition. And it’s in your computer by 6 am PST, 9 am EST, and 7 or 8 am in between (I couldn’t figure out which–you try the math). Not only do the established print trade journals lack the urgency of a newspaper, they do very little coverage of this area of film. What’s more, the high costs of ink, paper, and bulky distribution require reporting on material that appeals to a very wide readership. A handful of stories relating to independent film gets lost amid reports about studio motion pictures, television, the recording industry, live theater, and who ate what, where, and with whom. Well, at least they carry a lot more ads than we do .

Besides the short ads _indieWIRE_ will be carrying, you can also look forward to the following regular sections five days a week: Headlines; The News; Feature Articles; Personal Columns; Moderated Infomercials (with the emphasis on “info”) from movie equipment and service houses; and our ever growing Classifieds.

Read what you need, toss out the rest, and don’t worry about littering–the ‘net burns clean.

[ ROBERTO QUEZADA-DARDON ]

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C L A S S I F I E D S

For the first two months run an ad for your self, what you sell, what you do in film, etc. for only a buck a line a week! email theiline@aol.com for more information.
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indieWIRE ++ Send comments to theiline@aol.com
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indieWIRE is published by iLINE Ltd.
Publishers: Cheri Barner, Eugene Hernandez, Mark Rabinowitz

Editor: Roberto Quezada-Dardon
East Coast Editor: Mark Feinsod
West Coast Editor: Cheri Barner

indieWIRE
c/o Filmmaker Magazine
110 W. 57th St. New York, NY 10019
Phone 212/581-8080 Fax 212/581-1857
Email: theiline@aol.com
http://www.virtualfilm.com/i_line
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