Last night came the bittersweet news that Brian Brooks – Managing Editor of Indiewire and a fixture at the site for over 12 years – was heading off to a job as Deadline Hollywood’s LA editor.
First and foremost, I offer Brian a heartfelt congratulations on his new gig. It’s well deserved and the folks over at Deadline are a lucky batch to have him. But I cannot say the news leaves me without a little melancholy. I’ll miss Brian. Surely our paths will cross on many occasions in the future, but it will be a considerable transition to lose Brian as a co-worker, film festival roommate and daily source of joy and laughter.
If you’re reading this and know Brian Brooks even from a few conversations, there’s a good chance you already know what I’m about to note: He’s a sincere, generous, fun-loving man with considerable conviction and a lot of integrity. He stands up for what he believes in, whether that’s a filmmaker or film that really deserves some coverage or the due respect of Indiewire and its staff. And when you’re at a film festival surrounded by 100 industry folks you hardly know (or perhaps hardly like), Brian is a beacon of social comfort in a sea of “so what have you seen at the festival so fars.”
I met Brian in September of 2006 when I entered the Indiewire world via an internship during the Toronto International Film Festival. At a hotel on Bloor Street, I nervously knocked on the door to meet three folks that would quickly become the big brothers I never had: Brian, Eugene Hernandez and James Israel. At that point, Indiewire was basically a three-person operation. But despite this, they had clearly already made a huge stamp on the world of independent film. Already 10 years in the making, I soon found a remarkable sense of pride to be part of an operation that had such a deserved reputation of exposing the best of the indie film world – a world still often ignored in much of the media.
By the following September, I was working with Indiewire regularly as their assistant editor. Five years later, I’m still here. And I credit that in large part to the mentorship Brian, Eugene and James consistently offered. They took a small town Canadian boy who’d never really left Ontario on a journey that far exceeded any of the expectations I’d ever had for my professional career. And I’ll never be anything but eternally grateful for that.
Despite losing Brian – and Eugene (who left last September for a deserved gig at the Film Society of Lincoln Center) – I have all the confidence in the world that Indiewire will continue to provide the world with the top notch independent film world coverage Eugene, Brian and the rest of the many Indiewire alums nutured and progressed. I remain proud to be part of this organization, and am equally proud to be surrounded by a group of great folks who I’ll work with to push forward Indiewire into 2012 and beyond.
For the past year, Indiewire has been under the stalwart new leadership of Dana Harris and I can’t wait to see what she has in store for her second year steering this ship. Alongside myself she’s joined on the editorial team by Eric Kohn, Nigel M. Smith, Bryce J. Renninger – all of whom offer a unique contribution to IW and share my gratitude for Eugene and Brian’s mentorship. There’s also dozens of folks on our blog network that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed working with on a regular basis these past few years, most notably the incomparably industrious Ms. Anne Thompson. And of course, James Israel remains on the team as the best ad man I ever did know (and the last big brother standing from that day back in September 2006).
So while it’s going to be tough to enter a new year at Indiewire without both Brian and Eugene at my side, I’m sure both of them only would want myself and my colleagues to look forward and not back. Because that’s what Indiewire has been doing all along.