By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik July 17, 2008 at 3:49AM
While first an editor and now a contributing writer to indieWIRE, I've watched the little indie film news publication steadily gain in stature, following and prestige over the last dozen years. Convention would have me write about the website's growth, but I can't exactly say indieWIRE has grown, in the same way that independent film has grown or the careers of Christopher Nolan or Guillermo del Toro or Steven Soderbergh or countless other directors we've covered have grown. No, what's perhaps great--and challenging, from a financial perspective--about indieWIRE is that it's not grown, and it's never become part of some mega media conglomerate. And thankfully, under the new ownership of "filmanthropist" Ted Leonsis, the AOL Vice Chairman Emeritus and all-around documentary supporter, indieWIRE should remain independent.
I'm not privy to all the proposed buyouts of indieWIRE over the years (for that, you'd have to ask fearless iW leader Eugene Hernadez), but I think the reason this one worked unlike all the others is that indieWIRE's freedom to be what it is, I hope, will be maintained, along with perhaps some little improvements. (Man, would I like a copyeditor.) When we contract published IFC RANT, a print magazine for the Independent Film Channel, it was fun and certainly helped with much needed cash, but sometimes I felt like we were betraying our fiercely independent spirit. In today's cash-strapped times, beggers can't be choosers. But I'd like to think this is one financial buyout that doesn't mean a loss of self-respect or any conflicts of interest, and maybe even some paid vacation time and a decent healthcare package for indieWIRE's 3-person staff.