Variety's web folks jumped the gun last night. Just as Brian and I were racing to finish work in time for the L.A. Film Fest Spirit of Independence awards event last night, my RSS reader tipped me off to a Variety story announcing the winners. Posted at 5:40 p.m. PT, the 109 word item named the two Target award winners nearly 3 hours before the filmmakers (and ceremony attendees) would find out. Outside the event, a couple of people expressed frustration at the news.
The story was first published with the following timestamp:
Posted: Thurs., Jun. 28, 2007, 5:41pm PT
This morning, the story remains the same, but the timestamp has been changed to read:
Posted: Thurs., Jun. 28, 2007, 10:00pm PT
Festival winners announcements are commonly shared with journalists under strict embargo. In this case, we asked for an embargoed release to help with our preparing a story, but did not receive the announcement in advance. Our friends at Variety did the same thing on awards night at Sundance this year, posting the winners before an agreed upon embargo time. But on that night, the ceremony was already underway.
In this case, knowing the announcement was already live hours before we'd be able to post it on indieWIRE deflated our enthusiasm for writing a full-length winners story, so we published the news in our Buzz section. The funny thing is, at the lavish Target Red Room hospitality storefront after the ceremony, I ran into a few LAFF filmmakers who didn't even know the awards were being presented last night. Apparently all festival filmmakers were not invited to attend the event.