By eug | eugonline October 23, 2006 at 10:38AM
With due respect to the Independent Feature Project, its head Michelle Byrd, the Gotham Awards nominating committee members, and of course the nominees, I have to say I was shocked today when I saw the list of nominations for this year's fundraiser. I felt like I needed a clarification on the criteria, so I called Michelle and when she asked me if I was surprised, I told her that I found it strange to see a $90 million film, made with access to every possible resource at a studio, compete next to a movie like "Old Joy" (or even "Half Nelson").
Last year, when announcing a change at the Gotham Awards, Michelle Byrd explained to me that the Gothams are not restricted by the often confusing term, "independent." While the debate about "what is independent" can certainly grow tiresome, at indieWIRE we've found the ongoing discussion healthy and grounding, especially as we've seen the business change so much over the past ten years...
This year's list clearly underscore that point. The inclusion of "The Departed" as a nominee for best picture, at an awards show presented by the Independent Feature Project, aggressively disregards the term 'independent' altogether. In our conversation today, Michelle explained that she welcomes the dialogue and based on the number of IMs and emails I have already received, there will certainly be one.