By eug | eugonline February 18, 2009 at 3:12AM
For years at indieWIRE we've braced ourselves for the rare seismic indie film story. The sort of breaking news that would stun us and our readers. Anticipating that moment, during editorial meetings, we'd often say things like, "Imagine we just found out that Geoff was leaving Sundance..."
Today, that's exactly what happened.
The last time I can remember being as surprised by a piece of industry news was seven years ago -- in May of 2002 -- when Universal announced the acquisition of Good Machine and its plan to merge it with USA Films (eventually creating Focus Features).
Many, many people were shocked today. I was inundated by emails and IMs reacting and asking a lot of questions.
Folks are curious what this means for Peter Scarlet and Nancy Schafer at Tribeca, two U.S. fest vets -- from SFIFF and SXSW respectively -- who are in place atop the Tribeca fest. Gilmore and insiders were quick to clarify that he is not moving to New York to run the Tribeca festival. But, he will oversee it alongside other the Tribeca Enterprises business units under his umbrella. Chatting with a reporter tonight, I quipped that the putting another fest vet under Tribeca's roof feels a bit like the "team of rivals" approach being attributed to the new Obama registration. I'm sure they'd rather look at its an "all-star" team approach. Whatever the case, its a huge scoop for Tribeca. And while Sundance is certainly well-stocked with a strong team, Geoff Gilmore was a major Sundance figure, in industry circles as synonymous with Sundance as Robert Redford.
Anyway, it will be interesting to watch it all develop.
Oh, and I have to mention that found it rather odd that when we got the news early this morning none of the principles were available to discuss it: Gilmore was in Europe, Sundance didn't have a statement from Robert Redford ready, and Tribeca's Jane Rosenthal couldn't talk. We eventually reached Gilmore and got a brief statement from Redford. But, nothing from Rosenthal.