I was shocked to hear today's news that Eugene Hernandez is leaving indieWIRE for a fancy new gig at Lincoln Center, even though I already knew about it. Anyone familiar with the site knows that Eugene has been its sole consistent factor in its fourteen years. He's been appropriately viewed as face of the site, not to mention its soul, and his motivation has kept indieWIRE alive through multiple changes in the recent history of online publishing. More than that, Eugene is one of the most important figures in the evolution of the independent film landscape since 1996. Most importantly, he's a genuinely likable guy who really cares about movies. None of indieWIRE's incredible progress would matter if that motive wasn't there in the first place. Here's Anne Thompson's eloquent summation of the Hernandez touch.
From a personal perspective, I don't know what I would be doing right now without Eugene. He has been a great teacher and an even better friend. More than three years ago, I met with him and managing editor Brian Brooks at a bagel shop in the East Village to discuss the possibility of having me cover Cannes for the site. Everything that has happened to me on a professional level has stemmed from that moment: Heading to Cannes brought me a wider perspective on international cinema and the industry sustaining it. Writing about the festival gave me the opportunity to play a role in the process that I continue to chase down each day. In the past year, Eugene's decision to make me into the site's lead critic has introduced me to new challenges and provided a platform that is often humbling; I owe much to his willingness to invest in my ambitions and only hope that I can return the favor someday soon. Good luck, pal, and see you soon.