I've had a great time putting together a series of events this month to celebrate indieWIRE's 15th anniversary. Although I've only been involved with the site a fraction of that time, I'm always amazed when I hear from longtime readers of the site. indieWIRE has been around to cover some of the biggest accomplishments in (largely American) cinema in recent years. That's what the indieWIRE at 15 series at 92YTribeca and the premiere of the Sundance hit "Bellflower" on Friday are meant to recognize. But there's another aspect of this world--the business side--that indieWIRE has also followed closely. We'll tap into that side of the story on Saturday.
The independent film scene was an entirely different world in the mid-1990s, a place where virtually everyone still shot on film and nobody watched movies online. The letters "VOD" had yet to be put together. Breaking news almost always broke on the newsstands. indieWIRE chronicled many of those changes, as well as the countless movers and shakers in the industry who contributed to that change. On Saturday afternoon, we're hosting a free panel at the Film Society of Lincoln Center's new Elinor Bunin Monroe Film Center with many of the people involved in the distribution scene, all of whom have enough seniority to comment on the evolution of the business over the last 15 years. Here are the participants: Richard Abramowitz (Abramorama), Bob and Jeanne Berney (FilmDistrict), Arianna Bocco (IFC), Ira Deutchman (Emerging Pictures), Amy Heller (Milestone), Bingham Ray (SnagFilms) and Mark Urman (Paladin).
If any of these names are unfamiliar to you, Google them. You will find that these are among some of the most influential people in the American independent film scene, responsible for many of the memorable specialty hits (and some of the riskier releases) in recent memory. Distribution panels have been done at virtually every festival ad infinitum to the point where they have become a trite clichés and usually devolve into quaint advise sessions. We don't expect that to happen here. The weather is supposed to be OK on Saturday, so listen up, New Yorkers: Grab brunch on the upper west side. If necessary, find a place where you can sit outside and enjoy the sun. And then make your way over to 65th between Broadway and Amsterdam, because you won't want to miss this.
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