By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood July 7, 2008 at 7:42AM
It makes sense that filmanthropist, doc lover and web enthusiast Ted Leonsis, the former vice chairman of AOL, would not only launch doc-friendly website SnagFilms but would also buy IndieWIRE, the trusted New York-based indie film newswire, social network and hub.
The deal to buy IndieWIRE from publisher GMD Studios, which built the website, was in the works for six months and closed Tuesday night, the anniversary of IndieWIRE‚Äôs 12th birthday. IndieWIRE will supply SnagFilms with archival content, news, analysis, blogs and film reviews. IndieWIRE will also feature SnagFilm‚Äôs virtual movie theater widgets, including indieWIRE editorial picks from the SnagFilms library. Financial arrangements were not disclosed.
SnagFilms will also provide new resources to grow IndieWIRE, which will retain its editorial autonomy, something that editor-in-chief and co-founder Eugene Hernandez insisted be spelled out in the deal. IndieWIRE will continue to operate as an independent, standalone website. Leonsis also named Hernandez as editorial VP of SnagFilms, overseeing news content on both sites. Continuing to work with Hernandez are his two full-time IndieWire staffers, Brian Brooks and James Israel.
‚ÄúWe hope to continue to do what we do, better,‚Äù said Hernandez, ‚Äúnot by just putting more resources to editorial. Indiewire has become a hub for independent film and now more than ever with indie films under assault, this deal only makes sense if we can find a way to bolster IndieWire as a hub for the independent film community, and to help support it.‚Äù
To that end Hernandez‚Äôs first goal is to build its social network of 10,000 indie filmmakers.
Leonsis considers IndieWire to be an ‚Äúindispensable resource,‚Äù he said. ‚ÄúEugene Hernandez and GMD Studios have built a great franchise that is completely in synch with what we‚Äôre doing with SnagFilms. Together, indieWIRE and SnagFilms can offer everything the industry and consumers need to know about these important films, while also giving viewers an opportunity to see and share the films they love.‚Äù
‚ÄúToday the sector faces the most unprecedented changes it has seen in the 12-plus years I have worked with filmmakers,‚Äù said Rick Allen, SnagFilms‚Äô CEO. ‚Äúand that‚Äôs why it‚Äôs the perfect time to extend the celebrated perspective, passion and analytic power of indieWIRE.‚Äù
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]