* Some of the best, or at least most interesting, news I’ve heard in a while regarding the film business is the announcement, as reported by Indiewire‘s Eugene Hernandez, of the formation of DF Indie Studios. Presumably named for the project’s two chief executives, Mary Dickinson and Charlene Fisher, the group’s press release says the company plans to release 10-12 “multi-genre” films annually with a budget of $10 million or less. The group’s slogan is “Indie Style – Studio Dependability,” which I think a lot of filmmakers might describe as something like heaven on earth, relatively speaking. Among the big names who’ve become publicly involved with the project are indie mainstay producer Ted Hope, whose associated with most of Ang Lee’s films, among many others, and “Michael Clayton” Oscar winner Tilda Swinton (also “The Chronicles of Narnia,” and numerous indie productions you’ve never heard of).
Personally, I think most mainstream films are way too costly, and I’d like to see a variation of this idea applied to all kinds of films, not just traditional indie subject matter. So, I like the idea that they say they’ll be doing “multi-genre” films that will be, of course, “commercially viable.” (They still need investors.) Personally, I’m hoping that they take a fairly loose approach and include a bit of the old wild and wooly Roger Corman ethos alongside more refined productions. If they’re a success, maybe the big studios might want to copy them. They copy everything successful.
* This simply stinks. Whoever’s responsible for releasing the material (which I haven’t seen and absolutely won’t be linking to) should be ashamed. As for those who’ve raised moral/health objections, I ask: Would we critize straight show business types and call for the sexual responsibility police like this? All around very not cool.
I’m perhaps a little extra mad about this because back in 2003 I interviewed Dustin Lance Black for this way-geeky piece. (It’s got a very long set-up, explaining my personal connection to the very good documentary Dustin had just finished at the time, the actual interviews starts here.) The guy couldn’t have been nicer or more unassuming, we had a great talk, and I’ve been rooting for his success ever since. (He even mentioned to me, post interview that he was starting work on a script about Harvey Milk, to which I said sagely, “good idea.” Now, I ask: Where’s my profit participation?!) He does not deserve this.
On the other hand, when was the last time anyone was interested in a writer’s sex life?