MCN Blogs
Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

Ghosts of indieWIRE Past: Brian Brooks Goes to L.A. and Deadline

I can’t help but feeling a bit sad and nostalgic over the news this morning that Indiewire’s longtime managing editor, Brian Brooks, is moving to LA to work for Deadline Hollywood. There will be plenty of industry folks buzzing about this news and what it means to Indiewire and to the indie film community, and that’s understandable. But if you’ll indulge me on this Christmas Eve morning, I’d like to just say a few words about Brian Brooks, the man who is my good friend.

From my very earliest days working in this industry, both Brian and Eugene Hernandez, indieWIRE’s then-editor (who’s since moved over to work with Rose Kuo and her team of superstars at Film Society Lincoln Center), took me under their friendly wings and made me a part of the extended iW family. They opened doors, they introduced me to people I needed to know, they encouraged me in my writing; right from the start I shared with both Brian and Eug that rarest of connections, that instant sense of camaraderie and friendship that, if you’re lucky, you’ve found a few times in your own life. It’s a lovely thing, to make connections like these. Over the years, we’ve shared many laughs and drinks and late-night arguments over films, but more importantly, Eug and Brian have been my friends through times good and bad — not just friends who I see at festivals throughout the year, but the kind of friends who stay in touch year-round, through emails and IMs to just check in and say hi. They are the kind of friends who are there for you.

When I got sick at Toronto in 2009, I was in my flat, feeling like something was seriously wrong and that maybe I needed to go to the ER. I grabbed my laptop and cell phone and laid down on the couch, trying to decide if I should just push through it and make it to the screening I was planning on catching that morning. Eug messaged me online, and I told him that something was wrong, that I didn’t feel quite right and maybe I needed to go see a doctor. The next thing I remember is waking up on a stretcher, everything very hazy, as they hauled me out to an ambulance. And I saw Brian hovering anxiously in the hallway, and vaguely wondered what he was doing there, or if I’d seen him there at all.

I didn’t learn until later how help got to me: When I stopped responding on IM, Eug realized something was wrong, told Brian, and Brian dropped what he was doing in the middle of a busy fest to come to my rescue. When the security person at the front desk of our building wouldn’t let him in to check on me, he convinced them something must be wrong and persuaded them to call 911. They wouldn’t let him inside the flat, so he waited outside in the hallway until they brought me out on the stretcher and he saw that I was more or less okay. In the middle of one of the biggest fest workloads of the year, Brian was more concerned about a friend than about rushing to get to the next screening. He was my hero that day. (And I should mention that Indiewire’s Anne Thompson was the first person to show up at the hospital while I was still in the ER, and that in spite of her own notoriously busy fest schedule she trekked all the way over there to see me several times during the fest, acting as a sort of a worried guardian angel and protector and constant presence.)

Anyhow. This is the kind of person Brian Brooks is, the kind of friend he’s been to me over the years. And while his departure from Indiewire Present makes me sad, and feels a bit like the final changing of the guard as indieWIRE has morphed into Indiewire, I wish Brian nothing but the best in his new venture. I’m sure it wasn’t a decision made lightly. Brian is an honorable, gallant sort of fellow, and his passion for film — and in particular, independent film — is something I would never question. I do miss the indieWIRE of auld lang syne, but I know that Indiewire Present, with the continued presence of folks like Peter Knegt and Eric Kohn, Anne Thompson and Dana Harris, will still be around.

Best of luck to you in your new venture and your move, Brian. I’ll be seeing you.

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon