| HOLLYWOOD REPORTER
May 3, 2000
HBO acquires 'Melvin' docu
HBO has acquired the domestic broadcast rights
to the feature-length documentary "Just, Melvin," filmmaker
James Ronald Whitney's study of a family's history of sexual
The acquisition price was not available, and no broadcast date
has been set for "Melvin," which focuses on Whitney's
grandfather, Melvin Just, a man who sexually abused about a
dozen women in his family.
James Ronald Whitney, who wrote, produced and co-edited "Melvin"
and made his directorial debut with the film, said it should
serve as a "wake-up call to society."
"Melvin" screened at Sundance 2000 and was awarded best
documentary feature at this year's Santa Barbara (Calif.) International
Film Festival and the Newport Beach (Calif.) Film Festival.
Whitney is working on a documentary about Sharon Alt, an amateur
porn star who conceived a son while married to another woman.
HBO original programming division executives Sheila Nevins and
Nancy Abraham represented the cabler in the deal.
-- Chris Gennusa
HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, SANTA BARBARA, Calif.
March 13, 2000
...Film producer Renee Missel's third go-around
as Santa Barbara's artistic director featured a broad selection
of independents, foreign films, documentaries, seminars and
several popular on-stage tributes and retrospective screenings
at Santa Barbara's vintage movie palaces the Granada and Arlington...
The live events honoring Richard Pryor, Anthony
Hopkins, Whoopi Goldberg and Ivan Reitman were high points for
the perennially star struck locals, although the festival located
in such rich showbiz haunts as the Santa Barbara area still
struggles to bring out the stars. Still, joining the very emotional
event for the wheelchair-bound Pryor was Lily Tomlin, while
Jodie Foster was on hand for Hopkin's acceptance of the fest's
Modern Master Award, which was presented by Edward Norton.
The official jury and audience awards were
handed out Sunday evening before the screening of the
closing-night film, New Line's "The Price of Glory," with
star Jimmy Smits and filmmaker Carlos Avila in attendance.
Two separate juries--one for features, the other for documentaries
and shorts--gave out 12 Awards.
In addition to winning the Independent Voice Award
for a U.S. or Canadian feature with no distribution, "Post Mortem"--the
debut of Montreal-based writer-director Louis Belanger--also
won the IFILM.com Special Jury Prize for Artistic Merit, which
includes $4,000 in cash...The Insight Award for best documentary
feature went to James Ronald Whitney's "Just, Melvin."
-- David Hunter
Thursday, March 22, 2001
Eccentricity and fierce individualism dominate this year's documentary
nominees...at the Independent Spirit Awards...Melvin Just's
story, as told in "Just, Melvin" has a decidedly personal
and sinister bent to it. The film made by moonlighting Wall
Street broker (and Just's grandson) James Ronald Whitney, is
a disturbing, sublimely told tale of abuse and incest perpetrated
by Just upon two generations of the filmmaker's own family and
their struggle to heal deep, emotional wounds.
This year's Truer Than Fiction Award winner will join an impressive
group of past honorees that includes: Leon Gast ("When We Were
Kings"), Danielle Garnder ("Soul in the Hole"), Errol Morris
("Fast, Cheap & Out of Control"), Barbara Sonneborn ("Regret
to Inform") and Owsley Brown III ("Night Waltz: The Music of
Paul Bowles"). Brown won the award in 2000.