Wednesday, May 3, 2000
HBO Signs Deal With "Just, Melvin"
(indieWIRE/05.03.00) -- HBO announced yesterday that they have
acquired the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights to James Ronald
Whitney's documentary "Just Melvin," which premiered
at this years Sundance Film Festival. The film, which chronicle's
the generations of abuse in one family, has won three first
place prizes at film festivals including Santa Barbara, Newport,
and South Beach and was a runner-up at the South by Southwest
The deal was struck by Whitney and HBO's, Sheila Nevins and
Nancy Abraham, who said of the deal, "We're excited about working
with [James Ronald] Whitney to bring this unique and powerful
documentary about the generational effects of evil to the widest
possible audience on HBO."
Whitney is currently in production on his next film, 'Love,
Sharon' (working title), about the life of Sharon Alt, who conceived
a son while she was married to another woman and her foray into
the amateur porn industry.
-- Maya Churi
March 20, 2000
Santa Barbara's Grand Ambitions, Out of Reach or Just in
As its artistic director and former film producer Ren╦e Missel
says, "I want us to be a cross between Telluride and Sundance,
a mini market and a festival where one can see terrific films,
and be a meeting place for filmmakers.
...In addition to "Me & Isaac Newton" by Michael Apted and "Barenaked
in America" by Jason Priestly, the documentary program included
quite a few films just off the boat from Sundance, such as "Americanos!
Latino Life in the United States" by Susan Todd and Andrew Young,
"Legacy" by Tod Lending, "Long Night's Journey into Day" by
Frances Reid and Deborah Hoffman, and "Scottsboro: An American
Tragedy" by Barak Goodman and Daniel Anker, as well as James
Ronald Whitney's brave "Just, Melvin" about the shocking
cycles of child abuse, incest and depression in his own family,
which won here the Body Shop's Insight Award for best documentary.
...Still, Santa Barbara guaranteed celebrity attendance by honoring
a number of screen giants throughout the week. Sir Anthony Hopkins
received the annual Modern Master Award. Hopkins chatted with
Leonard Maltin, who showed clips of the actor's work in front
of hundreds of fans, including Jodie Foster, who made the trip
from LA for the occasion.
More touching still was Richard Pryor receiving the first annual
Lifetime Achievement Award, as part of the festival's celebration
of the art of comedy. Several comedians including Lily Tomlin
honored the great funnyman... Other comedians recognized were
Whoopi Goldberg with the Ruby Award and Ivan Reitman with a
-- Andrea Meyer
March 31, 2000
SXSW Dispatch of Warm Filmmaker Friendly Fun
I was extremely excited to finally attend what I heard
was on of the coolest and most filmmaker friendly festivals
to ever exist. Austin, Texas has been a desired film fans'
destination ever since Richard Linklater's "Slacker,"
but the South by Southwest Film Festival was giving me
plenty of reasons to show up too... guess I was on a documentary
jag, because next I saw a very disturbing and personal
film "Just, Melvin" by James Ronald Whitney. I
had heard a lot about the film from its Sundance premiere,
but I was absolutely unprepared to see the devastating
effects of generations of sexual abuse on a truly tortured
family...A quick power dinner and then it was off to the
Awards ceremony placed oddly in the middle of the film
A few highlights of the evening...the hilarious Michael Moore
presented the documentary prizes (first place went to "The Target
Shoots First"). But when the "Roger and Me" director realized
that the two runners up ("The Ballad of Ramblin' Jack" and "Just,
Melvin") didn't get cash, he gave them each $5,000 towards
their next production -- what a guy!
June 20, 2000
Seattle International Film Festival - Just, Melvin
Like most things in life, SIFF is not all bad. One move that
amounted to a virtual coup this year was the local premiere
of "Just, Melvin." This harrowing documentary about generations
of sexual abuse in a northwestern family was recently picked
up by HBO for its American Undercover documentary series. First-time
director James Ronald Whitney created the disturbing film, the
reality of which was brought home by the attendance of eight
of the women who are the subjects of the film. The family arrived
in a limo, greeted by a small clutch of photographers (the director
wanted things low-key) and astounded the audience with their
courage and directness. Since the film features graphic descriptions
of sexual abuse, you can bet money it will never be rented from
-- Cal Godot
October 11, 2000
Prizes for the 19th Vancouver International Film Festival were
announced in two ceremonies, one on Thursday evening and the
other at the closing gala on Saturday night at the Vogue Theatre...
The $2,000 National Film Board Award for best documentary feature
went to James Ronald Whitney's "Just, Melvin," a film
about child abuse.
-- Jason Margolis and Maureen Prentice
Monday, March 4, 2002
HBO Acquires 9/11 Doc "Telling Nicholas"
indieWIRE/ 03.04.02 -- Continuing its support of documentary
projects, HBO has acquired James Ronald Whitney's feature-length
doc, "Telling Nicholas" the premium channel recently
announced. The film, which will be broadcast as part of HBO's
new season of "American Undercover Sundays" is described as
"an incredible microscopic look at the effect and devastation
of the Twin Towers tragedy on one American family." HBO Executive
Vice President of Original Programming Sheila Nevins said in
a prepared statement, "The film reveals, in intimate detail,
the suffering of one family and one can only imagine the reverberation
and effect on the thousands of American families effected by
"Telling Nicholas" is the story of a father who must
deal with telling his son about his mother's death in the World
Trade Center tragedy. "HBO's Sheila Nevins and Lisa Heller have
been extremely supportive of this film," commented Whitney in
a prepared statement. "With the tremendous popularity of HBO,
I'm certain that the story of Nicholas and his mother will forever
remind people of the devastation caused by the terrorist attack
on the World Trade Center."
HBO acquired Whitney's 2001 Sundance premiere, "Just Melvin"
last year. John Sloss brokered the U.S. broadcasting rights
for "Nicholas." [Brian Brooks]
For more information on the film, visit: http://www.TellingNicholas.com]
Monday, April 16, 2002
Tribeca Sets International Slate and Special Screenings
indieWIRE 04.16.02 -- Organizers of the Tribeca Film Festival
have unveiled additional lineups for next month's inaugural
event. Additional special screenings were also announced...Two
studio pictures have been added to the lineup for the event
as special Screenings: Warner Bros. "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya
Sisterhood," and the new Christopher Nolan film, "Insomnia."
Additionally, organizers announced that James Ronald Whitney's
"Telling Nicholas" and Deborah Shaffer's "From the Ashes"
will screen in the September 11 program and they also unveiled
a selection of titles that will celebrate 10 years of the monthly
First Look screening series.
-- Eugene Hernandez
HBO Announces First Frame by Frame Series in San Francisco
HBO announced its documentary series, Frame by Frame, will screen
for the first time in San Francisco for the first time from
August 5 - 12 at The Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. The series,
which began in New York will hold its fifth annual event in
Gotham this autumn.
Kicking off the event in the Bay Area featuring 26 documentary
films are...James Ronald Whitney's "Telling Nicholas"
as well as the much heralded "In Memoriam: New York City, 9/11/01."
The film features clips and photos from 100+ New Yorkers and
Other highlights planned in this year's Frame by Frame are screenings
of "Murder on a Sunday Morning," this year's Oscar-winner for
best documentary feature...and Q & A with a host of award-winning
-- Brian Brooks