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in Filmmaking
on Feb 28, 2006

Richard Prince (the Washington Post writer and editor of the Black College Review, not the novelist/screenwriter) reports in his column called “Journal-isms” for the Maynard Institute that former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell has returned to journalism it was reported that he had accepted a development job at Columbia Pictures. Apparently, the Columbia gig, which interested every young indie director he had given a good review to, never fully panned out.

From the piece:

Elvis Mitchell returned to National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition Saturday” this month for the first time in a year, since it was announced that the former New York Times film critic would head the East Coast office of Columbia Pictures with veteran producer Deborah Schindler.

“We have not received the final word that Elvis is taking the job, but if he does in fact take the job with Columbia, he will no longer review movies for Weekend Edition,” Campbell told Journal-isms a year ago.

As it turns out, Campbell said today, “He never actually took the job with Columbia so there is no conflict of interest.”

On Feb. 4, Mitchell discussed how the movies had dealt with race over the years, and on Saturday critiqued “The Pink Panther.” He had been reviewing films for “Weekend Edition Saturday” since the show’s inception in 1985.

Mitchell’s job with Columbia Pictures had been taken as a done deal. “The idea of Mitchell crossing over to the other side had been the stuff of rumors for several years now,” critic Richard Horgan wrote last year on

“Over a decade ago, Mr. Mitchell did a brief tour of duty at Paramount Pictures as a director of development,” Jake Brooks wrote then in the New York Observer. “Either unwilling or ignorant of the potential conflict of interest, Mr. Mitchell continued to do film reviews for NPR after being hired at Paramount. His stint as a studio executive lasted six months. Thankfully for Mr. Mitchell, the dynamic at Columbia is a bit different. He has been assigned the welcome task . . . of trolling film festivals for potential acquisitions and evaluating the Columbia library for potential remakes.”

…He was introduced on NPR as host of “The Treatment” on KCRW-FM in Santa Monica, Calif., in which Mitchell interviews film personalities.

Steve Elzer, a spokesman for Columbia Pictures, did not provide a reason for Mitchell’s – or Columbia’s – change of heart, and Mitchell did not respond to an e-mail request for comment.

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