Biskind expected to expose with 'Dirty Pictures'

The Sundance Film Festival is often a convenient punching bag for everything that ails the independent pic biz. This year, it’s likely to suffer more blows than usual.

On Jan. 6, Simon & Schuster will publish “Down and Dirty Pictures: Robert Redford, Miramax and the Improbable Rise of Independent Film.” Written by Peter Biskind, it’s expected to be as unsparing an expose as his study of 1970s Hollywood, “Easy Riders, Raging Bulls.” An excerpt will run in the February issue of Vanity Fair.

Despite numerous overtures from journalists, the publisher has kept the manuscript under wraps. However, indie film guru John Pierson read the book as Biskind worked on it over the years.

Three weeks ago, Pierson asked Miramax Books to rerelease his own tome on the indie film scene, the 1996 “Spike, Mike, Slackers & Dykes: A Guided Tour Across a Decade of Independent Cinema.” The volume is skedded to bow Jan. 15, the first day of the Sundance fest, under the new title “Spike Mike Reloaded.”

In addition to a fresh introduction written by Pierson, the book will include a forward from Pierson protege Kevin Smith.

“It’s definitely in response to Peter Biskind’s book,” Pierson says of his new edition. “It’s in response to wishing that (Biskind) liked independent film more. In (the book’s) credit roll of malfeasance, I wish he’d found more room to show love and appreciation for the films and what they meant for the culture.”

Not to be outdone, Miramax co-chair Harvey Weinstein is preparing to add his own two cents with “The Art of Miramax.” Miramax Books plans to publish Weinstein’s history of the company (co-written with James Kaplan) sometime next year, with proceeds going to charity.

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