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LETTERS

'Shaker' defended

August 30, 2003

I was disappointed to see a Times critic jumping on the bandwagon of dismissing "The Battle of Shaker Heights" as a sad attempt by Hollywood outsiders to make a movie -- a job, the reviewer infers, that should clearly be left to the Hollywood "pros" in the future (" 'Shaker' Drama All Off-Screen," by Kenneth Turan, Aug. 22). Having seen the film and being a Hollywood "pro" myself, I feel this million-dollar film's entertainment value and workmanship far exceeds most big-budget Hollywood products in recent release.

And while The Times gives oceans of positive ink and photo space to the sadly cliched but politically connected "indie" exploitation film "Thirteen," perhaps it should remind itself that true independent artwork comes from true outsiders, those who arrive in town without connection to, or approval of, the corporate Hollywood power elite.

"Shaker Heights" did lack one ingredient typically found in bigger-budget Hollywood fare: cynicism. Perhaps this is what scared Turan enough to attack the film so vigorously?

Andrew Overtoom

Los Angeles

Andrew Overtoom is an animation director on the Nickelodeon cartoon series "SpongeBob SquarePants."

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