What Will the Future Look Like for Indie Filmmakers?

As cinema moves forward, what will be the challenges or obstacles for independent filmmakers? Here what Sundance NEXT filmmakers say and weigh in about it’s future.

filmmakingfutureJeff Baena, “Life After Beth”:  We are going to see a lot more independent filmmaking and a lot less Hollywood filmmaking, so that you’ll see pretty much what you are seeing now where everything is very reductive, and either a sequel or some kind of super hero movie from the studios. You are already seeing a lot of dramas fall by the wayside. It’s pretty much massive broad comedies and either sequels, remakes, or action hero movies. To compensate, I think there is going to be a lot more independent filmmaking, I just don’t know if there is going to be a venue for all the films we’ll be seeing.

David Zellner, “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”: It seems like things are evolving so much and so rapidly that who knows where it’ll all settle out? It is something that is still taking shape.

Nathan Zellner, “Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter”: The traditional challenges, as David says, funding and distribution, will stay. With technology it is easier to make movies at different scales and different budgets. That kind of evolution makes that part of the process easier. Keeping up those changes, since they are happening so rapidly, especially in the distribution part of it all, and being able to adapt, I think that’s going to be the challenge that most filmmakers are going to experience.

left: Malik Vitthal; right: John Boyega in ‘Imperial Dreams’

Malik Vitthal, “Imperial Dreams”: I think we are getting to a point right now where business-wise people may be looking at the models of what’s working and they may re-shift their focus. If you look at the Pixar model and how it works, I think Marvel might look at that and say, “You know what, that’s working. They are developing a team of storytellers, and they are developing their artists.” I think this might be the next business model for these big, spectacle films, to develop artists and let them tell stories. Going through the process of being challenged and becoming a better storyteller makes for a better end product.

As an independent filmmaker, I can only speak from my own experience. I felt like I got very blessed by going through the Sundance Institute and getting their support, having them challenge me and help me develop. I wish that was available to more independent filmmakers, because it is such valuable opportunity where you get a chance to explore yourself and push yourself. They are there to help you in a very unique way and in any way you need to grow. It would be great if we could provide that to more independent artists. I have a lot of friends who are trying to make their films right now. It is somewhat difficult if you are trying to make a film over a certain size. But if you decide to, you can make a film with you and your friends and you have the access that’s needed to get it out there.

Adam Wingard “The Guest”: I think it all depends on where technology goes. Filmmaking is at the point it is right now because of the advancement of digital technology, the way the theatrical marketplace is and how the online world has changed everything. I think technology is just evolving much quicker and anything could happen. To me the real advancement forward would be whenever film technology breaks out of the two-dimensional screen into full 3-D and images are actually projected holographically. I think that’s when we’ll see some real major changes, until then it will be kind of a flux like we have now, until the tools are vastly different. I think they will be. There is almost not doubt about it.

Ana Lily Amirpour “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night”: What could happen is that no matter how big the number of films out there is, maybe the proportions of good ones to bad ones is still the same. I don’t think is easy to make a good film, and I don’t think just because you make it that means everyone has to be interested in it. There is no sense of entitlement, nobody owes you their attention, you are competing for it. How many inventors must there have been with ideas and how many created something? That’s like the zeitgeist that you can’t really predict or control. I think the inventor just has to believe in their own invention and be attracted by his own idea, and maybe other people will too but you can’t predict it.

Special thanks to Indiewire for this one.


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