John Sayles


On the state of things: When I started in the business, there were not a lot of people involved in the indie film-

filmmaking business, so by the end of the year, you’d have something like 12 kinds of non-Hollywood, non-exploitational films, so it wasn’t so hard to get the heads of the four indie distribs to look at those films.

“Today, a lot more people are trying to get through the door, and that door isn’t as wide as it used to be. That’s why it’s tough for a movie that doesn’t have something sensational about it to stand above the crowed.”

Optimistic vibes: “The good news is that a lot of people have a shot at making movies than before. It was great to see some subtitled films succeed at the box office this year. What you hope for is that the audience is maintained and that it increases every day. You have to build that audience … it’s like building a new movie theater in a town, and hoping that people will discover it.

“I always thought the definition of an independent was blurry to being with. As a writer, an indie film was never about the budget. I always thought the most important definition of an indie was its spirit; that someone went with a story that they wanted to tell, and it wasn’t a committee that made the decision, and it wasn’t the marketing team that altered the story.”

On good instincts: “I often say that raising money for your film is like hitchhiking, whether it’s your first movie or your 300th one: You have to know when to get in the car and when to skip the ride. If you get that bad gut feeling about something, don’t get on the ride. Why be miserable? Why get involved with the wrong people?”

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