Kasi Lemmons

Director

On the state of things: Actually, I think that independent film is thriving. I think the major problem facing us is the lack of distribution possibilities, and that’s the most serious problem in the industry. You have all these films coming out of Sundance that don’t find distributors. That’s really discouraging. In terms of the quality of films being made, I think we’re doing great. But where are we going to release our films? Will our films get a distributor and be seen? There’s got to be a way to support theaters that support art films. I wish there was a way of subsidizing them.

Recipes for change: What can I do? I’m on the executive board of Independent Feature Project and trying to support organizations like that. Right now, that’s my favorite organization. We support young filmmakers and filmmakers of color, and we offer resources for independent filmmakers trying to get their films shot and finished.

If I were to have a wish list for our government, it would be to support independent films and to support artists in some way, like other countries do. I think that would be a great thing. I think it would be great if, like England does, a certain amount of the lottery money went toward supporting artists. That would be a dream.

It seems to me that it would be nice to live in a country that supported its artists. I love the U.S., it’s a great place to make art. But we have to go out and support each other, is what’s really got to happen, through organizations like IFP. And as artists, we have to stay true to ourselves and to what we’re trying to communicate. There’s always temptation, you get to a certain level and you want to make money. I guess John Sayles is my hero, because he’s able to do both.

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