On the state of things: Coming to the independent film business in 1994, we felt that the industry needed to expand the audience and the opportunities to get films made, and I still think those are the issues. Being from the Midwest, and running a national television network, I think of the audience as being a national audience as opposed to a regional or very urban audience. But the economics has not enabled the work to get there. I think we’re about to get into a whole different paradigm in terms of the audience and the filmmaker with the advent of video-on-demand and much more viewer-friendly technology.
Recipes for change: Well, if I could wave a magic wand, I would love to be able to advertise the heart and soul of independent film in every community around the country. I think that you have these very personal, passionate stories, and you know it’s very difficult to communicate to a new audience just how unique that is. I see it as being a communication challenge in terms of building a national audience.
The future: I predict that if you increase the number of people watching independent films on television, you’ll actually be getting more independent films being made for theaters and more people going to the theater to watch them. I believe the advent of HBO and Showtime and all that actually pushed people back into theaters, because they were watching more movies and they’re aware, at some level, that the experience is different. I think if you say that the pure form is the films that get made for theaters, I think it will provide the opportunity to make more of those.