On the state of things: It seems that indie film kind of runs in a cyclical fashion. You had a whole period of the Cassavetes stuff, then it kind of quiets down to the Jim Jarmusch period, then heats up again, then kind of quiets down until the early ’90s, then heats up again. I think right now it’s just in that dormant period. But I’m sure it’ll heat up again.
Recipes for change: I don’t think anybody should do anything about it. I think right at this juncture the less attention paid to independent film the better, so it can kind of repair itself or reinvent itself. I think the problem may be that independent film went from indie to being fairly mainstream, branded and kind of corporate. Every studio put together their own arthouse division, so everybody kind of got in on indie film as a niche market that they could actually control and foster and exploit.
It feels like the best and worst thing that may have happened to indie film over the ’90s was Miramax. They brought it to the mainstream, which was great, but at the same time they brought it to the mainstream, which kind of diluted the whole idea or diluted the spirit of it. I mean, in a world where they’re still calling me an independent filmmaker you know the indie film scene needs to be rejuvenated. I haven’t made a truly indie film since the first one I made, “Clerks.”
Alive and kicking: There are a lot of naysayers who will tell you that indie film is dead. I just think it’s been co-opted for a little while. Once people lose interest again you’ll see something wonderful come out of that corner again. And indie film will be returned to the hands of the people, be more democratized, not just studio-mandated arthouse fare.