The state of things: I suppose the indie scene needs help, but then I guess it always did and always will. It always seems bleak until some movie pops through, whether it’s “Memento” or “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” or “Y Tu Mama Tambien,” and you think, “Oh, it’s still alive.”
But maybe it’s a little more Darwinian than Hollywood is. There’s less margin for error, and the stakes are higher, because you can’t hide your losses as easily as you can within a studio system. You make one or two mistakes and you could be out of business. So you begin to see why people in that arena are cautious. They can really lose their shirts.
Unfortunately, it’s the kind of thing you can never have control over, which is whether the people who acquire and distribute the films have some sort of vision. “Memento’s” really a poster child for a lack of vision in the independent distribution world. Newmarket, which is a producer, not a distributor, finally got so frustrated they decided to distribute the film themselves. But I think at the end of the day you’ve just got to find your own way to get your movie across. Don’t wait for permission. You can’t wait for things to happen to you. You have to figure out a way for you to get what you want.
Recipes for change: The only thing I feel like I can do is to remain a part of it myself and to help other independent filmmakers as best I can, through whatever resources I can corral. The past few months, I’ve had a great experience working with the Russo brothers on “Welcome to Collinwood” and Todd Haynes (on “Far From Heaven”). These are filmmakers that I really like a lot and I really enjoyed trying to help them out. That’s all I can do, is be a participant as a director and a producer.