Panel looks at Independent films

Foley, Urman, others talk shop at ShoWest

Be afraid of the big boys.

That’s one piece of advice that was doled out at the Showest independent film panel on Tuesday afternoon.

Focus distrib prexy Jack Foley argued that a small film’s success can be undermined by studios that have more much money available for marketing similar movies.

“They can knock you off,” said Foley. “A movie like ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ had to go up against several other Spanish-language films this year, and it wasn’t so easy as to just make a good movie.”

Foley was joined on the panel by Picturehouse topper Bob Berney, ThinkFilm’s Mark Urman, “The TV Set” stars David Duchovny and Judy Greer and “El Cantante” director and star, Leon Ichaso and Jennifer Lopez.

Yari said that tentpoles “suck the wind out of the marketplace.” To combat that, he said, a required element of indie filmmaking is passion, while a majority of big-budget films don’t have to have champions… they just have to be released more like a general product.

“If you are fortunate enough to have a good movie, but you’re in the void, then passion goes a long way,” said Yari, who released to much success “The Illusionist” in August, a month not usually known for major indie movement.

As for courting auds, Urman said that indies would have to use TV in much more prudent and innovative ways, singling out shows like “The Daily Show” as places that have created a safe home for ThinkFilm’s kind of movie advertising. “We have to use TV the wise way, because it can get too expensive for us any other way,” he said.

Urman went on to say that studios aren’t the only success stories online. Web marketing, he said, has become an integral part of an increasing amount of small movies’ campaigns.

Lopez’ “El Cantante,” about the life of salsa music originator Hector Lavoe, screened after the session.

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