What went wrong in the past indie cycle?“Studios came into this business and used the one-in-a-million film as the basis of their business plan.” – Bingham Ray, prexy, creative affairs, Sidney Kimmel Entertainment “Growth in the studios’ specialized divisions created a major studio approach to independent pictures, which does not work. People went to film festivals, bought films and tried to blow them up into blockbusters, which only happens once in a blue moon. A lot of the independent pictures have not done that badly, but do not justify all of the marketing and other unnecessary costs involved.” – Sam Goldwyn Jr., chairman & CEO, Samuel Goldwyn Co. “I think that this summer was very reflective of the industry as a whole. Audiences want to see good movies: ‘The Dark Knight,’ ‘Ironman,’ ‘Tropic Thunder’ — these are all great movies. The studios are luring great independent directors and actors into studio movies. Jon Favreau, Christopher Nolan, who got their start helming independent pictures, and great indie actor Robert Downey Jr., all were involved in this year’s biggest blockbusters. The indie industry has always had great talent, and it’s good to see the studios tapping into that.” – Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman, the Weinstein Co. “Money.” – Mark and Michael Polish, filmmakers, “Twin Falls Idaho” (1999), “Manure” (2009), “Stay Cool” (2009) Where’s the hope in the new indie universe? “To paraphrase Dickens (who may even have been wiser than Mark Gill), ‘It is the best of times, it is the worst of times …’ ” – Mark Urman, prexy, ThinkFilm “The business has become fractionalized. This has to do with the constantly changing viewing habits of the audience; it has to do with the influence of the Internet. But it’s really an age where anything can happen and there are many models of distribution for an independent film.” – Michael Barker, co-prexy, Sony Pictures Classics “With Blu-ray getting critical mass, I think you’re going to see a reinvigoration. No one has figured out a way to make money off the Internet, but that’s going to happen, and it’ll keep us even.” – Chris McGurk, CEO, Overture Films “As the studios, hedge funds and deep-pocketed dabblers beat the retreat from the indie film space, I am hopeful that new streams of support will emerge that not only help grow the culture but rebuild the unique supports that art film requires.” – Ted Hope, producer, “Adventureland” (2009) “Money.” – Mark and Michael Polish, filmmakers, “Stay Cool” (2009) What would it take to bring the indie biz back? “If I knew the answer, I’d be acting on it. Or selling it. Maybe what’s needed here is a time machine.” – helmer Kevin Smith, “Clerks” (1994), “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” (2008) “We would love to see, both as moviegoers and as people who work in the sector, a new explosion of creativity and talent. That’s what I think the sector needs most.” – Peter Rice, prexy, Fox Searchlight “We need one sort of platform to start making money to replace the losses that have been sustained by theatrical and DVD markets. Nobody knows which it is going to be — Internet, cable, VOD — or when it will happen. That’s why the business is at an impasse right now. – Wouter Barendrecht, co-head, Fortissimo Films “I don’t think that the business ever went away. What we have to remember is that for every ‘hit’ there are hundreds of other incredible movies that are worth a second look, even if they don’t break through the weekend top 10 box office list. This year, I loved ‘The Visitor,’ and ‘Mongol,’ and would consider them huge successes. When it comes to quality, this year is no different than any other: The best films are the ones that make you feel and think. … I think both the studios and the independents have accomplished that this year.” – Harvey Weinstein, co-chairman, the Weinstein Co. “Money.” – Mark and Michael Polish, filmmakers, “Stay Cool” (2009) “The independent production sector is very strong. There are a record number of films being made independently in the U.S. and around the world, fueled by access to financing and production incentives and by the rising exportability of local product. However, distribution options are limited by the vertical integration of studios with broadcast and cable networks, by piracy that damages the ability of independent distributors to acquire product and by the lack of a revenue model to support distribution on the Internet. Each of the issues requires action to protect the vitality of the independent sector.” – Jean Prewitt, president and CEO, IFTA
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